Thursday, September 30, 2004

Boing Protest Lodged in Burnaby

Mompoet's parents (grand-poets?) have lodged a formal protest about my previous post. They have accused me of being purposefully obscure, which is something I frequently criticize in the work of other poets. In an effort to de-mystify "Boing" I will now provide notes for this post.

Boing = the sensation of being tightly sprung and bounding and rebounding, with little control and even less care for control
Boing is a happy feeling.
Boing as a verb indicates the motion made by Tigger.
Boing sounds funny.
Boing is an all-consuming, pervasive sensation experieced most commonly on Wednesdays at 3pm, but sometimes earlier in the week.
Boing is not spiritual or intellectual. It is the body laughing at nothing in particular.
Boing is contagious.

Try this at home. Walk up to someone and stand right in front of him/her. Step a little closer. Say, "Boing," then just stand there. You will both laugh really loud for a long time.

There it is.

Question: Boing enigmatic or Boing parsed?

mompoet - post-boing


I did 15 pushups today. I know that might not sound like much, but I have never done pushups before this month, and never ever 15 before today. I mean the real kind of pushup with only hands and toes on the floor and the rest of me like a board, or a door off its hinges. I can do a million lady pushups, with knees on the floor. These were not lady pushups, they were army pushups.

I have been lifting weights since last November, getting to the point where I can do pushups. Before that I was doing yoga, but it was too difficult for me and I was having trouble fitting the classes into my schedule. Whenever I practised at home the dog would pant on me and the cat would sit on me.

Ectomorph - the praying mantis body-type (not me)
Endomorph - the over-stuffed chair body-type (sometimes me)
Mesomorph - taking-up-space-with-functional-mass body-type (me more and more these days)

I have some practical reasons for this (prevent bone loss in my middle-to-later years, develop core strength for ease of movement and less aging-related pain, regain strength lost to a couple of year's struggle with hyperthyroidism) but really I like having big muscles. So there it is. I'm not planning to turn into some muscle magazine woman's head on a man's body - I'm too curvy for that to ever happen. I just like being strong. I like saying to the guy who's just finishing on the leg press, "That's okay, leave it loaded. I'll use it like that." Upper body is still more of a challenge, but it's coming along. I don't need to ask for help lifting things nearly as often, and I can finally do pushups. The exercises don't take long, and the routine is almost like a meditation. I go to the gym when it's quiet, and just move through the progression almost like a yoga flow. I feel relaxed and energized when I'm done, and more aware and respectful of all of my major parts.

I also love that my daughter is doing sports even though she's not a super-jock type. Acting, singing, drawing and writing are her favourite things, and she's really talented. But she also plays volleyball and basketball, on actual teams at school. I never did that - always thought of myself as too awkward or slow, a liability to any team. I'm very happy she doesn't feel that way. By doing some activity myself I'm hoping to show her that I am inspired by her example, and also to set an example too, by not gradually giving up exercise just because middle age has arrived and life is very busy.

I'll be 43 in November. I will probably never be able to do 43 pushups. I will probably live at least another 43 years. Wouldn't it be cool to be 86 years old with good, big muscles? I can just hear the little ones say, "Grandma, show us some pushups."

Question: Why the heck not?

mompoet - pumped in a mom sort of way

Tuesday, September 28, 2004



Question: boing?

m B o O m I p N o G e G t G !

Sunday, September 26, 2004

On Top of the World

Oh my goodness, what a day. Word on the Street was tremendous fun and I loved being a feature poet. Lots of friends showed up from work, the neighbourhood and Shoreline. Mom and Dad came too, which is a bonus. They were supposed to be in Rupert but my brother's family has the flu, so they stayed home.

It was just incredibly, wonderfully, exciting and exhilarating to be on stage. I love it at the slam for sure, but even more when I get to do a whole set, without strict time rules. The Liars of Orpheus played gorgeous musical accompaniment that enhanced the poems very well. Those guys sure know how to do it! Performing with musicians was the part that made me most nervous. Here's what I did to get over it: On Saturday I picked out the most distracting music I could think of - a Michael Kaeshammer cd - and played it nice and loud while I practised my poems. At first I kept losing track of my words and looping phrases and missing sections, but then I got used to it, and tried working the rhythm of the poem around the music. After about half a dozen tries throughout the day it was working. So when the band played at Poet's Corner and they were playing along to what I was saying, it was easy and fun.

Afterward I got lots of recognition, hugs and congratulations. Lavish praise and appreciation. That feels spectacularly good - like flying, actually.

Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky me. Ahhhhh

Question: What was good for you today?

mompoet - blessed magnificently and blissed maximally

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Just finished Oracle Night. The end is brutal, but worth it. I fell asleep reading it sometime around 1:30am, and got up to finish it at 7. Good book. Paul Auster has 8 novels (I read the jacket notes after finishing the story). I will read some more.

Publication Committee meeting in Whonnock was excellent. We chose our cover art and design and had some fun writing our bios on the spot, in haiku and limerick form. Here's my haiku bio

oak leaf shout HEAVEN!
moving rock pairs and triads
sun-warmed gully splash

I tried to do a limerick bio but I couldn't get past the word Nantucket.

We have shortened the title to Road to Hell, and I got my first look at the story by that title. It's surreal and wonderful. This will be a very good book.

Today is Saturday. Fast-growing boy needs haircut. Winter clothes lurk in attic. Litter box is singing a loud nose-jazz from its room in the basement. Better deal with it before the cat breaks out to scat-sing in random corners.

Question: how would you tell yourself in 17 syllables?

mompoet - not enough sleep but energized by autumn air


I took the kids to see Napoleon Dynamite today. Wow! We loved it. My 11 year-old got bored for a few minutes in the middle, but was very happy with it by the end. Fourteen year old son and I loved it from start to finish, including the extra scene that runs after the credits. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. The movie is about a boy named Napoleon Dynamite who is the ultra-misfit in his Idaho high school. It doesn't have a conventional plot arc, which is a plus in my books. It's less like the Mad Mouse and more like the Dumbo ride, with weird and wonderful characters riding in all of the elephants. There's some grim humour, including a scene with a farmer shooting a cow in front of a school bus full of children, but on the whole it's optimistic and sweet. My Shoreline friend thought it was funny that I called the movie "sweet," but I told him he is not somebody's mom, so I can understand why he wouldn't see it that way. I think there's a bit of dynamite in all of us, and you should never pass up a movie where the big romantic breakthrough is the boy saying to the girl, "I brought you a delicious bass." It'll be out on video pretty soon I bet, but go see it at Tinseltown while it's still there, if you have a chance.

I am up really late, so I'll go to bed now and read some more of Oracle Night before sleep.

Question: Did you ever try the Dumbo ride?

mompoet - loopy, but not yet droopy

Friday, September 24, 2004

Really 42 (I see)

For the very first time in my life I had to take my glasses off to read. Sure, it was dim light (we were waiting for the movie to begin) but yes, I took them off, and I could see clearly again. Old eyes. Lucky though, to have seen so many things along the way to this day, and looking forward to seeing many more. Lucky also to have extended medical coverage (bifocals are expensive).

Question - Are your arms still long enough?

mompoet - aging gratefully

Good good good

Many good things today...

Shoreline Publication Committee tonight. We'll drive out to Whonnock to have supper at Helmi's and work on our chapbook together. My poems are shaping up just fine, as well as the stories that I am involved in readying for the book. It's going to be our best yet. The whole evening is always very nourishing physically, intellectually and spiritually. It's a long drive out, so we laugh and relax together. The meal is always fabulous. Then the conversation, working together on the book and sharing impressions of life in general. ahhhhh

Eggplant last night. By the time I got home, my husband had cooked supper, so the kids ate at 6:15, but I spent some time with a certain eggplant that I bought the other day, and made my fall favourite. The recipe is in Moosewood Low Fat cookbook. It is simple and good, basically a pasta sauce made with onions, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, mushrooms and roasted eggplant. mmmmmm

Two days until Word on the Street. I have my set prepared and poems memorized. Last night I worked on a surprise. hee hee hee

A new book. I am reading Paul Auster's Oracle Night. It's very good. There's a story inside a story, inside a story (!) and some kind of metaphysical mystery happening about a writer who seems to disappear when he writes in a particual notebook. I'm discovering it as I go. For the first time in a long time I have picked up a book about which I know nothing. Nobody I know has read this book. I have not read a review. I didn't even read the jacket notes. I began reading it the other night very late. My husband was sleeping so I tiptoed into bed and used my little book light to read. I went straight to page one, skipping any synopsis-peek, which was very cool. It was such a mysterious way to begin a new story - silently, in pitch darkness, with a small light revealing one page at a time. Now I'm determined to enjoy this read all on my own. So if you have read it, don't talk to me about it please, until I'm finished. shhhhhh

Day off work. Both kids are home on Pro-D, so I arranged the day off. I love my job for many reasons, but its flexibility is at the top of the list. I worked a couple of longs days earlier this week, so can take this day off for free. The kids and I plan to go to a movie, which will seem extra decadent because the sun is shining today. But first, I have to bake a plum cake for Helmi's place. Tra la la

Question: No question today - if you would like to write a question and answer it, please feel welcome to do so.

mompoet - unwinding

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Urban Myth?

By now you have probably received the email that tells the story of Maya Angelou's 74th birthday and her comments on the Oprah Winfrey Show about aging gracefully. You may even have forwarded it to five amazing women, as instructed. After all, who would dare tempt fate and suffer the dire consequences promised in the email?

I am running a personal test. I have received this particular email at least a dozen times now and I never, ever forward such things (well, except maybe that one with the man in the over-the-shoulder yellow brazilian thong bathing suit - but that was funny). I have made a point of not forwarding the Maya Angelou email. Despite this refusal, the elastic on my underpants is still working just fine.

Question: Do you dare join me in this dangerous experiment?

mompoet - snug and safe from chilly breezes

Pear Honey Missed Instruction

Peel and core the pears. (ahem)

Question - How most post would a compost post, if a compost could post com?

mompoet - sometimes careless, never pear-less

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Talking to myself?

Did you wonder why I'm posting all of the comments? It seems that you have to have your own blog on blogger to be allowed to post a comment. I'm toying with the idea of setting up a dummy blog and giving everyone I know the password so you don't have to go to the trouble.

Question: Can anyone think of a better way?

In the meantime, email me your comments and answers to question of the day. I'll post 'em as mompoet.

I bought 20 pounds of apples and 18 pounds of pears on Sunday. They have been sitting in boxes, getting eaten as we pass, but not all of them. Today the pears were at the beginning of their rype cycle so I canned some "pear honey" (recipe from Louise). It's pretty yummy and does indeed taste like honey. Gonna make me some applesauce too, and some pear sauce. Yum.

Pear Honey

9 cups finely chopped pears (Thanks for the Cuisinart you gave us when we got married, Mom and Dad. It still works great.)
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
juice and grated zest of one lime
5 cups sugar (hey, it's okay, it has pears in it too)

Stir and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Can - process for 20.

Here is a poem:


Curving flare of supple yellow green

Skin yields

To biting edge without snap

Sweet middle slide

Forever wish inside


Grinding stop

To chew again

Find middle juice


Of wiry tree


Too fine to bear

Until only core is there

Jam is done. Good night. Remember to listen to the radio on Wednesday: 2pm 102.7fm Coop Radio - Wax Poetic. (but don't listen to the snap of lids - never!)

mompoet - earwax prophetic

Monday, September 20, 2004

New Season, New Look

Hey wait! It's me! mompoet! I just look different. There are a couple dozen templates from which to choose, so I'm changing my blog's look for fall. I like to change things frequently so that I continue to actually see them. If it's the same for too long my brain sort of glosses over and I miss interesting details. It's not like I move everything around in my kitchen cupboards, or put my pillow at the foot of the bed, but I do like to sit in a different seat at the table, switch my telephone and pencil jar around on my desk and take a different route when I go for a walk. There are so many ways to see the world, why would I always choose the same perspective?

So Tuesday is the first day of fall. In one way that's very exciting - new beginnings, new projects, groups re-forming, kids grown taller over the summer, and that tang in the air of authentic ripening, fermentation and glorious rot. Before everything freezes it gets very damp mushy and aromatic in such an intriguing way.

In some ways I dislike fall, but not for the usual reasons. My dislike has to do with the equinox versus the solstice, and a fundamental disdain for balance. I don't like delicate things, or fine things. German wine is boring. Subtle nuances are confounding. Enigmatic smiles are annoying. I like big, bold and intense, so I crave the solstice, high acidity, big personalities and black/white dichotomies. I can handle the in-between, but given my druthers, I'll go with the definite. I'd even rather listen to someone be adamantly wrong than tentatively correct. Yeah!

September 21 is just fine. Only 90 or so days to the real day - December 21 - long dark night, mystery, stark contrast between indoor and outdoor atmosphere. Yes. I can hardly wait.

Question: Fulcrum or precipice?

mompoet - not in the middle if I can help it

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Woke up Saturday with so much to do. It had been three weeks since I have cleaned the house, and the dog is shedding again, so obviously, I had some mucking out to do. Husband and kids help of course, but I am the captain of the bucket brigade. 11 year old daughter needed clothing for beginning of dance auditions Monday so we had to go to the mall too. There were about a googolplex other things from sending in claim forms for this month's orthodontist bill to planning my Sunday Church School class program from now until the beginning of Advent. I resorted to my tried-and-true and made a list. It works every time. Helps me stay on track and gives me satisfaction as I cross off, cross off, cross off. Somehow it makes me feel like I'm on top of things more.

I did get lots done including the most satisfying: working on my three pieces for this year's Shoreline Writers' Society chapbbook. I will contribute three poems, and I had feedback from one of my editors. I also did some work on the short stories given to me by the two members for whom I am editor. The stories are so good and so funny that I was giggling and shouting while I sat at the table, and my kids kept saying, "WHAT!!???" until I stopped and read them the works in progress, then they understood. My friends have written two great stories. The book will be ready in December. I'll have gift and sale copies ready for Christmas, and we'll try to do some promotional readings in the new year.

The toaster just said "ding" and there is peanut butter, a banana and fresh coffee waiting. I know what I want to do.

Question: Do you list?

mompoet - turning away from bla bla and toward yum yum

Saturday, September 18, 2004

One more stab at shameless self-promotion

I will perform at the Poets' Corner at Word on the Street on Sunday, September 26 at Library Square in downtown Vancouver. If you like books, magazines, reading and writing, the whole day will be so much fun for you. It's all free, and there's so much to do and see that you'll wish you were three people.

This will be my third year at Poet's corner. In 2002 I was chosen to read as an emerging poet. I was part of a group of 4 poets who where invited to read along with an established poet during one of the 5 sets that day. My friends Irene Livingston and Jim Thompson read too. I had so much fun that I asked if I could volunteer the following year. Steve Duncan, one of the venue's organizers, asked me to be venue coordinator. For Poets' Corner 2003, I spent pretty much the whole day at the tent, welcoming hosts and poets, taking photographs, handing back submission packages, making sure hosts had bios, and making sure the features got their cheques and everyone got thank-yous and any support or hospitality that they needed. It was great. The previous year I had felt a bit overwhelmed by the largeness of the event. I don't do well with sensory overload. I hate smorgasbords, detest shopping malls and do not like to listen to music while I read or write. One thing at a time, full blast, best-you-can-get and really do it. That's me. Not some of this, some of that, not enough to even get an idea then on to the next. Staying at the Poet's Corner I felt like the pivot of a glorious pinwheel of poets, writers, readers and friends. It was busy and exciting and filled me to the brim with one excellent variety of happy and good.

So this year I have volunteered again to be venue coordinator. Then Steve asked if I would also like to feature. I felt scared at first. The other features have books of poetry published. They are well-known names in the poetry/lit community. Who was I to be a feature? I even emailed Steve to tell him if he changed his mind that was okay. But he very quickly and kindly said that he was sure they wanted me to feature.

So I am volunteering all day, then on at 4pm to perform some of my poetry, along with 4 talented poets, host RC Weslowski and even a back-up band! Johnny Frem phoned me earlier this week to ask if I would like his band, The Liars of Orpheus, to play along while I do my poems. Again, I felt frightened. What if I look like an idiot? But then I remembered that I like to do new things that I haven't tried before. I don't bungie-jump or rock-climb or gamble. So this is my chance to take a step beyond my comfort zone. And Johnny is such a good guy and a talented musician. I know for sure it will be very cool.

So I hope you'll come to Word on the Street and for sure to Poets' Corner and maybe even to see me perform at 4pm. It will be fun.

Question: Do you like smorgasbords or small plates? Bungie jumps or leaps of faith?

mompoet - creating new self-perception

Friday, September 17, 2004

Radio Me Soon

Steve Duncan invited me to be a guest on Wax Poetic this coming Wednesday. The show is on Coop Radio 102.7fm at 2pm every Wednesday. It's always fun to listen to this show. Local poets, visiting poets, long poets, haiku gurus, anarchists, eyebrow worshippers...everything except bureaucrats and hallmark card writers. But maybe they have had those and I just missed those shows. But I try not to. Anyway, please tune in to hear me say:

I thought it was a ZIT!

and other totally scintillating and mostly anti-lectual poetry. I get to talk for about 25 minutes which can be dangerous. Steve and Diane are the hosts. RC works the sound and does the announcements. It's a friendly place for a poet to play. I'm glad they invited me.

Question: Do you watch the radio? Do you listen to television?

mompoet - going to watch 7 day videos from the coupon book before September is over


I made it onto CityPulse news tonight. Their education reporter Mike Bothwell called me for a parent's perspective on Christy Clark's resignation. He remembered me from when our school was threatened with closure two years ago due to funding cuts. The story looked really good, and my comments were edited into the beginning, middle and end of the piece. I sure appreciate the opportunity to talk about how this government's actions have affected families.

Question: What would you say if you could say whatever you wanted to on television?

mompoet - media magnet, dust mop, enigma velcro

Surprised I'll Miss Her

Christy Clark announced her resignation from Provincial Cabinet and from her position as Deputy Premier last night and declared that she will not run for re-election as our local MLA in 2005. I should be jumping for joy, but surprisingly, I feel sad. I have thought of her as the embodiment of everything bad for our schools and social programs in BC. I have met with her, I have written letters to the editor directly criticizing her words and actions. I should be over the moon to see her go.

But I feel sad.

Minister Clark's explanation for stepping down is that she is choosing to spend more time with her husband and preschool age son. Maybe this is part of why I have this surprising sadness. I can understand the pressure to balance home and family with responsiblities in the outside world, and I know too, as a parent who has fought against cuts to education and social services, that getting out into the community and speaking up takes time and energy that have to come from somewhere. It's ironic that we must neglect our families in order to work for the changes that will benefit them.

Also, I have always had this sneaking suspicion that it must be hard for Christy Clark to preside over cuts and policy changes (both in the Education and Children and Family Development ministries) that have hurt so many people. I have heard her saying that it's all for the best, that we'll just have to work smarter and more efficiently, and that funding is actually increasing (hey, that's a whole other story). But my heart tells me that she knows better. Maybe she's just tired of having to be responsible for all of this hurt. Maybe, just maybe, even she doesn't believe everything she has been telling us all along.

So besides feeling sad I feel hopeful. And mostly I feel glad that I have chosen to get involved in these issues, get to know Christy Clark, become an activist parent. The one place where the duty to home and to the outside world has not conflicted is in the example I can show my kids. They watch me writing, phoning, attending meetings, conferences and rallies. Whoever's political view prevails doesn't matter so much as the fact that the kids see that we do have a voice and a responsility to use it. I know that Christy must feel that way about her son. I sure feel that way about my children. My son is excited about helping to support our NDP candidate in the coming election. My daughter talks about the issues with me at supper and in the car. So that's where the hope is. I know, long after we all forget who Christy Clark was and what I wrote in the local paper, those kids of mine, and hers too, will know that this world is theirs.

Question: Were you ever surprised like this?

mompoet - stopping short of sending a hallmark card

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


Some weeks are fast and swervy. This is one. I'm working all five days this week (managed to swing 2 on and 3 off without taking a holiday last week) with work, meetings and parents' night at the high school filling up most of my weeknight evenings. The kids are really back to school full force, and all of my volunteer commitments that slumbered over the summer have just awakened. I love roller coasters. I love ice cream. But too much racing and plunging and too many flavours to contemplate are not good. I know it's just the jolt that always comes at the end of summer, but yikes!

Some of the sights and sounds are exhilarating, though:

Dropped in to Burnaby Writers' Society's Poetry Contest Awards Night. My friend Irene Livingston won first prize for her spectacular poem, Satin Blue. I also got to hear her daughter, Lenore Angela, read her poem, Magnolia Hide, which won an Honourable Mention.

Before that I was at a meeting of the Vancouver Poetry House - a group that has been formed to promote and foster poetry in the Vancouver Area. We're planning the second Canadian Spoken Word Olympics for September 2005. To find out what that's all about, check out the website for the inaugural CSWO, that will take place in Ottawa this October.

I just realized I'm sticking in all of these links to point in any direction but at myself. So before I sign off, here goes...

Things that make me happy despite feeling overwhelmed by pace, volume and intensity of current days:
  • Loving husband and children, awesome parents, sister and brother and their families (including my brother-in-law whose birthday I just missed but who I know still loves me and I'll phone him tomorrow because it's already one hour later in Cranbrook)
  • Mush puppy and long brown cat
  • 17 best friends (at last count)
  • energy to stay on top of even the crazy days, even when I'm not crazy about them
  • Everything is still funnier than it is annoying
  • God
Things I will do in the next 24 hours to distract myself and catch some relief from way-too-much-plain-old-everyday:

  • Wear pajamas until the last possible minute before I have to shower, dress and go to work, and wear pajamas as soon as I get home and can get away with it without husband and kids saying, "You're in your pajamas already?"
  • Drink tea in the afternoon
  • Hug everyone who will stand still to be hugged
  • Read something funny and laugh laugh laugh without explaining to anyone who hears me why I am laughing (they're used to it already)
  • Take some photographs
  • Sing in the car
Wow. That feels better already.

Question: What do you do when the world is spinning like one of those gyrotron vomit rides?

mompoet - positively discombobulated but optimistic about the day after tomorrow

Monday, September 13, 2004

interactive or inert?

So now that I've given the mompoet url to about a million friends, well, 16 or 17 at last count, I'm wondering who's actually reading the darn thing. So please let me know by posting a comment. That's different from emailing the link as some friends have done. You have to register with blogger, but I have done so and I'm still getting the same number of spam ads as before for university degrees and penis enlargement. Now, if somebody would just combine those two offers, I think I might be interested.

So please consider posting a comment. Just go down to the bottom of my post where it says "0 comments," click on it and then click on "post a comment." It will lead you through registering. You can use an assumed name or a presumed name or a subsumed name. It will be fun. I'll know you are there.

Question: Why the heck not?

mompoet-oet-oet-oet-oet-oet (echoing in the void)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Dunk Dubya

Try this fun e-card:

Dunk George Bush

mompoet - annoyed and irritated, having just balanced the chequebook and paid the bills - where did it go? where did it go?

ps: dunking bush made it feel better

Overthrow the Government with Jam

Check this animated piece:

Weebl and Bob

Question: if now why, how?

mompoet - cryptic and running to teach first Sunday School class of the season

Saturday, September 11, 2004

BC Liberal Government Speaks the Truth at Last

Seen on a highwayside sign, posted by the Provincial Government:

End of Project

mompoet - counting the days

Great Post on Defective Yeti

What would you do if you spotted Saddam Hussein on a Seattle City Bus? Check out Defective Yeti for a great story.

mompoet - catching up on internet before dressing for the wedding

Missed the Bride

Phew. I'm home from Whistler, but I missed the wedding. An accident on the highway stopped traffic for an hour or so. By the time I got back to Port Moody it was just past 1pm, and the ceremony was underway. Luckily I had a cell phone, so I could call my family and nobody worried about me. If I'd left Whistler 15 minutes earlier, I would have been home early. If I'd left 10 minutes earlier, maybe I would have been part of the accident. It was pouring rain and the wind was gusting, and that highway is tricky. When the traffic finally got moving I drove past the scene: a big truck down on its side and two cars, pretty well smashed. I hope everybody was okay, but it looked bad.

So I'll make it to the reception this evening, but I won't see the wedding itself. I've never met the bride and groom. The bride is my husband's boss's daughter. The boss has been really good to us. He's a super nice guy, and treats my husband like a member of the family, so I'm delighted to be part of the celebration.

Friday in Whistler was a hoot. I predicted right. I can barely talk today I laughed so much. I drove up in time for brunch at the condo. Then we played mini golf which became extra fun when it started to rain so we simultaneous speed-golfed the last 3 holes. Then we sat at the pub for a while, then came back to the condo for the hot tub, supper and some goofy games. We stayed up past midnight just talking and laughing our guts out. My neighbour, one of the ladeez, was so silly I could not stop laughing at her silliness. Worse, when we finally hauled ourselves to bed, I was sharing a bed with her and she wouldn't stop talking. We'd just get settled down then one of us would say something again and we'd start giggling. Finally I said, "Now I'm going to dive head first into sleep. Good night." She said, "Okay, me too." and we slept.

I am blessed to know these women whose company nourishes my soul. We're part of each other's lives every day. Our September weekend is a treasure. Together we speak a language of words and actions that belongs to us, bonds us and strengthens us as individuals and friends.

Question: who feeds your soul?

mompoet - tired, hoarse, happy, and ready to put on a party face

Friday, September 10, 2004


I am driving to Whistler this morning to spend some time with the Ladeez in the 'Hood. We will laugh consecutively and simultaneously for our waking hours and giggle when we sleep. They're staying up until Sunday afternoon but I'll drive back down in the morning to get home in time for another friend's wedding Saturday afternoon. I'm looking forward to the solo drive. I practise memorizing and saying my poems in the car.

Ha ha ho ho hee hee

Question: What do you do all by yourself in the car?

mompoet - ready to launch

Thursday, September 09, 2004

William Carlos Williams

The Three Graces

We have the picture of you in mind,
when you were young, posturing
(for a photographer) in scarves
(if you could have done it) but now,
for none of you is immortal, ninety-
three, the three, ninety and three,
Mary, Ellen and Emily, what
beauty is it clings still about you?
Undying? Magical? For there is still
no answer, why we live or why
you will not live longer than I
or that there should be an answer why
any should live and whatever other
should die. Yet you live. You live
and all that can be said is that
you live, time cannot alter it--
and as I write this Mary has died.

William Carlos Williams

Question: none today

mompoet - reflective and appreciative

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Soft Squishy Part Between

I got all excited today when my friend told me she's had a palm pilot since June, but hasn't used it yet. "Oh! Oh!" said I, "I can come over for coffee and show you how to use it!" Thing is, I really enjoy helping people get comfortable with technology. I don't understand how it works at the program-building level, and I can't fix it when it's broken, but I'm not afraid of it. I love to play with computer programs and find out different things I can do with them and how to make them work. So many women in my generation are intimidated by computers, so it's really fun to help them jump in and play around with whatever it is, a palm pilot or a software application or even a yahoo account. You can't break it - it's usually created broken, and anything you do is reversible or re-doable so go ahead and use the darn thing! If it doesn't do what you want it to do, well that's proof that we still need real people, and computers will never rule the world. At work, people ask me for help all the time, but they ask in quiet voices like "pssst...I don't know how to do this...can you show me?" Never fear! Pseudo-geek is here!

I sometimes think about what I would do for a living if I didn't do the jobs I do now (mom, recreation programmer, community volunteer). Well, I'll always be a mom, and probably also a volunteer, but if I ever leave recreation work, I'd like to be a computer trainer - but not a shiny corporate whiz-bang trainer. I would be a warm-fuzzy "yes you can!" trainer. Rich ladies would hire me to come over and teach them how to use Excel or do a halfway decent internet search. Timid Grandmas would get me to help them email their grandchildren and set up their own blogs. Men and women whose offices had automated around them and left them behind would call me to help them catch up and gain confidence so nobody would notice that they weren't born doing this. Weird, huh?

In a strange way, I think this is very creative, like making a sculpture out of two materials that nobody would ever put together. Making a soft, natural fit between a technophobe and the world of micromania is an art. I like to think about being the soft squishy stuff in between the two worlds.

Question: What would you be if you weren't what you are?

mompoet - merging left and right brain with a chisel and a bag of marshmallows

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Falling into It

First day of school went smoothly. Our 11 year old spent an hour at middle school. Our 14 year old spent 2 1/2 at secondary. Both are at new schools this fall, with new routines to learn, a step up for each in terms of independence and academic challenge and opportunities for new activities, new friends, and new anxieties. Both children seemed pretty positive today. Tomorrow may be another story as classes will begin. We're hoping no homework until next week, but you never know.

I'm super-tired, and not too inspired to do my journal tonight because of all the fun I had last night at the poetry slam. there were some great new poets on stage and an enthusiastic crowd. Graham, the regular slam host, was back after spending some time away from the stage nesting with his wife and their new baby. Barbara Adler was the feature poet. She is so good! Check out one of her poems here. Her cd is out now and it's great. You can get a copy most nights at The Vancouver Poetry Slam. You'll notice from the listing, the slam begins at 9pm, which is early evening if you are 22 or something but makes for a late night for someone like me, almost twice that age. I got home around midnight, and fell into bed at 12:30, but it was worth it!

The tile floor looks great! The guys will put in the grout on Thursday, then the furniture can go back and the dining room is done (except for molding around the edges which will come later). My husband showed me a couple of mistakes in the tiling that I never would have noticed. I suggested that he just not show them to anyone, and accept the compliments he's sure to get. It's phenomenal what he and his friend did all on their own. They should enjoy people's appreciation and not worry about insignificant imperfections. But most of us are like that, aren't we? For example:

Mr. Admiring: Hey, long time no see! You're looking good!
She: Not really, I've gained a few pounds.
(Now what is poor Mr. Admiring supposed to say? "Hmm, I beg to differ. let's step over to the scale." or "Oh yeah, baby, that's what I meant. I love voluptuous women." or more likely "Errrp!" followed by a hasty retreat.)

Here's another one:

Nice Neighbour: Your kid is really playing that saxophone better and better. We hear him practising at night.
Mom: Oh, I'm sorry. Is the noise bothering you?

Here's another:

Gracious Gourmand: MMMMM! This is the best chili I've ever tasted. What's your secret?
Faux Chef: I bought it at Costco.

Get over it! A compliment is a gift! Practise this:

Mr. Admiring: Hey, long time no see. You're looking great!
She: Thank you very much. What a nice thing for you to say. You're looking pretty good too. How's your new job?

Nice Neighbour: I enjoyed listening to Bobby's saxophone last night. He's getting better on that horn.
Mom: Wow, he'll feel so good when I tell him you said that. Thanks for the encouragement!

Gracious Gourmand: Mmmmm..this is the best chili...
Faux Chef: I love it too. Thanks! You want some more?

Try it. Accepting a compliment is like giving a gift in return.

How did I get here from the first day of school? I don't know. I will compliment myself and say that whatever I start on, I get somewhere else, even if I'm not sure how, but that's good.

Hello pillow, goodby keyboard. Happy beginning everyone.

Question: are you better at dishing or catching compliments?

mompoet - scattered, tattered and back in the September groove.

Monday, September 06, 2004


My husband and his friend have been working on the dining room floor since 8:30 this morning. It's looking really good. When the job's done it will be spectacular! This day is more placid than I thought it would be for a few reasons:

  • The kids overdosed on "out of the house" at the PNE yesterday, so they are content to stay home, read, play computer, watch tv, walk the dog, label school supplies etc. with a minimum of mom-tertainment.
  • The men-folk decided to focus only on the dining room. They moved the bookcases and table and chairs to other parts of the house, but they left my kitchen exactly as it is. I can cook, send email, feed the animals etc. When they do the kitchen they'll have to move the fridge and stove and disconnect the computer. Then I'll be out of sorts. This won't happen until some time in October as our handy friend is going to Japan and China next weekend. Hmmm, maybe if we offer him turkey dinner at my Mom's house he'll spend Thanksgiving here, finishing the project.
  • We must be ready for school because the kids are being friendly and helpful. This is a sign of feeling okay with the world.
  • I'm happy because I'm going out to the Vancouver Poetry Slam tonight. I always feel good when I'm looking forward to something.
With no prospect of the mall (shhhh...don't say the word out loud) in sight I am puttering happily, listening to bad puns, cooking grill cheese sandwiches and enjoying my home and family.

Tra la la

Question: What does a peaceful day sound, look, feel like to you?

mompoet - blissful in a non-imposing sort of way

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Today the PNE - Tomorrow the Mall

Today the corniest, most expensive mish-mash of everything under the sun. I love the PNE. We'll spend the day there, from opening to the end of Bring on the Night dance and firework extravaganza. (We'll skip the rides. We spent a day in August doing just rides for 8 hours.) The SuperDog Show, the demolition derby (or whatever they're calling it this year), community dancers, talent search, mop and knife miracle demonstrations, ultra-corny but wonderful Cirque Pop, Equestriana and the smiling, beautiful sturdy ladies on their dancing Clydesdales. I'll pack sandwiches for lunch to save money but we'll buy way overpriced nitrate and grease-loaded supper (well, I'll probably have dicey dangerous don't know who made it sushi) and ice cream for sure. My kids always talk me into letting them eat the giant cube of curly fries while we watch the horse show. The people-watching is the best: always people we know all over the place but also people who we would never see anywhere else. People come into town for the PNE. It's a big day for everyone. We'll all be shiny and excited and a tiny bit scared by the grubby grabbiness of the whole thing, but Hooray!

Tomorrow my husband and his friend will rip out our dining room carpet, tear up the kitchen linoleum and commence re-flooring that whole area with ceramic tiles. It's going to be beautiful when it's done, but I have to get the kids out of the house for the day. I fear we will end up where they want to go, the mall. It's not only that I hate spending money on over-priced stuff, but that's part of it. I really miss the days when Value Village had the same allure for my kids as Old Navy does today. I also feel sad to see people who are stuck working at the mall, and worst to see people who actually go there for enjoyment. They're easy to spot, zombie-walking slow to make it last because maybe it's the best thing available for them to do with their time. What a sad sight. I'll try to make a mall sandwich tomorrow. Something outdoors like taking the dog to Rocky Point to get her out of the way of the destructo-guys too. Then the mall. Then maybe a movie? Or maybe I'll just pick up pizza since my kitchen will be a disaster, and we'll picnic in the basement and label school supplies. I don't know. We'll make the last day sweet and only 50% mall-crawl if it works out the way I want it.

Question for today: What's the best thing you ever found at V.V. Boutique?

mompoet - packing a plastic tablecloth to sit on in case the ground is wet

Saturday, September 04, 2004

What Next

I finished The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster last night. It was a totally satisfying novel. Pretty dark most of the way through, but believable, thought-provoking and hard to put down. I recommend it.

Question of the day: What should I read next?

mompoet - between books which is not as bad as adrift at sea, but something like it

Friday, September 03, 2004

Last Weekend of Summer

I don't know who is more anxious about school starting, me or the kids. We have enjoyed 2 months of no homework, no karate classes or rehearsals, no lunches to pack, and if it takes an hour to find the shoes, that's okay, nobody is waiting. Evenings have been, "Supper, yeah, maybe I'll think about what to make in an hour or so, right now I'm drinking a glass of wine with the neighbours and the kids are down at the pool anyway." This has been followed by, "Sure you can watch The Simpsons and King of the Hill and Family Guy until 11pm. I'm going to read a book until 11 and I'm going to read it some more at breakfast because you're sleeping in again, right?" Weekends have been tons of fun too, with camping, family get-togethers, Theatre Under the Stars, just basically a lack of structure, emphasis on spontanaeity and a gentle slide towards nocturnal living - at least on the kids' part. I've read that the teenage brain needs extra sleep, and it prefers to get this sleep between 1am and 11am. Some schools are even experimenting with "late start day" one day a week, so the kids can sleep in and start class at 10:30 or so. Except for the fact that most teachers don't like the later day, it's been successful. On Tuesday morning, both schools open at 10, but on Wednesday it's back to business with secondary school classes beginning at 8:30 and middle school at 8:50. At least both children will be transported to school by means other than parental propulsion. Our 14 year-old will walk about 2km to the big school, while our 11 year old begins middle school, a 4km bus ride provided (for this year at least) by the school district on a big yellow school bus. This makes my husband dance with joy. He'll still have to drive kids around in the evening, but no more having to make it to the elementary school by 3pm for pickup time. Hooray!

While my husband does most of the chauffeur work, I do the study helper/enforcer role in our family. This is the dreaded part for me. There is always homework, and sometimes it is fun and interesting and the kids can do it on their own with a bit of help, but sometimes it is horrible and perplexing and they come home without understanding what it is they are supposed to do, or they leave their book at school, or they just hate the assignment, then one or the other has a meltdown. My most dreaded moment happen when two tired, grouchy kids are sitting at the dining room table bickering over who needs my help most and hurling insults at one another. But fortunately that does not happen often. One benefit of being the homework coach is that I am re-learning all of the material that needs to be studied for tests. I will be qualified to receive a Dogwood Diploma all over again in 2008. That's good, because when these guys finish their days in the public school system and move on to university or college, I'm going back too. Then they can help me with my homework. I have a degree in history from SFU, and I'm a certified teacher, but I did all that before I was 23 years old. I'd like to go back and take some more courses with my new and improved middle-aged brain. I think I'll understand them better, or at least differently.

So for our last weekend of summer-ish living, we'll have some fun. It's my best friend's 40th birthday celebration tomorrow, families invited. We'll all go to her place for supper and presents and cake. On Sunday we have to go to the PNE or we'll miss it altogether. On Monday we will do whatever we want to do. It's not like our last day on earth, but it will be our last day of summer. Maybe we'll go hiking or watch a movie or bake cookies or go for one last swim at the outdoor pool, or maybe we'll sit around the house and practise bickering (but I hope not!). Oh yeah, the kids mentioned something about buying new clothes for school at the mall. I'd better go hide now. I hate the mall. But that's a story for another day.

Question: How will you spend your end of summer days?

mompoet - calm on the outside, freaking on the inside

Thursday, September 02, 2004

More Funny

Read this article about "Tricks of the Trade," by Matthew Baldwin, whose amazing blog, Defective Yeti, got me interested in online journals in the first place.

mompoet - that's all for now, honest

Very Funny

Check this "dress up dubya and make him say stoopid things" site.

Click here for weapons of drass mis-truction.

mompoet - embarrassed to be an Ah-murrican

The Bear Came Back

Forgot to mention. The bear was roaming again last night. I didn't see it this time, but it left a gigantic heap of bear crap right outside of our back gate. I sure hope that bear stays out of trouble. Back to the woods Mr. Bear!!!

mompoet - fretting about vulnerable urban wildlife

How to Remember

My Mom had us all over for supper tonight to remember my grandma, who died a week and a half ago. There was no funeral. Grandma was buried with my grandpa in Ohio, and it just didn't make sense for us all to fly there and have a funeral. The supper at Mom and Dad's was just right. My sister flew in from out of town and my brother tried, but couldn't get anyone to cover his small town family medical practice so he couldn't come, but he's been in touch with Mom by phone, so that's okay. There were 7 of us: Mom, Dad, my sister, husband, 2 kids and me. After supper, Mom read some of the memoirs that Grandma wrote when she was about 83 years old, in a memoir-writing course in the seniors home where she lived. What a life she led, and so many changes. She was born on a farm in Ohio in 1903, where her father grew corn and wheat and hay. Anywhere they couldn't walk they took a horse and carriage. Grandma went to college and taught school for a while, then worked in a library. Then she married my grandpa and became a middle class wife. He was an insurance company executive. They lived in Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts and raised my mom. In her lifetime my grandma saw so many changes in the way people lived and saw themselves and the world. The changes during our lifetimes seem so small in comparison. So we can remember when there were no VCRs of personal what? It's nothing compared to going from kerosene lamps, water pumps and "father knows best" to life in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and on to today. I see my grandma in a new light when I think of her that way. I'm glad our family celebrated her life this evening by drawing a collective memory picture of her, and I'm glad my children were part of it. Our lives are blessed, in no small part, because of the stories lived and created and shared by all of us together.

Question for today: Who is the oldest person whose stories you know? Do those stories affect your understanding of your place in the world?

mompoet - happy and connected

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

After I am Dead

Okay, with my grandma dying and now my friend's father dying and two days in a row of memorial/remembering events I have been thinking about what will happen in the days after I die. My grandma's remains have been flown to Ohio and buried beside my grandpa's grave as was her wish. My friend's father has been cremated, and his ashes will be buried in a cemetery, with room for his loved ones to join him at a later date.

I've talked to my husband, and neither of us feels a need to buy a plot. This little townhouse of ours is sufficient real estate for now and probably ever. Also, the idea of taking up space perpetually isn't that attractive, what with the living people using up the earth so much already. Then there's the cost. We are cheapskates who don't mind spending money, but we'd rather enjoy it now with our family. So that means cremation and dispersal (??) or whatever you call throwing what's left out into the wind. Okay, maybe it's a fancy and sentimental form of littering, but it can have meaning and it is efficient.

Everyone who loves me knows I am an organ donor and I mean than in the full extent of the word. I believe in heaven and I know the minute I'm dead my body will be a husk that might have some useful parts for other people, but none for me any longer. In fact, if somebody wants to use me as a medical cadaver I don't care. I'm still working on my husband about this one. He's not crazy about the idea, but I've promised not to die first so it won't matter. So whether my parts get doled out to lots of people who need ones that still work or if Drs. New, Learning and Bumbler want to take me apart before they work on living, breathing subjects, well that's good, at least I won't be going to waste. Whatever is left, burn it down to the minimum remainder and do one or more of the following:

1) Toss it off the top of the second hill on the coaster at the PNE (I still want one last ride on the first hill).
2) Pet 100 dogs and rub a little bit on every one of their heads.
3) Drop it off the bridge between Whidbey and Fidalgo islands at Deception Pass State Park.
4) Bury it in the gardens across the street from my office, where the neighbours grown zinnias and dahlias that are near to Paradise on Earth.
5) If I die at Christmas time, bury it in the snow in front of the absolutely gaudiest Christmas-lit house you can find, then stand outside for half and hour singing at the top of your lungs and laughing.
6) Sprinkle it in the meadows up above Lightning Lakes at Manning Park (within lurching distance of a larch tree, please)
7) Dump it from a kayak into the middle of Sasamat Lake

I hope if you read this and you have recently lost a loved one that you won't take this as insulting or inconsiderate. I'm seriously thinking about how I'd like to be remembered and where I would like my physical self to end up.

mompoet - not planning on dying anytime soon, but forming a plan, like always

ps Question du jour: What do you want done with you after?

Celebrate Words

Word on the Street Vancouver is less than a month away. It's the biggest and best celebration of reading and writing you could ever imaging. Sunday, September 26, 11am-6pm in downtown Vancouver at Library Square and the surrounding area. There are books and magazines, stuff for kids, readings, workshops, stuff to buy, free stuff, info about writing programs and contests, everything! Don't miss it.

You can look at the program using the link I've set up, or go pick up a program at your local library or community centre or at Starbucks. On second thought, skip Starbucks!!! Here are some community friendly alternatives:

Il Pappagallo Cafe - Hastings at Sperling in North Burnaby
This is a family run coffee shop. It was located at Kensington Square for 8 years until Starbucks moved in and the shopping centre management ended Papagallo's lease. Pat, the owner, and his family relocated one block to the east on Hastings Street. It warms my heart that everyone followed them to their new spot. This is no wonder, it's the kind of place where they know your name and how you like your coffee and what you were chatting about last time you came in. They have awesome sandwiches, gelato in the summer and fat cheesecakes and tiramisu. Coffee is mighty fine too.

Newport Cafe - Newport Village in Port Moody
It used to be a Bagel Street Cafe but now it's Newport Cafe. Still serves bagels with cream cheese, good sandwiches and pizza. Coffee and lattes. Also, it's licensed. Good outdoor seating (you can even sneak your dog around the perimeter if you walked down) and entertainment on weeknights.

Bagel Street Cafe - Kensington Square in North Burnaby
Survived even with Starbucks spitting distance away. Good bagels and creamcheese and great coffee. Healthy and hearty sandwiches. The owners remember your favourite sandwich if you come in more than a couple times. Downside: In the summer they open the front windows so if you "eat in" when the breeze is blowing, smoke from the tables outdoors drifts into the restaurant. The owners will close the windows if you ask them.

So maybe you should pop into Starbucks if you're not near a library or community centre, grab a Word on the Street program, then walk over to the nearest heroically independent coffee shop and enjoy a coffee or lunch while you plan your visit to Word on the Street.

Question for today: Where do you like to drink coffee? If you don't like coffee, where do you like to drink something else?

mompoet - righteous and coffee-loving