Saturday, February 28, 2009

A ha ha ha

from Shoeboxblog

February 28, 2009 Checking In

i am: having pancakes with a new friend tomorrow - life is good
i think: visiting butterflies in the middle of winter is a wonderfully calm and magical thing to do
i want: my women's group to start soon
i wish: i had enough money to be a benefactor
i miss: Dad and Tip, a lot this week
i feel: sorry that several members in the family are struggling
i hear: we are getting stimulus checks - show me the money!
i smell: Indian food, still, in the house - I cooked it on Wednesday!!
i crave: pretzels, as I'm now addicted to them
i search: for a job
i wonder: if I will be pregnant this year
i regret: not painting the rooms before we moved in - now it seems like SUCH a project
i love: my kitties Judy and O'Reilly - they bring such joy
i ache: in my joints lately
i am not: behind on the mortgage
i believe: things will eventually get better
i forget: what I did with the directions to IHOP...hmmm
i confuse: the days, months, and even the year lately!
i went to: the second grief support group meeting and it was helpful
i listen: to Randy Travis a lot lately
i need: to get my sleep patterns sorted out
i am happy about: knowing my father loved me
i hope: to do some freelance writing soon, and maybe have a column

~Ally

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rock-a-Bye Baby...

Wait a minute! Hillary's baby Haley is not supposed to be born yet! She's due in April. But momma is getting nervously close to having the baby. Was in the hospital with big-time contractions tonight. So if you are the praying type (or light-filled cosmic energy-channeling type...), send up a little love for Scott's daughter Hillary*, Baby Haley, and baby-daddy Dustie today. Little baby needs to cook a little longer. You've gonna plenty of time, honey bear. We'll wait.

Love, Grandma Honey
(a.k.a. Ally)

*here they are, in the third picture down

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

(picture from here)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Something to Think About

I read a tip today on Confessions of a Wandering Soul:

  When you wake up in the morning, fill in the blank: 
  "My purpose is to _____ today."


Could change everything!

~Ally


[I think my purpose today was to give my heart to my grief support group, and I did. That feels good.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Been A While

All from the darlings at Shoeboxblog.

Quote of the Day:
“Nothing good can come from telling your boss to ‘chillax’” - Russ




Alternative Transportation to Take to Work
* Rocket Powered Roller Skates by Acme
* Giant kite
* Smart Car’s relative, the average student car
* Human-sized hamster wheel
* Invisible jet (Wonder Woman only)
* World’s largest paper airplane
* Four cups of coffee and a pogo stick
* Hummer (Big, giant a-hole-who-doesn’t-care-about-his-kids’-future only)

Echo poem

This poem is my version of George Ella Lyon's.

This is a first draft...and it's less of a poem that could reach outsiders than it is a poem from the insides of me. Those who know me will get it. For those who don't, I may try to revise it and make a better poem of it one of these days.


Where I’m From
~Allison C. Snyder

I am from spice soup,
from Artists at Work Day and Anne’s figurines.
I am from worms in a coffee can.
(Black dirt, ground up leaves,
and instant multiplying.)
I am from the elephant ear leaves
the raspberry bushes
a blackberry tree at the end of DuBois
that stained the sidewalk and our toes.

I’m from piano lessons and ballet,
from Aunt Marge and Mrs. Schwaller.
I’m from the top five list makers
and the mother hens,
from Wear your turtleneck! and Keep your feet warm!
I’m from no we can’t have a creche,
we don’t believe in that.
But Christmas Eve we go to Congress Park Methodist.

I’m from Bass Lake,
homemade fireworks and fish fries.
From the sweaty hot kitchen – two feet too small –
to the cool oily water,
the jam-crammed family at every holiday.

Kneeling in the garden,
I helped mom pull carrots,
helped Dad water flowers.
Our back porch was a Barbie wonderland.
I’m from follow after Lauren –
wish to be like Karen –
perfect companions with Jake.


[Notes: Grew up in Illinois; went every summer to our lake cottage on Bass Lake in Indiana with the whole family. Grew up with my cousins, Karen and Jake, and saw them all the time. I have one older sister Lauren.] 2.23.09

~Ally

Monday, February 23, 2009

Finally, Evolution and Creation make sense!

Ha ha....


A little girl asked her mother: "How did the human race appear?"

The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve; they had children; and so was all mankind made." Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.

The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved."

The confused girl returned to her mother and said, "Mum, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?"

The mother answered, "Well, Dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family, and your father told you about his."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some memories are sharper than Norman Rockwell might prefer

Been thinking about my Dad a lot and really missing him. Had a good cry tonight. Both Scott and I got shaken up while looking through pictures and suddenly running across several of Dad from the last year. This day last year we were picking him up from the airport after the trip to Mexico. We all had a WONDERFUL week together, and then we came home. Another week later, he came home and we picked him up from Boston. We shoveled out his car which was buried in several feet of snow. It was one in the morning and we were happy to have him home.

My sister Lauren has been really feeling the loss of Dad lately, as it's now been a year since she last saw him. A really sad and lonely feeling. There's a big gaping hole in our lives and nothing fills that void. Sometimes the void sneaks up on you and engulfs you, if for only a moment. That's when the old "stuff your feelings" motif comes in handy. And to McDonald's we go.

Mom and I spent today together and talked about Dad a lot. We both miss him so. I started a grief support group this week and I am so thankful for it already. Told Mom all about it and hope she will find a good one to join. Hospice offers them in many towns for free. The one I'm going to lasts eight weeks and is free; led by two lovely social workers and the participants are from all walks of life, each with a unique (and humanly universal) grief story about their special Person. Several members have been grieving their Person for many, many months.

Simply talking, listening, and sharing experiences is extremely healing. Just sitting in that circle with others who literally do know what you are going through takes me a long way on this journey. Am thankful for it.

This is a journey I wish I was not on. This is a club I wish I didn't have to join. But here I am. And all I can do is open my arms with love to the others I meet along the way, who find themselves in the club too.

*~*A blessing out to you all tonight, my friends. May time heal where it can; may we remember with love and joy when able; may the tears flow when they are ready.*~*

~Ally

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My new-old friend shared this beautiful poem

Where I'm From
~George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.

~


I love it. He challenged me to write my own, echoing the poem. I will work on it. Will you too?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Giving Up Could Be Freeing

(photo is from nevblog.com - interesting, check it out)

So I was listening to an economic analyst today who said we would all have to give up things soon, adjust the American standard of living, change our ways. Malls are losing business, department stores are going bankrupt, and people are not only not spending their money, they are SAVING it! Then tonight I watched a news clip about how the auto industry will phase out its huge gas-guzzling SUVs (thank God and finally!) and focus on their baseline economy cars - the cars of the people. So I got to thinking about what I could easily give up in the future...and what will prove more challenging.

I think I could easily:
1. Stick with my phone, car, and clothes for another couple of years. (Heck, if I lost some weight, I already have a whole 'nother wardrobe in the next size down!)
2. Stay in the condo and postpone the dream of moving into a house for a few more years.
3. Cut down on the lunches and dinners out - I've already cut way back in the last six months.
4. Buy frozen pizzas for those nights I don't want to cook, instead of ordering a pizza.
5. Be more diligent about watching and returning the Netflix we already have; order less On Demand and pick up less Blockbuster movies. It's the darn $4.99's that add up.
6. Give up weekend romantic getaways, if they could be replaced by something else romantic and special.
7. Get creative about get-togethers with friends. Spend less money on food and entertainment, and put more energy into finding creative, free things to do. Like go to the museum when we get the free passes from the library, and not otherwise.
8. Buy things for the baby (when there is one) at Good Will and Craigslist, or use items that are borrowed. I don't mind used as long as it's safe and clean.

It would be harder to:
1. Give up cable altogether. Or high-speed Internet for that matter. Pleeeease don't make me give up high-speed Internet!
2. Postpone getting another dog because of rising vet costs.
3. Take a job I hate or have to drive an hour each way to work. I have spent several years trying to get closer to home, with good reasons, and going further out now would be miserable.
4. Say "no" to traveling and vacations. Plane tickets have become such a bear, but with most of my family far away, I really hate the thought of not seeing them. Life is too short.
5. Not buy presents for people - Christmas, birthday, and my endless love of greeting cards and stationary. Argh.
6. Sacrifice visits to friends - most of which require an hour's drive or more.
7. Give up health care that I need for my back. Like chiropractic. I have already given up physical therapy and massage and am suffering greatly for it.
8. Eliminate hair cuts. Though I have given up color for now. Not a fan of the self-coloring.

Things that would be sad to give up but of course I could:
1. Brand names, like Tide. Oh, sweet-addictive-overpriced Tide.
2. Vacations. Other than family trips, we barely take any as it is.
3. My car - if needed, I could always downgrade. But driving a new car is a blessed delight after many years of beaters and always wondering if the car was going to break down.

What kinds of changes could you make? Whether they are goals geared toward money-saving or time refocusing, I think you'll find this exercise helps to begin clarifying what is most important to you. Let me know if you do a similar post, so I can read your ideas. The more we get creative and share tips, the more we will get used to the idea of changing our standard of living. And if you have any great ideas for Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, I'd love to hear those too! Let's start a wave.

And let's make sure we keep spending energy on Love. That is free, and blessedly priceless, no matter what the economy brings. In Love, let us always be rich!

~Ally

Friday, February 13, 2009

In my family, embarrassing = funny.

From my dear sister Lauren...we're blaming everything on "the grief" these days...kinda like our grandparents used to blame things on "the gout"...
----

Here are 4 stupid mistakes I've made this week so far:

1. filling the baby's bathtub on the bed and NOT checking to make sure the plug was in--resulting in about a gallon or 2 of water pouring all over the bed and soaking through to the mattress, not to mention soaking the baby!

2. letting a book fall on the paper tray of the printer and breaking it for the umpteenth time, but, ha-ha, this time the glue won't take and it is rendered totally useless

3. unplugging the laptop, thinking it was the vacuum plug, while he was in the middle of installing a new anti-virus program, which apparently takes hours and hours to install, and which made it impossible for him to work yesterday and today, and which, ha-ha, went back to the beginning.

4. there was something else, but it has slipped my mind (not surprising!)

Can it really be this bad in Australia, too????

----

Then there was also the dish soap put away in the fridge, which she confessed a few days ago.

Oh, and yesterday:
----

i remembered the 4th thing--i bought conditioner instead of shampoo, so we had no shampoo for 5 days bc i kept getting waylaid on the way to the grocery store! all we had was baby wash.

----

A ha ha ha. Good times in Mexico!
Wishing you luck today, big sister, on Friday the 13th. Though I think your bad luck may be used up. You'll probably have an incredibly wonderful day!

XOXO
~Ally

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A New Friend

You may have seen this go around the email turnstyle. Scott sent it to me this morning and I love it. Not sure who took the pictures.
~

GUESS WHO CAME HOME FOR DINNER?

This fawn followed this beagle home ---- right through the doggie door ---- in the Bittinger, MD. area recently. The owner came home to find the visitor had made himself right at home.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Great Things That Made Me Happy

...and KILLED my diet...but only temporarily!

(photo from Web)

1. fried mozzarella sticks - ohh, fried cheesiness is next to godliness
2. a Reuben
3. truly heavenly french fries
4. Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream
5. did I mention the fried cheese??

flippin' diet. today i'm back to reduced fat mini-pretzels and water. blech.
~Ally

p.s. You tell the WW, then no more fried cheese for you!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Talk About a Hero: Elizabeth Alexander

(photo from the Web)

Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander

A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side.

I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.


Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

~
About Elizabeth Alexander

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February snapshot

i am: watching a Hallmark movie, "For the Love of Grace" (it's good)
i think: I am not cut out to be a fire fighter - I am very thankful for those who are
i want: to spend some time with Jesse soon
i wish: I had $5,000 to give my friend who is having a terrible time
i miss: my cousins and their families
i feel: like a stepmom; I really appreciate Hillary and her family
i hear: we might be getting stimulus checks - I so hope it's true!
i smell: Nature's Gate cream and I immediately think of Amy
i crave: girl friends to pal around with on a regular basis
i search: for books I can read while my mind is still distracted
i wonder: how Robin is doing
i regret: not spending more time with Jenny in Boston
i love: the thought of having a women's "book group," or even better, just a dinner and friendship group that meets regularly - a group you can count on and grow with for years
i ache: therefore i am
i always: prefer night to morning
i am not: friends with money or time. oh well, can't win 'em all!
i believe: there is a God (no matter what you call it) who is a benevolent force
i dance: well, i WANT to line dance with Fran!
i sing: when I play the piano - eventually the music just bursts forth
i write: thoughts and ideas for the poetry reading in March
i win: the prize for most awful closets...but not for long!
i lose: track of time on Facebook
i confuse: short term memories - a symptom of grief, I believe
i listen: to Mom's advice (but don't tell her that)
i can usually be found: scrounging for a snack (grr)
i am scared: of spiders falling on my head - shivering at the thought!
i need: people
i am happy about: the possibility of editing and writing from home
i hope: Scott and I beat the odds and stay married for life

and since in January,
i resolve(d): to visit the clubhouse exercise room,
I will confess that I have not been there yet. I do still plan to go.
for February,
i resolve: to call my cousin Amber and tell her I love her!

And finally, a beautiful quote from the Hallmark movie: "Don't postpone the joy."

Tag - you're it! Let me know when you've done your list.
~Ally

Friday, February 6, 2009

Movie Matinee!


Saw Hotel For Dogs this afternoon with Mom and absolutely loved it! Super fun and amusing and dear. Safe for kids. And inspiring for dog-lovers and misfits everywhere. A must see, no matter if it's a blockbuster or not!

~Ally

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Egypt hopes for truce

Palestinian children on Wednesday play in the rubble of houses in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, destroyed during Israel’s 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip (AFP photo)

Egypt said on Wednesday it hoped for a breakthrough over the next few days towards a firm ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, suggesting that it may not happen by Thursday, Egypt's original target date... [the rest of the story]

New Funnies, fer yer enjoyin' pleasure

from Borders Funnies - click on the cartoon to enlarge it





(that one was for you, Mom)


(a ha ha ha, the hits just keep comin')


(my favorite!)


~Ally

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nice he gave them something to read


An Australian Customs handout shows a man caught with two live pigeons stuffed in his pants as he got off a flight from the Middle East (AFP/HO/Australian Customs)

Does my fat ass make my ass look fat?



A Celebes Crested Macaque, left, looks back on Thursday Jan. 29, 2009 in Singapore where its national zoo is actively involved in the conservation and education of wildlife reserves. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Dilbert

Dilbert.com

Click on the cartoon to see the third frame.
(borrowed from the WWW)

Reasons Not to Worry About Impending Layoffs

1. If the groundhog sees his shadow, you get six more weeks of work.
2. Your spouse can show you new ways to enjoy unemployment.
3. If laid off, you would have time to snowshoe.
4. Your bed is so nice and cozy.
5. Any asshole bosses would become someone else's problem.
6. It barely costs anything to eat cereal, sleep late, and surf the Internet all day.
7. You could stay up really, really late and catch up on your infomercials.
8. Dude, there's food on the filing cabinet. Who cares about layoffs?
9. Real men wear pink slips.
10. Your wife will love you no matter what.

~Ally

Monday, February 2, 2009

Best Friends



Bella and Tara, 2gether 4ever

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thoughts on a Saturday Night

1. Scott and I are so lucky that our best friends had a beautiful boy baby, and let us take care of him tonight - his first adventures with a babysitter. It was wonderful for us, and hopefully nice for the mom and dad to have date again after seven months.

2. We are also thankful that we can still relate to them and spend time together - the presence of a baby (and their becoming mom and dad) didn't render us speechless with nothing left in common, as sometimes happens. Thank you, L & C.

3. Scott is going to make a wonderful father to potential future children of ours. He has a gentle and kind way with children, and babies really love him. (He was/is a great father to Hillary, and a v fun grandpa to Matthew.)

4. Cats are way easier to take care of than dogs. [No offense, Buddy.] You can throw some kibble down, leave a light on, and be gone for several hours with no harm done. Very freeing really.

5. Facebook is a very odd place and cultural phenomenon. It is astounding how you can suddenly connect to your elementary school chums and in a week be sharing 5th grade class photos and laughing over who looked most like a dork in grade school. It is also thrilling to "meet" someone who used to be the briefest acquaintance in a lifetime you no longer remember...who has the potential to become a real friend, since you now share so much in common. Life grows us up in strange ways, does it not?

6. Your hairstyle from the previous decade is destined to embarrass you. [Though I refuse to regret my 90's split-level perm.]

7. I finally found a way that works for me to talk to my old long-lost friends: schedule (and keep) a one hour phone date.

8. No matter what we lose in this dismal economy and these Shrinking Wallet Days, as long as we have our love, our friends and family, and our health, we will be fine. More than fine. Dandy. ;)

9. Scott is my true and everlasting love. Thank you, Babe.

10. Fast food is gross. No matter how good it sometimes tastes.

I am grateful for a full life, for the good and not-so-tender memories of the past, and for the many thousands of ways I have been allowed to connect with family, friends, and loved ones - not excluding dreams. I appreciated seeing Dad and Grandpa C. in my dream last night. Miss you both.

What's rattling around in your brain?

~Ally

Album Covers for Lisa

It's driving me crazy that I can't find the right album cover that I was trying to reference in a comment about Lisa's stunning photography on Updating the Subject Line. I remember the painting distinctly from childhood, but I don't know the exact album title or the artist. The title must be stuck in the recesses of my brain. However, while looking through Tchaikovsky albums on Amazon, I found these covers that reminded me of the blue and red electrifying artwork. If I find the right one, I will let you know, Lisa.



Beautiful is beautiful. And I really need to listen to some Tchaikovsky.
~Ally