Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Sister: a mom AND a composer!

From Lauren:
-----

Here's my latest song creation, sung to the tune of "Downtown" (trying to get kids to give me another half hour of sleep!):

"Downstairs"

You can watch TV
You can drink chocolate milk
When you will go downstairs....
Downstairs!

Color a picture,
You can play with your babies
Or build with your blocks...
Downstairs!

You can play with Barbies,
You can share them with your sister;
We don't want no fighting,
And we hope that you will kiss her!
Please get along!

The baby is crying now,
He wants his pacifier
And to be rocked to sleep,

So go Downstairs!
Things will be great when we're
Downstairs!
Nobody's late to go
Downstairs!
Everything's waiting for you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Dinner Gals - my women's group starts tonight!

Women. Talking. Eating. Sharing Wisdom. Telling Secrets. Laughing Out Loud. Making New Friends.

What's not to love?

Can't wait for tonight.
~Ally

For Your Next Tea Party!

You simply must check out Marie's blog giveaway on A Year From Oak Cottage. She is offering a beautiful tea time cookbook, a candle, the cutest little ladybug chocolates and some of her very own handmade greeting cards with sweet little girls on them.

What could be better?

It's Spring in England. Over here in chilly New Hampshire, we can dare to dream.

Also read her post from today on ways to find quiet time and peace - it's inspiring.

~Ally

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Things

1. There is a beautiful cemetery nearby where I hope we can have Dad's ashes placed, in a family plot, so I have somewhere to visit him. I went there the other night to talk with him, even though his remains are not there yet. The place feels right and it is comforting.

2. My grief group has been so encouraging and I really appreciate getting to know those people.

3. Facebook has been fun for reconnecting with old friends and finding out what they're up to.

4. Hillary and baby are doing well and we are glad baby is still in the "oven" for the time being. Though an uncomfortable Hillary might disagree.

5. The crazy cat, O'Reilly, tried hard to burn his tail but putting it right over a burning candle - for about 20 seconds! - but his tail, despite singed hair, is no worse for the wear. Silly kitty!

6. Scott and I are doing well on the baby-making plans, and enjoying the, uh, process. ;)

7. I have a part-time job now and though it's not a lot of money, it gives me a schedule and regular time in an office to keep my skills up. It also gives me a chance for social interactions, which are very helpful to me.

8. Mom is taking me to visit Grandma Dorothy in about a week and I am very much looking forward to visiting her. It's been way too long and I've missed her. I will also get a chance to visit our old neighbors and go to Mom's writing group in Fargo.

9. Scott has found a beautiful dog for us and it's the kind I have been hoping for: an English Setter!

10. Chocolate. Brownies. 'Nuff said.

11. We are working on a trip to include visiting Hillary once her baby arrives, and seeing Scott's Mom and Dad in Alabama. Spring is for visiting Snyders this year.

12. Lauren and Benjamin bought the house they have been wanting for years! They are well into renovation projects already.

13. My women's group starts on Saturday and I am very excited!

14. Judy the Cat has become my snuggly bunny and she just loves her mama. Meow.

How are you?
~Ally

This is very sweet

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tascha's Beautiful Frida


This is the most beautiful painting on Time With Tascha today. Check out her latest works by visiting her blog and Etsy shop. I LOVE this gal's work. Very inspiring and joyful.

~Ally

7 Ways to Save Money

Read this article to find seven ways you could be saving money. 

Am always thinking of ya.

~Ally

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A wee little bit of St. Patty's Day humor (pun intended, of course)

(image from vectips)


Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.

"Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've something' to tell ya."

"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim...But where's my husband?"

"That's what I'm here to be tellin' ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guinness brewery."

"Oh, God, no," cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me..."

"I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."

Finally, Brenda looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"

"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."

"Oh my dear Lord! But you must me tell me true, Tim, did he at least go quickly?"

"Well, Brenda, no. In fact, he got out three times to pee."

------------------------------------
hyuk hyuk hyuk
from Scotty

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stoneham Zoo

On Presidents' Day, Scott and I went to the Stone Zoo, a delightful family zoo in nearby Stoneham, Massachusetts. As it was the dead of winter, we were pleased to see the animals and exhibits were very much alive at the zoo, and at least half of the regular features were available for viewing.

Scott took some beautiful pictures; mine did not come out very well, and of course all were shot through plastic or wire barriers. But if you love animals like I do, I think you will enjoy these pictures just the same. This is a brief sampling of some of the wonders to behold at Stone Zoo. You really must visit! It's a good size for taking children, and they have coupons on the website. There is an indoor learning center if you get chilly.

First we saw a habitat with two beautiful bears. I could have stayed and watched them all day.

Umm, sticks are delicious!
Here's Billy, some kind of mountain goat, hanging out on the edge.
Gorgeous cougar.
And a trying-to-nap coyote.
Flamingos, who are absolutely fascinating and silly and wicked smelly!

And there is Humanus Artistus - you never thought about it, did you? Somebody has to paint all those murals!
Lynx-y, before he got up and amused me with some beautiful yoga postures.
Though this picture does an injustice to the majestic set of antlers on this lovely Reindeer, I just loved the peaceful expression on his face. [I am reading Life of Pi right now and Pi would chastise me for anthropomorphizing animals. Maybe I should say looking at him makes me feel peaceful.]
Thought you might be interested in these fun facts about our national emblem, the eagle.
And one more beautiful bear. The bear is my totem animal, and I feel much love for them.
Hope you enjoyed your visit to the zoo!

~Ally

Monday, March 9, 2009

losing me mind - babble babble babble

Oh, now I am so irritated I can't find those movie reviews! But my search is in vain. Anywho, I did find two draft posts I forgot to come back and finish. So here they are for your readin' pleasure.

Some beautiful, magical Koi Pond photos (from May '08),

and

a funny and timely Dilbert cartoon (February '09).

Enjoy!

Two Others

Wow, I could swear I reviewed

The Visitor (2007, starring Richard Jenkins)

and

Then She Found Me

previously. Maybe I am losing my mind (not at all unlikely). Anyway, those two movies are phenomenal.

~Ally

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Some Movies You May Like

Thought I'd do a few brief movie reviews/recommendations. These are some goodies Scott and I have seen recently.


W - ****4
What can I say about this movie except: SEE IT. If you have any interest in politics, and particularly in the Bush administration, you really must see this film. Josh Brolin does an incredible George W. and James Cromwell is brilliant, as always, playing Big George Bush. This movie explores the life of W. from about the age of 20 to almost the end of his presidency. It delves into all we have been wondering and were kept in the dark - George's family life, what it was like being Big George's son (and following in his footsteps), what Laura is like, and why W. made some of the choices he did.

One of the biggest themes is W.'s inability to please his father, and constant desire to do so. The film also dares to uncover some uncomfortable political relationships, like that between the Bush administration and Colin Powell. W.'s relationship with Dick Cheney, uncannily delivered by Richard Dreyfuss, was explored and his coaching from Karl Rove, played by Toby Jones, was clearly conveyed.

Very, very interesting, not at all dull, this movie will intrigue those with even the mildest interest in politics. NOT a documentary, this is a drama, with weight on the personal life and motivations of our most recent President. Josh Brolin NAILED the accent and mannerisms of George W.! Laura is well portrayed (though not too deeply explored) as a once Democrat (!) by Elizabeth Banks. Ellen Burstyn also does a great Barbara Bush. Thandie Newton, however, was almost unbearable as Condoleezza Rice, and if Condi's voice is really like that, I hope never to meet her. Talk about nails down a chalkboard!

Not sure why this didn't win any Oscars, except for political reasons. See it for yourself, consider what you think, and please, let me know. I've become a bit of a political junkie these last few years, and I'd love to do some speculatin' with you!

Committed - ****4
In this charming and thought-provoking dramedy/romance, Heather Graham plays Joline, a young twenty-something who is in the process of losing her husband Carl, played by Luke Wilson. Carl has decided he needs to "figure some things out," and Joline, taking the commitment of her vows to their fullest, agrees to let him go off on his own. But she follows him across the country and stands vigil, waiting for him to return. It is a sweet and quirky, abnormal - and beautifully so - way of looking at love in the twenty-first century.

This movie is not going to be for everyone, but it is very sweet and really makes you think about the meaning of marital commitment. I loved it. I think people who liked movies like "Punch Drunk Love" or "Waitress" or even "Little Miss Sunshine" could appreciate it. There are great dialogue and delightful side characters, played by Casey Affleck (he's so cute!) and Goran Visnjic, who is just hysterical in this movie. Heather Graham does a phenomenal job in her role too; she is a beautiful person, shining from the inside out. Perfect for the role. (Btw, the above movie picture is totally stupid and doesn't represent the spirit of the movie.)


The Secret Life of Bees - ***3 1/2
This movie is based relatively well on the best selling book by Sue Monk Kidd. Dakota Fanning, who has grown up by the way, plays Lily Owens, a 14-yr old who runs away from her harsh and unloving father. Dad blames her for the accidental death of her mother several years before. I think the father was not quite played or written correctly, as he was more clearly unlikeable in the book.

Once Lily and her African American nanny end up at the home of beekeeper August Boatwright, played beautifully and sensitively by Queen Latifah, the story becomes that of Lily's coming of age, her reconciling the death of her mother, and the race wars in the 60's amidst the deep South. The plot also explores themes of family, emotional sensitivity, motherhood, spirituality, and beekeeping (which is woven more heavily throughout the book). This is a touching drama with enough tension to keep it out of the Hallmark arena. There is also a beautiful boy named Tristan Wilds who plays a young black man, Lily's eventual love interest.

Other Movies We've Recently Enjoyed:

Burn After Reading: ****4
One word... hi-freaking-larious! (Very possibly Brad Pitt's most hysterical role.)


Transsiberian: ***3 1/2
Dark, and beautifully interesting, with some horrid torture bits that will definitely cure you of your desire to ever ride the Transsiberian railroad (which I totally wanted to do at the start of the movie, ahem); also an interesting new character for Woody Harrelson.


Changeling: ****4
Totally outrageous injustice movie with your favorite and my least favorite, Bubba-Lips-Tits-and-Guns (a.k.a. Angelina). It's a good movie worth seeing and it's all "Erin Brockovich Circa 1930" and will get you on her side in about 2.2 minutes (and that's if she irritates you like she does me). Yes, she deserved an Oscar for it. See it. She and Brad need the money for all those children.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip to the movies!

~Ally

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Update on the pending Baby Haley

Baby Haley is still in the oven, thank God. Every day she gets a little bigger and stronger, we hope, and more ready for life on the outside. I bet she is perfecting her backstroke, or at least her Downward Facing Dog by now.

Hillary - mom - is doing okay but struggling through the ridiculosity of "complete bed rest" with five children. Riiiight. If I had any money, I would send her a nanny. If I had any money, I would go down to TN and help her out, make some casseroles, pop some Blues Clues on the DVD and let the poor girl sleep while me and the troops have a teddy bear tea party...or more likely, a Spiderman save-the-universe party.

She has three boys and two girls. And Sweet Baby Haley on the way.

Her husband is working like a maniac, but struggling like we all are, since he was laid off of his "real job" and is doing whatever work he can find in the meantime.

Oh, may the energy and vitality of youth sustain you all. May the hopefulness of each day's end bring you encouragement. And may there be rest, somewhere in the midst of it all.

You can do this, Girl! We love you! xo

~Ally

Hysteria - and So True!




oh poor Grandma...