Monday, December 19, 2011

Poem

Fork with Two Tines Pushed Together
by Nick Lantz

It's fast and cool as running water, the way we forget
the names of friends with whom we talked and talked
the long drives up and down the coast.

I say I love and I love and I love. However, the window
will not close. However, the hawk searches
for its nest after a storm. However, the discarded
nail longs to hide its nakedness inside the tire.

Somewhere in Cleveland or Tempe, a pillow
still smells like M_____'s hair.
In a bus station, a child is staring
at L____'s rabbit tattoo. I've bartered everything
to keep from doing my soul's paperwork.

Here is a partial list of artifacts:
mirror, belt, half-finished 1040 form (married, filing jointly), mateless walkie-talkie, two blonde eyelashes, set of acrylic paints with all the red and yellow used up, buck knife, dog collar, camping tent (sleeps two), slivers of cut-up credit cards, ashtray in the shape of a naked woman, pen with teeth marks, bottom half of two-piece bathing suit, pill bottles containing unfinished courses of antibiotics, bank statements with the account number blacked out, maps of London, maps of Dubuque, sweatshirts with the mascots of colleges I didn't attend, flash cards for Spanish verbs (querer, perder, olvidar), Canadian pocket change, fork with two tines pushed together.

Forgetfulness means to be full
of forgetting, like a glass

overflowing with cool water, though I'd always
thought of it as the empty pocket

where the hand finds
nothing: no keys, no ticket, no change.

One night, riding the train home from the city,
will I see a familiar face across from me? How many times
will I ask Is it you? before I realize
it's my own reflection in the window?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspired by Fresh Food Grown with Love

(image from Web)


"There's a nobility to growing food and allowing people to share it."

A Deliciously Resourceful Town Aims For Total Food Self-Sufficiency Within 7 Years


Fantastic article on a town in the UK growing food all over public locations...for each other! A must read.

~Ally

Wise Encouragement from Andy Rooney

This was passed on to me through one of the countless email fwds, but I decided to read it as I recently saw a sweet show about Andy Rooney's life and legacy. I am glad I read it - true words from a wise man. Enjoy!
_______
Andy Rooney's death was announced recently. This little piece could well serve to honor one whose last few years evidenced great wisdom, though, at the same time he became something of an ornery old dude. If you will take the time to read these, I promise you'll come away with an enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis. They're written by Andy Rooney, a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words. Enjoy.......

I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.
I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned.... That being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with now and then.
I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.
I've learned.... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned.... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.
I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I've learned..... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned..... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned.... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rick Perry...wow, scary.

Interesting article from the Washington Post on Rick Perry's comments re: federal employees who refuse to submit...


Excerpts:


"Federal worker union leaders responded angrily Wednesday to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s suggestion that he would reassign subordinate federal employees to “a God-awful place” if they failed to implement policy changes he would make as president.


"In response to a question at a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., on Tuesday, Perry said he planned to employ advisers and officials “that understand my core philosophy that government should do a few things, but do those few things really, really well.”
.....


"Perry then delivered a warning to career federal staffers, using a hypothetical scenario at the Department of Health and Human Services as an example: “If you have Health and Human Service bureaucrats who try to block our being able to [send] block grant dollars back to the states, so you all can decide how best to deliver health care in New Hampshire — I don’t think you can fire federal bureaucrats, but you can reassign them. So, but, reassign them to some really God-awful place.”



"The line earned laughs from some in the assembled crowd but angry, personal retorts from union leaders.
....


"William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said Perry “sees a political opportunity in painting federal workers as a symbol of big government, and he is exploiting it to the fullest.”


"“If Governor Perry wants to know what ‘a God-awful place’ looks like, he should imagine Texas without thousands of dedicated federal employees defending its border, staffing its VA hospitals, and extinguishing its wildfires,” Dougan said in a statement."


--------------


Get your head out of your a**, Perry. Or rather, just keep it in TX and leave the presidency to someone who knows the meaning of the words "diplomacy" and "cooperation."


~Ally

Monday, November 28, 2011

St. Nicholas' Day is just around the corner! Now where did I put those wooden shoes?


My Mom always celebrated St. Nicholas' Day for us, and it has become a very sweet and special holiday for me, and I want to pass it down to Lucy and my family. It falls on December 6, and you can read about it here. Also, this is a link to another special bit of info, which talks about the children in Milwaukee celebrating the day, which must be part of Mom's roots...

Happy St. Nick's Day! Hang out your wish lists, and I hope you get a little treat (to be shared), not a lump of coal in your wooden shoe or stocking or under your bed (where our gifts always show up).

I wonder what St. Nicholas will place under Lucy's cradle...

~Ally

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lucy's Picks ~ First Trip to the Library

Lucy made her first trip to the Concord Public Library the other day - what a treat to lay her on the floor and read a million books to her while she smiled and played. These are her first choices for take-home books (all wonderful!):


Autumn Leaves, by Ken Robbins - such a beautiful book, teaching us all about identifying different trees by their leaves (and Lucy loves it)


Let it Fall, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler - I loved this very dear family story; worth a read

Candy Corn: Poems by James Stevenson - fun poems for children (and their adults)

Sylvia and Bird, by Catherine Rayner - a beautiful book about a dragon who discovers loyal friendship with a tiny bird; with magical and dreamy watercolor illustrations

The Crow (a not so scary story), by Alison Paul - a fun book with great illustrations, but it really is a wee bit scary

Mouse's First Fall, by Lauren Thompson - sweet story about the joys of Autumn

Chamelia, by Ethan Long - such an enjoyable story about a chameleon who loves to be different and unique (like a certain childhood Allison...) who learns how to fit in while still keeping her flamboyant identity

Lucy's Picture, by Nicola Moon - how could we not get this one? a charming and sweet story about a little girl with a flair for artwork and creativity, with a surprising plot twist at the end

A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse, by Bijou Le Tord - beautiful illustrations, of course, about the famous artist

Farm Animals, by Eye Openers - fun facts about animals, designed in a charming way

The Singing Hat, by Tohby Riddle - how can you not love a story about a man with a bird's nest on his head?? (who quits his corporate job to care for the bird who lives there...)

Le Petit Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery - a little French for Grandma Char, who is loving reading it again and will read it to Lucy

Hope you and yours can enjoy some of these wonderful books too.

~Ally

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little Girl Reads Some Poetry


An excellent way to pass a quiet Friday afternoon, with Mama and Grandma Char (and Gina the Giraffe).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fevering and Teething

Baby's home with slight fever and swollen legs from her four month injections yesterday - damn Western medicine and its healing ways - and teething, to top it off. So we are reading a few poems by James Stevenson. Mama likes these:

Coming or Going

The screen door screeches.
The screen door slams.
Coming or going,
Going or coming,
The sounds are the same.

But what a difference
It makes to me --
Your going away,
Your coming home.


Dawn

When the moment comes
When you can tell
The sky is blue, not black,
You'll see torn bits of it
Scattered through the trees,
Fallen like confetti,
As if to say
Night is not forever--

In fact, within one hour,
A grand parade is coming
With white clouds marching.

-------------
Wishing you will feel better this morning, Darling, as Mama goes off to work and you slip off to dreamland at Christine's. I love you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lights of Life 2011

Remember my work with hospice and Concord's Lights of Life ceremony from last year? Well, it's that time again. And damned if I don't have new names to memorialize. [Looking forward to celebrating the year when I just donate money and not a new name for the list.] Anyway, Lights of Life is a wonderful celebration of those whom we have loved and lost, who have gone before us and continue to shine in our hearts. Electric candle lights are placed in town businesses and restaurants to actively remember each soul, and they are a visual blessing to the rest of us still traveling this earth.

This year, we will memorialize:

Dr. Arthur "Pete" Snyder - Scott's father, a wonderful, generous man and highly skilled surgeon who healed and touched the lives of so many in his 78 years. We will celebrate the Christmas holiday with his wife of 55 years, Scott's mom Fran.

Dorothy Alma "Ann" Holman - My maternal grandmother, and the sweetest, silliest, and most fun grandma I've known, mother to my darling mother. We were blessed by her memorial service in Wisconsin and the ensuing family reunion last month.

Judith Schaeffer - Scott and my previous boss and dear friend from Vermont. She was an incredible beacon in our book publishing industry, with so much knowledge and a pure love of the craft. She was a longtime and faithful best friend to Jessee and surrogate mother to Jennifer (and Kira), some of our other Vermont "family" members. She died suddenly and will be sorely missed.

And of course,
my beloved father, Larry Cox, who continues to live heartily and joyfully, if not sarcastically, in my heart. I feel your presence all the time, Dad; and though I am pissed you are not here to play with and utterly adore Miss Lucy, not to mention take her for special pancake breakfasts and fishing outings and camping trips, I know you are watching over us. I don't know much about the likelihood of a heaven, Dad, but I do know the absolute truth of your enduring spirit. I love you very much.

Please celebrate with us. Feel free to use the Comments button below to add your special loved ones' names. When I see the candles lit downtown, I will remember yours as well.

~Ally

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lucinda: illuminated

photo by Scott Snyder


Lucinda: illuminated
by Allison Snyder

You are asleep on my chest,
your tiny body laced onto mine.
You are a mysterious traveler from a foreign land.
A halo of fluff covers your head;
in your delicate, lavender eyelids,
I can see the past, the future.
When your eyes open, light shoots through me.

Your heavenly bits are wearing thin, my darling,
now four months in this world.
You stir when a shiver of life runs through you.
You smell more of Dreft than of the ether.
Soon, your otherworldly memories and magic will disappear.
By the time you can speak, you will no longer be able to tell me
where you've been, where you were going.

"I love you!" I whisper urgently:
it's all I can think to say,
yet it encompasses everything.
"You're mine," and immediately
I know you never were,
but what I mean is: You're home now,
and I claim you.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rockport

Postcard from Rockport
by April Lindner

Cold as a slap, this indigo sea,
where we clamber on blonde-fringed rocks,
where someone's tarted up the fishing shacks
with red paint and artful nets.

The sun floats like ice in a highball.
Condos train their plate-glass gazes
on the horizon, amnesiac
to past conspiracies of cloud,

storms that shook homes and swallowed boats.
Just north, a granite wall's etched with the lost—
decades of their half-remembered names.

Imagine waking always to this spread—
each day the ocean swelling
to loll at your feet, exotic pet.

The galleries glow, ripe with impasto,
sunsets we could be bite into:
raspberries, marzipan, seafoam like cream.

Their artists shoot for the numinous,
overlook the jagged and impermanent:

barnacles overtaking the dock,
clustered mussels, tangled kelp
and the steady lament
of pebbles tugged senseless from shore.

---------
I am remembering many amazing moments spent at Halibut Point State Park, walking through the brush maze, peering over the crystalline quarry ledge, viewing the stunning ocean with its crashing waves and majestic rock outcroppings. I love this poem.
~Ally

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lucy, Sweet Lucy

(certainly helps to have a world-class photographer as a husband, and a miraculous beauty as a muse...) all photos by Scott Snyder











Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's Inspiring Quote

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."
~Edward Everett Hale

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Barack Obama...by poem

The Day I Saw Barack Obama Reading Derek Walcott's Collected Poems
by Yusef Komunyakaa

Was he looking for St. Lucia's light
to touch his face those first days
in the official November snow & sleet
falling on the granite pose of Lincoln?

If he were searching for property lines
drawn in the blood, or for a hint
of resolve crisscrossing a border,
maybe he'd find clues in the taste of breadfruit.

I could see him stopped there squinting
in crooked light, the haze of Wall Street
touching clouds of double consciousness,
an eye etched into a sign borrowed from Egypt.

If he's looking for tips on basketball,
how to rise up & guard the hoop,
he may glean a few theories about war
but they aren't in The Star-Apple Kingdom.

If he wants to finally master himself,
searching for clues to govern seagulls
in salty air, he'll find henchmen busy with locks
& chains in a ghost schooner's nocturnal calm.

He's reading someone who won't speak
of milk & honey, but of looking ahead
beyond pillars of salt raised in a dream
where fat bulbs split open the earth.

The spine of the manifest was broken,
leaking deeds, songs & testaments.
Justice stood in the shoes of mercy,
& doubt was bandaged up & put to bed.

Now, he looks as if he wants to eat words,
their sweet, intoxicating flavor. Banana leaf
& animal, being & nonbeing. In fact,
craving wisdom, he bites into memory.

The President of the United States of America
thumbs the pages slowly, moving from reverie
to reverie, learning why one envies the octopus
for its ink, how a man's skin becomes the final page.


----------


from Poets.org

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buddha Mudra

from the Mudra Gallery


Buddha Mudra - Receptivity:
The Buddha symbolizes being humble and learning to be grateful. Palms are open to receive gifts.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

100 times = beginner status: thoughts on breastfeeding (and poetry)

I had the wonderful good fortune about two years ago to be invited to the intimate living room of Donald Hall, multi-award-winning poet and writer, and poet laureate of New Hampshire from 1984-1989. His wife, Jane Kenyon, also a poet who died way too young, could be felt in the house as well, her spirit saturated into every wall and room, decoration and memory, clinging like a ghost.

Mr. Hall spoke of his writing and revision process, explaining how he edits his poems a minimum of 100 times before considering them good and on the way to finished. I could not believe it when I heard this - 100 times! I can't say I have edited my own poems more than a handful of times, if that. His reworking speaks not only to his commitment to writing and refining his craft, but also to the process of a poem's birth itself...how it emerges in stages sometimes, and becomes its own animal whom you must get to know bit by bit.

Two days ago, I realized it was Lucinda's "day 10" in the world. I was thinking if we practiced the breastfeeding together about ten times a day, that would make 100 times already finished at the process. (Generally, methinks it is best not to tally these things, especially when one is lacking sleep and feeling like a veritable prisoner in one's own house, at the whims of a tiny little queen who only just days ago appeared out of nowhere...) And suddenly I remembered what Donald Hall said about his poems. And I thought, "Practice, practice, practice, and now I am only just a beginner"...which was strangely comforting.

We - Lucinda Grace and I - are getting the hang of this new job we share (me in feeding, and her in eating and processing the food). Breastfeeding is hard work and does not - contrary to popular myth - come naturally. You have to learn how to do it, and figure it out with your baby, and then work at it until it becomes natural. It gets easier every day and we both feel more confident now that we will be able to accomplish our goals.

I am thinking about practice in many contexts now. And realizing that 100 times at practice are just the start.

Let us give ourselves a break as we learn new ideas and activities. Let us consider ourselves both babes to this world and struggling poets, who will one day be discovered for our genius, but in the meantime, we will do the toil of practicing. It will pay off, I just know it.

Blessings to you Donald.

~Ally
---------------------------

An old life

by Donald Hall

Snow fell in the night.
At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish
mounded softness where
the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
I broomed snow off the car
and drove to the Kearsarge Mini-Mart
before Amy opened
to yank my Globe out of the bundle.
Back, I set my cup of coffee
beside Jane, still half-asleep,
murmuring stuporous
thanks in the aquamarine morning.
Then I sat in my blue chair
with blueberry bagels and strong
black coffee reading news,
the obits, the comics, and the sports.
Carrying my cup twenty feet,
I sat myself at the desk
for this day's lifelong
engagement with the one task and desire.

A Birthday

by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mombie

Mombie: Zombie mom, ala Night of the Living Dead; wandering soul who cannot distinguish night from day, complete simple sentences, or recall if teeth were brushed; state that leads to inability to remember baby's name, puffy eyes and frequent bouts of crying (the baby cries too), and ironically, the inability to sleep.

~Note to other Mombies: Do NOT attempt to assemble helpful electronics or install batteries at this time...can lead to throwing away of said electronics and random thoughts of hatred.

~Note to Non-Mombies: Frequent bouts of crying may also be joy related. There's really no way for you to tell. Keep a few feet between you and Mombies at all times for safety. And if approached by one, feed it before proceeding.

Ally
:)

My best news all year!



See Scott's post...

Love, Ally

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

True Love

A love poem from the very center of life—from that mid-stage that is so often rushed and undefined, but is memorably chronicled in the poems of Sharon Olds.


True Love

In the middle of the night, when we get up
after making love, we look at each other in
complete friendship, we know so fully
what the other has been doing. Bound to each other
like mountaineers coming down from a mountain,
bound with the tie of the delivery-room,
we wander down the hall to the bathroom, I can
hardly walk, I hobble through the granular
shadowless air, I know where you are
with my eyes closed, we are bound to each other
with huge invisible threads, our sexes
muted, exhausted, crushed, the whole
body a sex—surely this
is the most blessed time of my life,
our children asleep in their beds, each fate
like a vein of abiding mineral
not discovered yet. I sit
on the toilet in the night, you are somewhere in the room,
I open the window and snow has fallen in a
steep drift, against the pane, I
look up, into it,
a wall of cold crystals, silent
and glistening, I quietly call to you
and you come and hold my hand and I say
I cannot see beyond it. I cannot see beyond it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Surprising - guess it's only us old ladies propagating the myth that everyone's waiting to have children...

Poll Results from PlanningFamily.com

How old were you (will you be) when your first child was born?

Under the age of 20

33%

21 to 25

35%

26 to 30

19%

31 to 35

9%

36 to 40

3%

Over 40

1%





Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beauty

Snowy Night
by Mary Oliver

Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
tossed
an indeterminate number

of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.

I couldn't tell
which one it was -
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air -

it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren't there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,

so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more

than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else's story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable - would have hurried

over the fields
to name it - the owl, I mean.
But it's mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out

my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,

whatever its name -
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Electronic quiet time, anyone?

Saw this on Planningfamily.com:

"On average, children two to five years old spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV and they will have watched an average of 8,000 murders before they finish elementary school. Is this replacing healthy activities such as playing outside, eating dinner as a family, reading, and building family unity? Well-planned family time can be a foundation for joy and influence to last a lifetime. Family time provides your children with feelings of love, security, stability, and support.

"If you are trying to conceive, or are pregnant, the TV could still be getting in the way of your relationship. The average adult watches more than 28 hours of TV a week (that's two straight months a year)! If you're stuck in a rut, if TV has taken over, or if you aren't sure what activities will keep everyone happy, here are some helpful hints for fun family-time activities. Put the remote down and play on!"

Wow - disturbing stats. Do you think that's true? Needless to say, I promptly printed out the "backyard games" list, so Frisbee, here we come!

~Ally

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reading for us gals, especially

Good, quick read for those of us bogged down by too much to do and no idea where to start.

Reminds me of focusing on the important things I most love, and not frittering away my time - and more importantly, my energy - on things I "should" do (as deemed by myself or others).

Enjoy!

~Ally

Monday, March 28, 2011

kissy lips

(photo taken at Cicely Farm by Scott Snyder)


a face you can't help but love

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer

Prayer for Our Daughters

by Mark Jarman

May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven't written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.

May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can't see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.

May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.

May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.

May they be themselves, long after we've stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn't bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.


"Prayer for Our Daughters" by Mark Jarman, from Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems. © Sarabande Books, 2011.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

loving this baby-to-be



3/13/11 - day one of month six. baby growing and kicking and doing little gymnastic feats every day. she loves Mexican food and fruit and taking naps on the couch. or wait, is that Mommy? she also loves Daddy, who sometimes will read to her or poke her and she thinks that is so funny. she also likes coming fully awake at 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., unfortunately, just like her mama. :)

so happy.
~Al

(both photos by Scott Snyder.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Lullaby Me and the Bun Just Love

There is Only One

There is only one person like you
In all of this great big world
And you are just who God made you to be
Whether a boy or a girl
Whether you are black or white
Or some beautiful color in-between
No matter your shape or size
You're as perfect as anything I've ever seen
You Mom and your Dad
They are so glad
You are part of their family
There is only one
Who loves you more
He is your Father in heaven
He is the Lord

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Spring

Lines Written in Early Spring
by William Wordsworth

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played:
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

~

I love this poem and its sentiments, though it is nothing like Spring here. Still deep in the throes of winter, it seems. But I can imagine. I do wish Wordsworth had not ended on the dismal note though. I love the line, "I heard a thousand blended notes."
~Ally

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's a Girl!

Sugar and spice and everything nice. And EVERYTHING NICE! I am a lucky little mommy.

~Ally

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Swimming

While Bun Bun practices her/his backstroke in my baby belly, I took to the pool across the parking lot. Oh what wonder to have an indoor pool (and hot tub, though I can only put my feet and ankles in at this point) right at home. As I floated in a sea of blue happiness last night, Bun Bun floated inside me. We were happy and calm together. Lovely.

~Ally

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Every little thing

Every little thing now feels like a miracle. Today I got the news that my second genetic blood test came back negative, which means no sign of risk for neural tube defects. For those of you not in the baby world, this means, no big chance of having a child with severe developmental problems or physical and mental defects at birth. I breathe a sigh of relief, but it is so much more than that.

How could this baby not have a major life-threatening problem? How could this baby be so healthy and growing at a perfectly steady rate? How could there be a baby inside me??

It is a miracle every time I think of it.

You might say these thoughts are morbid or pessimistic, or even creepy. But these are the true thoughts and fears of motherhood. The books warned me about it. What they don't tell you about is the sheer joy and elation when your baby seems to be coming along fine! It puts everything else in perspective.

I am feeling good and also grateful. I am achy, yes, and growing a huge belly and boobs at an alarming rate. Things hurt in places I have never felt before. I'm not even sure what all is in there, even after the informative and beautiful National Geographic video I watched called "In the Womb." I have trouble sleeping and wake up at 4 a.m. for an urgent trip to the cereal bowl with three Charlie horses in my leg at once! My clothes don't fit; I can't move the driver's seat back far enough so I don't have to worry that a sudden airbag deployment will crush my tummy...

BUT THE BABY IS HEALTHY. Ahhhhhhhh. Thank you Jesus!

All is well.

I have not experienced morning sickness. This is incredible in itself. I am doing okay with pain management, despite not being able to take most of my helpful pain meds that usually quell my fibromyalgia. I am really enjoying all foods, without heartburn, and still able to put my leg up on the bathroom counter every morning to stretch. Though bending down for the damn soap, which I drop EVERY DAY in the shower is getting a little challenging.

Scott and I are in midst of a several-month cleanse and purge of the house. Calling all garage salers - come May, there will be one big-ass yard sale on Mom's front lawn in Laconia. The only things that will survive the purge are items of rare beauty, blessed practicality, or deep love. Oh, and the baby warehouse I have amassed over the last 14 years.

Baby will get his/her own room. The rest of us will jam ourselves and our belongings into the other two rooms of the house.

BUT THE BABY IS HEALTHY!

Oh, and we thank God and the universe, and all the well wishes and cosmic goodness being sent our way from you and all you represent.

Coming soon into our future: maternity jeans; the dreaded putting together of the crib and IKEA bookshelves; carpet cleaning ala a rented Rug Doctor; finding out the sex of the baby (hopefully!) next week; the need for an old-lady shelf grabber thingy so when I can no longer bend over and get back up, I can still retrieve everything I've dropped; soap-on-a-rope!; an expected spontaneous purchase of a little outfit in pink (or blue) after finding out the sex; and as "What to Expect..." predicts, "continued absentmindedness." Niiiice.

Oh, did I mention I can feel the little booger moving around now? It's week 19 and I feel him/her every day. Not kicking or anything like that, but just moving. My little rock. My little fishie. My little Bun.

I am singing to him/her every day and also playing the lullaby tapes that will one day lull him/her to sleep (God only hopes).

So that's me and the Bun, in a nutshell. "Where he kept her very well..."

Love, Ally

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, folks!

Got any romantic ideas for an old married couple, one of whom is getting uncomfortably large and pregnant??



Happy VD to all! (heh heh)

~Ally

Saturday, February 5, 2011

my great family

This is my new niece Reese...

and her brother Grant...
.

They live in Atlanta, where it's been snowing! They could not be any cuter! How wonderful to have a new baby in the family. Can't wait to meet the new family.
~Aunty Ally

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sharin' the burrito lovin'

So I decided to "pay it forward" today, when I saw a homeless man with his hand-scrawled cardboard sign saying, "Anything will help. God bless" standing outside on the coldest night of the year. It has been between -15 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit for the last few days in Concord, and it is bitterly cold.

He stood bundled up in the coats he had, at a busy traffic intersection by a strip mall. I did not have any cash - I rarely do anymore, now that most places take a credit/debit card. I rustled through the car looking for my pregnancy snacks - which at this point, consist of a mostly-eaten bag of trail mix, a frozen solid granola bar, and a few frozen water bottles. Not exactly helpful. I thought, "Do I hand him my emergency pair of socks or Dad's IOWA sweatshirt to keep warm?" What is the right thing to do in these situations - I never know. I do know that doing nothing is rarely an option, and I would rather err on the side of gullible and taken advantage of than cold-hearted and blind to the suffering around me.

So you give a 'bum' $20 and he spends it on alcohol. Well, what if he spends it on food to feed his freezing children who are huddled under the bridge in a cardboard box, and likely will not make it through this cold night? That's a chance I am willing to take.

This man is my community, my neighbor, in my town. He is 'my people.' And there are plenty of homeless folks in Concord, all quite chilly tonight. There are a few homeless shelters, and yes, not everyone takes advantage of them. It is statistically true that many homeless people suffer from various forms of mental illness. Does this make them not worthy of warmth, shelter, clothes on their back or food in their bellies? If their pride or insanity keeps them from going to a shelter, does this mean that freezing to death is justified?

So what I did, misdirected or not, was swing around the block, get Scott's and my dinner at Boloco as planned, and pick up a $10 Boloco gift card for the homeless man. I thought, burrito: sustaining rice, fresh vegetables, hearty meat - hot meal that can be eaten with the hands and without utensils (or pretense)...what's not to love? This whole process took about 5 minutes.

I drove back through the previous intersection, snow piled high on both sides, and he was gone. This has happened to me before, and I don't know (karmically) what it means.

But now I drive around town with my Boloco gift card, ready to be handed out the window the next time I see one of my Concord neighbors suffering in this blistering cold winter weather. I encourage you to do the same.

burrito gift card: $10. minutes spent getting a gift card: 5. saving a life (or just warming a heart for a minute, showing someone you care about their existence in this world): priceless.

Pass it on.

~Ally

p.s. Tonight we tried the Bangkok Thai burrito with chicken and the Classic Mexican with pork - yummmmm-tastic! Scott wanted to drive back to town to get more, though he was full! He especially loved the Thai, and so did I.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boloco, or, my favorite new mid-morning stop

Thanks, BOLOCO!

Mama got a wicked craving today at yes, 9:15 a.m., a mere two hours into my workday.

Must. Have. Burrito. NOW.

Where can one find a burrito, or any Mexican food, in Concord at that time of the morning? Well, FYI, nowhere...except the kind-hearted goodness of the chefs at Boloco on Fort Eddy Road (see link above).

I know because I googled every Mexican joint in a ten mile radius. And they all open at 11 a.m., or 4 p.m., or some other ridiculous, not-friendly-to-preggos times of the day. Except for Boloco, which opens at 10.

So at 9:15 I called. He picked up. I said, "Here's the situation: I am pregnant and I need me some Mexican food RIGHT NOW. I know you don't open until 10, but you think you could make me a burrito...pleeeease?" And the response I got was: "When could you get here?" "Fifteen minutes." "I think we can make that happen."

Oh how I love you..... (I think I might have even said that out loud.)

When I arrived, they had unlocked the doors for me (nice touch). I walked in. He said, "What size?" "Uh...LARGE!" And within moments, I had a piping hot, beautifully prepared Classic Mexican burrito with chicken. Oh YUMMMMM. And some blue corn chips and plenty of sour cream for the side.

~*~*~*~

Ne'er has a burrito tasted so delightful, so full of love, so gracious, so "ay mami, mi amore!"

Thank you!!

~*~*~*~

"We try to help out in any way we can," said the cook/manager. Well you did, and I will be back. Gracias~!

~Ally

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the most perfect last two lines e'er written in a poem

Her First Calf
by Wendell Berry

Her fate seizes her and brings her
down. She is heavy with it. It
wrings her. The great weight
is heaved out of her. It eases.
She moves into what she has become,
ure in her fate now
as a fish free in the current.
She turns to the calf who has broken
out of the womb's water and its veil.
He breathes. She licks his wet hair.
He gathers his legs under him
and rises. He stands, and his legs
wobble. After the months
of his pursuit of her, now
they meet face to face.
From the beginnings of the world
his arrival and her welcome
have been prepared. They have always
known each other.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snapshot of Today


The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, January 10, 2011

Outside My Window...is that perfect blue night-approaching sky, the color you can only see between dusk and darkness. The world is illuminated in beauty and possibility.

I am thinking...that many of you may not know yet that I am pregnant. And happy to be so. And finally content.

I am thankful for...having a job and going into my second year there. My boss is wonderful and I have learned so much in the past year.

From the kitchen...I really ought to be making something tonight. I have done so little cooking, as I have been sooooo tired. I think tonight will be taco night, with a side of rice with corn in it.

I am wearing...one of the few pairs of pants I can still fit into. They are stretchy.
Oh, the power of the drawstring.

I am creating...human life, as I like to remind Scott. ;) Well, I am merely the vessel. But it is pretty amazing to think of a real living being inside me, akin to Sigourney Weaver in "Alien"...or maybe something more beautiful than that.

I am going...to really purge this house of unneeded stuff. We gotta make room for another person in this life of ours, not to mention this condo. I have too many knick-knacks (yes, Laurel), and books, old clothes that don't fit and bags of projects I might do SOMEday. When IS this someday and how on earth will I have time for all those projects??

I am reading...

well, I WAS reading "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," by Dave Eggers, when the news hit and the hormones came on, full force. And then I hibernated for three months. And here we are, week 14, and I am getting a semblance of energy back, ever so slowly, and now all I can seem to read is "Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting"! So cliche. But, mama's gotta conserve her energy. And Dave Eggers isn't gonna tell me what the hell a tilted uterus is! But I really do need to get back to that book...

I am hoping...that Michele will know how much I love and respect her and not have to stop talking to me because I got pregnant (though I would totally understand if that is the case. We have both been through the ringer...).

I am hearing...ick, and SMELLING, the cat going potty in the catbox. Damn supersonic sense of smell!

Around the house...I still have my Christmas decorations up, and this weekend - yes - they really are getting packed away until next year.

One of my favorite things...is spending time with friends, and I really, really miss them all. So many dear ones too far away. I need some girl time, some coffee time, some gay best friend time, some walk and talk time, some drinks after work and laughing our heads off time.

A few plans for the rest of the week...include some horrible dental work - expensive and painful. Good times. Me on Wednesday and Scott too, on Friday. But then a hopefully relaxing three day weekend with Martin Luther King Jr's Bday on Monday.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

cranberry bog

flowers in Kashmir
(both photos from the Web)

And there you have it, my Simple Woman's Daybook. View other entries at
The Simple Woman's Daybook. Try writing one yourself if you feel inspired.

~Ally