The Chandelier

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 9/25/16

Last year, for Christmas, MK and I continued to work toward getting our home in order, making some decorating changes that were long overdue.

Years ago, MK had seen a chandelier that she found particularly attractive. It was way out of our reach for us, probably worth the purchase of a car in those days. She was sure she had seen it as a product of Holly Hunt and her company.

Since then, MK found something that was either almost exactly like what she had seen, or maybe just similar, at Pottery Barn. She began researching it and soon found that it often went on sale. Even going on sale, however, it was in the $500 range with shipping and handling.

There was a really good sale last Christmas. MK knew that it always went on sale, so we planned on giving it to each other as a Christmas gift. That never happened as the sale we wanted disappeared.

The other day, MK went online and found it on Overstock.com. She did some more research and found out that it was virtually the same as that of Pottery Barn. It was with free shipping. It cost us just over $200 for it. She did research about the down side of this chandelier and many people complained of its need to be assembled. Although it was time consuming, the info about its difficulty was unfounded. We did spend four hours (two people) putting the crystals on, but everything went without a hitch and we had all of the pieces we needed. The rest of the assembly was ‘cake.’

Saturday we assembled, Sunday it was installed. Christmas came late to us, in September. It looks great. Its predecessor is not all that old and will be repurposed in our family. It is a beautiful pewter chandelier from Germany, but we felt that it was too small for the room. Not having a huge dining room, we thought that perhaps we needed a smaller fixture. We were wrong, I felt it was beautiful; it just made the room look small. I found that to be a strange effect.

Needless to say, it looks beautiful and crowns the work we have done recently in the living room and dining room. We have repainted in a shade of tan, changed out lamps, fixtures, and outlet covers, and the metal color is now bronze. The white woodwork and fireplace mantel were repainted in an oil base enamel white.

Holly Hunt is an interesting part of all this. While at New Trier, I had adviser rooms and when one is an adviser, one makes home visits. Hunt, her son (with a different family name), was in my advisery for a year and thus I visited their home in Winnetka. It was delightful sitting down and talking to her.

…and now we have, what we think, is a Holly Hunt inspired chandelier…

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Emptiness

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I don’t have a lot to say.

Earlier in the week, I found out that a dear colleague and friend lost her brother. He had been attacked by a stroke a few years earlier, his life was devestated, and then he lost his life to a cancer that had managed to hide within him and surface with a virulence a week before his death.

The other news was discovered yesterday. A dear friend and colleague of Mary Kay’s, whose daughter, a doctor, was battling the Big ‘C,’ lost her struggle. She was a classmate of our youngest, Mikey, an intelligent, beautiful young person, and married, with a young child, a toddler. Her courage, in dealing with the battle was incredible, her stoicism unbelievable. The loss to her family, friends, community, and profession, is just unthinkable.

All I can think of is the incredible amount of stupidity in the world. I see millions of dollars spent on ridiculous things like political campaigns. I see hatred. I see anger. I see stupidity I never thought existed. I see all sorts of things that really matter and yet people go on and on about the most ridiculous things. America needs to get its act together and think about things we can positively do to change our culture, I cannot help but believe that we could cure these cancers and other ills if we set our minds to it.

Robert and Vickie are gone. Families, acquaintances, and colleagues are left with an extreme void. It is a void that will never be filled, but remain a scar that we ourselves carry to our graves.

A beautiful, little young girl’s life has been changed in a way that no one can imagine. I wish for her a beautiful life, and yet I know, as someone who experienced parental loss at a very young age, not as young as hers, that the hurt and feelings will always be with her.

It is really hard figuring out meaning in an often-senseless world.

Posted in Life in general, Loss, Stupidity, Thoughts and philosophy, Unfairness | Leave a comment

Bug Bites

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 9/22/16

I have had a summer pretty much devoid of mosquito and bug bites, at least ones that are really annoying. The other day, however, I noticed one on my ankle and one on each arm. I noticed them on Wednesday. By Thursday, one of them had become quite annoying and I couldn’t tell what it was.

I have never had poison ivy and wondered if the big reaction on my arm, right in the crook of my arm, oval shaped and about two and a half inches in length. There were raised portions. I pulled out the poison ivy natural soap that I had hidden away. I had gotten it some time ago just to have it. I have never had poison ivy but the boys had varying allergic reactions to it. I used it and it was quite helpful in cutting the itch of the reaction I had.

It got so bad that on Friday, I went to the doctor. The night before I had taken Benadryl and was using anti-itch cream, as well as Grandma’s Poison Ivy soap, before going to bed.

Although, when I called in to the doctor in the morning, I had said I had a rash, I noticed what looked like a center in the red oval on my arm. It made me think, and my doctor concurred, that it was a bug bite. She suggested steroid cream and thought that Benadryl was a good choice.

It is Saturday now and the major oval on my arm is way better but still red. I have a small raised bump on my ankle yet, that is quite itchy and a couple of red marks on my other arm that are itchy. Go figure. At least it appears that I am on the mend!

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Adventures in Babysitting, continued…

Although not the way the skies looked when we went to take our grandkids to the babysitter this morning, the skies have often looked like this when I leave.

Although not the way the skies looked when we went to take our grandkids to the babysitter this morning, the skies have often looked like this when I leave.


The house is quiet, although there is a little one sleeping upstairs in our ‘office.’ We had thought that we were on for the pickup and delivery of our beautiful grandkids to the babysitter today and not on for the day. We were wrong. We had to make changes.

We were wondering about the many text messages we had received from Debby (the babysitter) and were concerned. We finally found out that she was wondering about our arrival time (and of course the kids were ‘sleeping in,’ this Friday), because her son had a medical appointment downtown and her husband had taken the day off of work. We immediately called her to tell her that this was ‘above and beyond the call of duty,’ and that we would figure it out and take care of the kids. We told her to get downtown and support her family, that is the most important thing.

Thus we ended up, our son and the two kids, in Walker Brothers for breakfast and planned out our day.

The baby is sleeping upstairs and our son and granddaughter have gone for a walk while I hold down the fort. Mary Kay had an appointment and is attending to it.

It all somewhat makes me laugh, I have to say it. I think of the perception that people have had of me, an incorrect one at that. People would think that because of my organization, persona, and attention to detail, that I had a rigid side. I have pretty much had a lifetime of proving that whole view as a total misconception. I cannot even begin to document the times that I have made last minute decisions to do things differently. I am thinking that it may keep me young.

It brings me around to stereotyping and why it is so unbelievably dangerous. It makes me think of so many decisions that can be wrongly made; making judgments of people that may or may not be correct. I wonder how often opinions were formed that might have changed the way things turned out.

Decisions have to be made about all sorts of things. Instead of just forming an opinion from a perception, we actually need to study the situation objectively, from all angles. Sometimes, although we may need more time, we have to go with the flow and make a call. I can only hope that the coming election will show that people have actually taken the time to get all of the information and make a sane decision based upon the reality of good judgment and assessment of the things people’s real accomplishments. Our fate, as a country and supposedly civilized country, depends upon that.

Posted in Elections, Life in general, People and their characteristics, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Adventures in babysitting

Highland Park / IL / États-Unis - 9/9/16

Finding good childcare in the U.S. is a tough one in terms of cost and also of quality. The U.S. is not like other countries in that we do not have a nationalized system. One of the reasons that MK and I had a slow financial start was because we had decided that we really wanted to have one of us at home for the beginning years of our family. Since MK was in a job that was less than great, she ended up being at home.

We are pleased to say, as a Koerner family, that we are happy, today, with all the childcare. MK and I do a stint of two days or so and for one of our sons’ families, an in-law takes a day. Given that scenario, someone has to fill in the other days, few as they are. One of our sons had a situation where a babysitter had been procured, then at the last minute, she bowed out. That left us with a rush scene trying to find a good, high quality, new one that was not going to break the bank.

MK helped out in the research and one in the Deerfield area surfaced. She seemed nice and had a stellar rating of recommendations. Our daughter-in-law and children visited and it seemed okay. We became involved when her husband, our son, had an accident and had no use of his hand and arm for some time and ended up having surgery. MK or I would go over in the early morning, get the kids up, and either bring them to our house or to the babysitter.

I was not overly impressed when I walked in the house, there were dogs fortunately sequestered in the upper part of the house, and the babysitting arena was totally separated downstairs. I like dogs, but frankly I didn’t care for the doggy smell. Our granddaughter cried each time I took her. It seemed to lessen, you have to expect that with a two year old, but we were all questioning it, as we are talking about a child of an extremely sunny disposition and even though there is some separation anxiety, it should abate quickly. It got to the point that she would see me in the morning when she got up, and cry that I was taking her to the babysitter. She cried in the car and cried when I left her. What really set me off was the day I arrived with her and her brother and saw that there were four little boys besides her (for one lady babysitter), all smaller. We were of the understanding that there would never be that many kids. I then found out that the lady made lunch for the kids upstairs and left the kids downstairs while doing so.

Then we found out that the babysitter wanted to take some kids from a former client who was supposed to have moved away but didn’t. Having the children there was a bad scene and luckily only lasted a few weeks. We were all trying to do our best and be objective, but in the end the kids were not happy and it really wasn’t a good situation. The babysitter would not even greet the kids when they arrived. She apparently was a ‘caretaker,’ able to take care of basic needs but certainly not providing the type of emotionally assuring situation our family wanted.

Luckily, another son had a babysitter in Northbrook that they have used since our first grandchild was born over seven years ago. She was able to take on the two new kids, and was extremely happy to do so. The kids were immediately greeted by Debby and were so happy that they didn’t care that we were leaving. We had overlooked Debby only because she was in the opposite direction of what we needed, but to have good childcare, sacrifices need to be made. Add into this, Debby is very flexible, caring, clean, and has values like ours.

All in all, we are blown away by the fact that the babysitter we ‘tried out’ has the recs she does. What does that say about how we all want our kids to be treated and received

Posted in Childcare, Children, Grandchildcare, Grandkids, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment