Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Double Feature -- Uncle Walt and William Carlos Williams

Since I missed poetry Tuesday last week, I'm posting two poems today. No particular theme or rhyme or reason to them. Just a couple of quick ones from two of my favorite poets: Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams. Enjoy!
I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on
the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon
intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl
sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day -- at night the party of young fellows, robust,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

This is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two sites I think you should visit

First, go here to see what Consumer Reports has to say about Maternity care in the U.S. You might be surprised at what you find.

Second, if you're looking for a side by side comparison of presidential candidates, including third party candidates, wikipedia has a great page.

That's all. Go see. Then come back and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Autumn Poems

Those of you who know me well or have been around here a while probably know that I have a thing for autumn. This is, hands down, my favorite time of year.

So poetry Tuesday today is a collection of fall and autumn poems.

The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn.

-John Muir, Fall Poem

Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

-John Keats, To Autumn

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace
as I have seen in one autumnal face

-John Donne

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Maternity-care failings can be remedied with cost-saving fix

My favorite line from the whole article: "If a doula could be put in an IV drip, everyone would get it."Amen.

read more | digg story

And the Answers Are...

Valerie got the closest to getting all of the answers right. Not surprising, since she's like my children's second mother and knows them almost as well as I do.

A. These two children have a goal to win a lego contest, earn fabulous prizes and live in the lap of luxury for the rest of their childhood.

Answer: Scud and Kaitybean
Each month my three oldest children get a free lego magazine and there is always some kind of contest going on. One was to make a movie with legos and win $2500. Another is to create some kind of batman creation out of legos -- the grand prize winner gets an xbox360 and the batman lego game. So, these two are forever making lego creations in the hopes of winning something WAY COOL.

B. This child has undertaken a campaign to single-handedly make the IKEA people rich.
Answer: This would be Coco.
In the last week or two he has broken three bowls, three plates and a bedside lamp -- all from IKEA. So, now I will be replacing them. And buying more plastic dishes for my accident prone toddler.

C. This child wants to be an American Idol, an olympic gymnast and an inventor.
Answer: Mashuga.
Of course. Who else could it be. And I think he actually has the energy to reach any or all of these goals.

D. This child wants to invent a small ball that will make a planet explode in less than an hour.
Answer: Scud
Scud has found his calling in life. He wants to be an engineer and design and build stuff. Considering his dim view of engineers, I wonder what my Dad would think of this. I am mostly disturbed by Scud's desire to make WMAs. But, apparently he doesn't want to hurt anyone. He just wants to explode a planet and then run back to earth. Maybe he'll create better means of interplanetary travel, too. Who knows?

E. Last, but not least, this child is determined to break the records for world's longest and loudest burp.
Answer: This would be my darling Kaitybean.
Yes, with all of these boys, my delicate daughter is the one who is constantly practicing her near record-breaking belches. You'd be surprised. This cute girl can burp like a MAN!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eight Loaves by Karen Keith Gibson

This Poetry Tuesday I am thinking about my mother-in-law. She has been visiting from Germany for the last two weeks and I have thoroughly enjoyed having her around. We have had our ups and downs as many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do. But, I am so grateful for the good woman she is, for the nurturing and love and work she put into her seven delicious children. They are some of the best people I know. And now, having been a mother for a number of years, I am understanding a little bit of the huge task it is to raise good children. I am endlessly grateful for her.
We were talking at our women's retreat about how she used to make bread and feed it to her children after school as they came home. She said they went through at least two loaves each day.
I immediately thought of a poem written by one of my friends and favorite poets, Karen Keith Gibson. This comes from a book called "
Bread and Milk and Music: Three Sisters' Voices" which was written by Karen and her two sisters, Helen Keith Beaman and Mary Keith Boyack. It is an absolutely sublime book. If you'd like to buy a copy, let me know and I can get one for you.
Eight Loaves

I imagine I can smell it when I reach
the vacant lot, float on the aroma
down the path, past Strong's,
through the back door, into the kitchen.
Mother cuts the coveted heel,
spreads it Grandma Knighton style:
scrape off more than you put on.
Then, ceremoniously, she places
the prize in my hands.

No one can duplicate the bread.
I know why. One morning as the ritual began,
I meticulously took notes,
watched every move, counted the stirs,
clicked a mental picture to pattern.
she added leftover mush,
mixed it with the other ingredients
as though it belonged.

She kneaded like a champion boxer
taking on his punching bag
with perfect rhythm, well-trained arms.
Baking was the clincher:
coal stove, blackened pans.

I miss the bread.
I miss the constancy of it,
its goodness, its healing power.

How could she have known as she
went about her mundane chore
what it would mean to us,
her eight loaves of delicious children,
stirred, kneaded and baked, who
live the legacy of Mama's bread.

Karen Keith Gibson
from Bread and Milk and Music: Three Sisters' Voices

Friday, October 03, 2008


Big gold star to the first person who can match the following goals to the corresponding children:

A. These two children have a goal to win a lego contest, earn fabulous prizes and live in the lap of luxury for the rest of their childhood.

B. This child has undertaken a campaign to single-handedly make the IKEA people rich.

C. This child wants to be an American Idol, an olympic gymnast and an inventor.

D. This child wants to invent a small ball that will make a planet explode in less than an hour.

E. Last, but not least, this child is determined to break the records for world's longest and loudest burp.

We're reaching for the stars, here, people.

As soon as your answers are in, I will reveal the mystery children and the stories behind their awesome goals.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2nd Annual Women's Retreat

Self Portrait

Otherwise titled: I am related to some of the coolest women in the whole world.

So, last year I came up with the crazy idea to start an annual women's retreat on the last weekend of September. We would have a potluck dinner, do some bonding stuff, talk, eat chocolate, talk more, do yoga, eat more chocolate, sleep a little, get out and do something fun and then attend the LDS General Relief Society Broadcast together.

My wonderful sister, sisters-in-law and my mother were all willing to humor me and go along with my zany ideas. Even when some of my planned activities meant some stretching outside of comfort zones. It was a blast.

This year was even better. We did yoga under the stars; we talked and laughed; we drew with chalk pastels; we did pedicures; we did a service project; went out to eat and then attended the RS broadcast where we were spiritually filled and nourished.

Just like last year, my marvelous SIL Trishelle hosted and was the ultimate hostess.

Paper Waiting For Our Chalky Creativity

My Picture of "Who I Am In This Moment"

JDub's mother was even here from Germany, which made it extra special.

And the best part, I think, was kidnapping Alisa our soon-to-be sister-in-law in the middle of the night for a moonlight induction ceremony. There were crazy crowns, there was face painting, there was laughter and frolicking and scarf dancing and singing. It was a splendid time.

See for yourself.

Getting Ready For the Kidnapping

My Beautiful Emily and I

Lovely Co-Conspirators: Em, Trish and Heather

Kidnapping With a Smile

Waiting, Waiting For Who Knows What (She was actually worried!)

And the Painting, Oh the Painting

See How Happy She Is To Be One Of Us?!?

Gorgeous: Jamie and Trishelle

Sisters Forevah


...and Frolicking


...and More Craziness

I adore these women. We have been there for each other through the good, the bad and the ugly. They have taught me and trusted me with their children and nurtured mine. They love me just as I am, crazy and all. They make me feel like a little girl again. I don't know how much more blessed I can be. How many people are fortunate enough to not only be born into a family with the most wonderful mother and sister ever, but to also gain such amazing sisters through marriage?

We are already making plans for next year's retreat. It will be September 25 and 26. Trishelle may host again or we may rent a house in SL. Either way, I promise it will be fun and well worth your time. Put it on your calendar and let me know if you'd like an invite. This is an open invitation to all our friends and family.

I don't think we'll wake you up at 3am and paint your face, but I can't make any promises.

Oh, and for a more thorough (and very entertaining) run-down of events and more pictures, see Trish's post: My Glorious Sisters and our Second Annual Girl's Retreat...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008