Sunday, February 27, 2005

April Fool

My son's brain is growing. He is forgetful these days. Also, his already surreal sense of humour has taken a whole new dimension.

On the way home from supper at Grandma's house tonight, he told us about his idea for a really cool April Fool prank at school.

"Well, I'd get 99 sheep, you see, and I'd let them loose in the school. But first I'd paint a big number on each sheep: 1, 2, 3, 4....all the way up to 98. Then I'd skip 99 and paint 100 on the last sheep. They'd go crazy looking for number 99."

That's our boy.

Question: is it genetic? (I hope so)

mompoet - fractal-brained by choice and heredity

Public Education - Not for Sale II

Last weekend I attended a conference sponsored by the BCTF, BCGEU, CUPE, Canadian Federation of Students, Confederation of University Faculty Associations, Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, BC Federation of Labour, Canadian Teachers' Federation and the Charter for Public Education Network. It was all about commercialization and privatization of public education.

I learned about a lot of ways that for-profit companies are creating and grabbing opportunities to market to our kids in school and how school districts and the province are allowing it to happen - partly out of financial necessity, partly because they're not thinking about the implications, and partly from a conscious shift in ideology. I also learned about the ways school districts are going into business, selling education to international students both in our schools and overseas, and marketing intellectual property. It's all shady and stinky, but so much a part of the real world it's hard to know how to start to resist it.

Anyway, this article from Terminal City tells it better than I could. I did get some good ideas for Consortium 43's pre-election parent awareness campaign that we'll launch in March. I also found out more about School District Business Companies. Our own School District #43 (Coquitlam) has formed one of these, and is currently generating significant income through it and through international students in Coquitlam Schools. There are lots of reasons why this is a bad idea, and now I know how to explain them a little more clearly.

The worst part of all of it is that every one of these kinds of "business in schools" creates inequities from one school to another. Big, rich, urban districts like 43 benefit greatly. Remote districts don't get the extras, although maybe they're better off, not having their kids involuntarily subjected to quite as much advertising at school. Rich, resourceful parent communities like mine raise money for "extras" that aren't really extras like computers and software, playground equipment and even textbooks. Poorer schools have to make do with much less.

I came away from the conference wanting to vaccinate my kids against all of it, which I know I could never do effectively or completely. They are smart, and have a strong sense of social justice and skepticism about things that look too good to be true. I guess we'll just keep talking with them about the things that they see and do at school to help them understand hidden meanings etc. One cool thing, 14 year son has agreed to volunteer on the election campaign for our local NDP candidate, Karen Rockwell. About the best feeling in all of this is that the kids know they have choice and power. I know those are luxuries that not all families enjoy, and I guess it's our job to make sure our kids understand that too, that there are responsibilities that go along with it.

All of this has to have more impact than a Home Depot song. At least I hope so.

Question: how do we push back the tide?

mompoet - eye on a better world

Saturday, February 26, 2005

got him!

He did it again. I ran out with the camera. He said yes. I took two pictures. It's a cd player. I'll give him a print.

question: what???

mompoet - mission accomplished

shhhhh don't tell

I am making lasagne, but also watching out my kitchen window. My neighbour Dean is doing some work on his car (installing stereo speakers I think). I just saw him sitting in the trunk like he was taking a bath. I grabbed my camera but by the time I got to the door he was out. I hope he does it again.

question: what else is there to do while you are making lasagne?

mompoet - stealth journalist

mompoet sound journal #6

american idiot
Green Day
2004 Reprise Records

When I asked my husband for a contribution to my listening project, I was pretty specific. (That's nothing new, he would say.) I wanted something less girly than the other things I had listened to so far. Okay. Mozart isn't girly, but I was looking for a bit of testosterone jolt, I guess. Andy had lots to choose from. He has a big CD collection: alternative, country and any 80s new wave that he can find on CD. Andy loved new wave in the 80s, and still does. We have hundreds of vinyl records that we'll never get rid of, partly because of nostalgia, partly because he'll never find those artists or songs on a CD. Maybe I'll start with a history of music, my husband and me.

I met Andy when we were teenagers. He loved music, but not the kind I listened to. I blame him for convincing me that the Beatles were awful and Elton John is bad. (I have got over it.) When I met him he liked Aerosmith, Foghat, Montrose, Deep Purple and KISS. His brother worked at Kelly's record store. Between the two of them they must have bought at least 2 albums a week. They made mix tapes and had parties with big speakers and they listened in the car all the time. I spent a lot of my time with him in record stores and stereo stores and listening, listening, listening. When I finished university and moved in with him, we had a d.j. stand in our living room, with two turntables and a mixboard. He taught me to use it, which was very handy because I was teaching aerobics classes. I had some very cool workout tapes. By this time, we were both hanging out at the Luvafair and various other clubs which I forget, but it was very exciting and loud. We saw the Romantics and Duran Duran and DEVO and Depeche Mode in concert and many other bands that you now hear on the canned music at Safeway, which is very weird.

Time passed, we got a house and had babies. The d.j. booth went away to make room for a crib. Life got busy. New wave was over. Andy's brother got into the country scene. Andy started listening to country music. I lost my taste for most synthesised sound, which Andy still loves, and I just couldn't figure out country. But it was less of a factor in our lives, with the kids keeping us busy and tired, our age, budget and Andy's schedule and the cost of babysitters phasing out the night club/concert part of our life. We still have the turntables and mix board but they are not hooked up. Four big people in a small house means less time to listen to the stereo without someone complaining that they are studying, or that's gross music, turn it down. Andy listens in his car and now I'm listening in mine. Andy listens to internet radio and we play cds at the computer too. One day the kids (who usually go to bed after we do these days) will move out. Maybe then our house will be full of tunes again. For now it's just a bit here and there.

Anyway, Green Day was in his car and on his mind, so Andy suggested that I listen. Green Day is a California band that's been around since the mid-nineties: Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool. You can find out more about them on their website.

Andy says Green Day reminds him a bit of the Beatles and also the Pointed Sticks. They remind me a bit of the Ramones and a band called Rational Youth. They are noisy punk rock but not aggressively so. I think I called their sound "earnest" in an earlier post, and I'll stick by that. (I'll also stick by "adorable.") This is music that boys like to sing along to, I think. The sound is straightforward and simple, guitar, bass and drums. There are big noisy walls of sound and manic rhythms and catchy tunes that make you want to jump up and down and yell. Some are super fast and punchy. Others can only be described as "torch-osterone," slow and sentimental, but in a guy way. And parts are definitely tongue-in-cheek, like "Rock and Roll Girlfriend" in the song "Homecoming." The album is described as "a concept album." I think this means that it's not just a collection of great songs. It's all tied together with common themes, repetition of musical elements and ideas, and a cast of very good characters (whats'ername, Jimmy, Jesus of Suburbia) It's full of great lyrics like these from "She's a Rebel,"

She's the symbol
of resistance
and she's holding on my
heart like a hand grenade

And how about this from "St. Jimmy"

St. Jimmy's coming down across the alleyway
Upon the boulevard like a zip gun on parade
Light of a silhouette, he's insubordinate
Coming at you on the count of 1, 2, 3, 4
My name is Jimmy and you better not wear it out
Suicide commando that your momma talked about
King of the 40 thieves and I'm to represent
The needle in the vein of the establishment

Gosh it's fun listening. That's all! So it turns out in the middle of my listening Green Day got a bunch of grammies which I think is good, but also disappointing that I found out about them after they became popular. But then, it's not the 80s anymore.

Thank you Andy for the t-injection to my music project. Next up: something from the three albums that Vicky loaned me. (I'm putting you in the multiples column, my friend. One day I will write a thesis about it.)

Question: Who has time for a rock and roll girlfriend, anyway?

mompoet - that's my name - don't wear it out!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

spring sads

I am wallowing through this week like a beached manatee. It's the sudden bright weather. Logically, it should make me feel energized and excited, but its effect is just the opposite. I'm almost resentful that it's here so soon. Maybe it's because I'm a November baby? Who knows...but I've felt this way at the beginning of spring every year since I can remember. I can recall lolling on the couch, watching out the front window as the rest of the kids played kick the can, just too flat and discouraged to join in. I do perk up at night, but while that sun is shining, I have to fight past waves of "go lie on a chaise longue and feel sorry for yourself."

Fortunately this lasts for just a few days then I sproing back into action. It's so predictable that I am no longer alarmed by it. It's just my annual spring droop.

Question: why, why, oh brilliant sky?

mompoet - puddle of muddle in a peculiar paradox

ps - Green Day sound journal tomorrow, I promise

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The $3,000 Bed

Friday night I stayed over at the Bayshore Hotel for a BCTF Conference called "Not for Sale," about commercialization and privatization of public education. (whew....that's enough ations for a bad slam poem)

More about the conference later, now I'll just mention the bed. It was very pretty and cushy and clean and it had 5 pillows. When I got up in the morning I noticed the brochure about the bed. On the surface, it advertised all of the components available for sale. If you fell in love with the bed overnight, you could buy one for your home. Some savings available if you buy the entire package: mattress, box spring, pillows, duvet and linens for just $3,000 plus tax and shipping.


I was relieved to see that the room bill was only $168 for two of us, but still..... (local Teachers' Association paid our way) I concluded that the bed brochure was really to justify the price of the room and to make me really appreciate that I had experienced uncommon luxury. Or at least luxury beyond the reach of a commoner like me.

I spent about 5 1/2 hours in the $3,000 bed. I wonder if it was worth it. That was $545/hour. Geezz. They didn't even put a mint on the pillow. By the way, there was bottled water available in the room for $4.95 plus tax. But don't get me started.

I slept better at home Saturday night on a 15 year old mattress with bargain store sheets and pillows I inherited from my Grandma.

Question: Could thread count be indirectly proportional to social consciousness?

mompoet - rested, hydrated and well-tended for only pennies a day

Saturday, February 19, 2005

mompoet's surreal snow tube adventure

Okay, this won't be surreal if you are under 40, probably. But it was for me.

Friday was a Pro D Day. I took the day off work and drove the kids plus one 11 year old friend up to Cypress ski area to go snow tubing. We paid $14 each and got our instructions, then off we went. There's a rope tow. You get your snow tube (part of the deal) which has a long nylon web tether with a flexible ring at the end. The ring hooks over a doo-hickey that is attached to the rope tow. You lie in your tube like a baby going backwards uphill. Kids walking up the hill pass you easily. At the top you pop over a lip and and the tether unhooks as you slide backwards into a bowl of snow, still belly-up helpless. Then quickly you scramble out of the tube and grab the tube and get out of the way because your 14 year old is coming next and if anything he's less coordinated than you and he's big and heavy.

So there are 4 runs from which to choose. It's a gorgeous sunny day with a great view of the water and the city. The runs are long snow chutes. They must have made the snow by machine or scraped it up from all around because outside of the tubing area it's pretty brown and green. Each chute is really long and really steep, about 3 meters wide, with banked edges and a banked slow-down zone at the bottom and some of that orange net held up by bamboo sticks that provides a visual barrier that you could easily crash right through.

There are staff people at the bottom and top of the rope tow and at the top of each chute. The ones at the top of the chutes remind you of the department store elves in A Christmas Story who pitch children down a scary slide after they have their scary encounter with the boozy Santa.

So you pick one of the chutes because your daughter says it's the slowest and it's boring. Sounds like a good place to start. You sit in the tube at the top while some 50 pound kids goes flinging down the chute ahead of you, spinning like a top and screaming and banging back and forth against the banked sides like a pinball. You are helpless again, legs akimbo, hands fishing for the nylon grips on the side of the tube. I dunno about this, I dunno.

"You want a big spin?" the evil elf asks with a sadistic grin. "Not unless you want to clean technicolour spew off the tubing run," you warn. "Okay, how about just a little spin then?" This elf cannot be trusted. "Straight down please. I barf on the tilt-a-whirl." Well, that's an exaggeration, but you want to be sure that you will not get the pinball treatment. So the elf grabs you by the tongues of your boots and runs down the hill backwards, pulling you along for about 10 meters, whooping, and you have a moment to think that's kind of an intimate touch in a weird snow elf kind of way then the elf gives some kind of elf kee-ai and flips around to let you go straight down the hill BACKWARDS bumpitty skitter way too fast and you go up the banked end and your toes are around front and they graze the orange net stuff and you think you might die then you stop and get up and stagger off so the next person can go down and you say.

"That was fun. I want to do it again."

Question: I wonder if they have a training program for evil elves?

mompoet - wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Green Day! (preview sound journal)

I am listening to Green Day "American Idiot" now as part of my listening project. It's Andy's choice. (For the record, he loaned me just 1 CD although I know it's not actually borrowing when it's my husband's stuff because it's mine too.) He wasn't sure if I'd like it because it's pretty loud and punky. I said I was game. Daughter said "You're gonna listen to that? It's rock." Like it was some obvious oxymoron. When I asked, she said she likes it but didn't think I would. When I found out that Megan's brother likes it then I felt sure that it would be good.

So I'll write my review later in the weekend but I LIKE IT! When I first listened to it I thought, "Oh, it's like the Ramones." Then I listened and I think it's adorable. They are so gosh-darned earnest. I have played it about a dozen times in the car, which daughter tells me "leaks sound." When I drive up to pick her up and I'm listening to music "you can hear it really loud outside the car, mom." This is embarassing to her.

So far I'm liking everything. And I don't just like Green Day because it's Andy's choice. There's lots he loves that I don't like. More about that in my review. He knows. He picked well. I was hoping for something less girly, a little more hard-driving. This is fun listening.

Question: Would it be more embarassing if my car leaked opera?

mompoet - leaking lightly down the lane

Report Card

The study plan worked. The student worked harder:

CAPP (Career and Personal Planning) A
Science B
Social Studies B
Multi-Media B
All Gs for effort

I congratulated him. He said, "Mom, I'm on a winning streak." I said "You sure are. These marks are great." He said, "No, I mean I'm 57-8 in NBA Basketball on Nintendo right now."


Question: none. no essay, no multiple choice, no scantron

mompoet - breathing out

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Tourette's Dinosaur Handpuppet,

a jack-o-lantern wielding poet, a vampire wannabe, a man juggling as protection against marriage, a washtub-bass playing genius, several spontaneous poem-bustions, an accordion-playing bus-driver, a comic book come-to-life, a relaxation exercise gone horribly wrong, a beer-hall anthem to sexual inadequacy, a man with a television on his head, an airplane-reading janitor, a long explanation of short poetry, several moments of unexplainable but totally authentic beauty.

If you would pay $10 to see just one of these things, you will be pleased to know that you can see all of them (or some variations) at an astonishing performance of spoken word, music and imagination unleashed. It's called "That's my Brain and You're Killing it." Here's an ad more info...It's on at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. You have to see it to believe it.

M-m-m-m-m-ikaela and I saw it tonight. We laughed our heads off, and we were very quiet in parts. It was good.

Question: What was that about anyway?

mompoet: full up, yup

Monday, February 14, 2005

Welcome to

my nightmares (in random order)

  • the telephone is broken
  • there are no working toilets
  • I have to kill something/someone. I am not good at it.
  • I have to kill something/someone. I am good at it.
  • I missed the bus.
  • The archaeology exam is in five minutes.
  • I am going to have a baby.
That's all.

Question: archetypes or paranoid delusions?

mompoet - turning inside-out like a sea cucumber

A Sweetheart for sure

Yesterday I met my youngest niece, Sara. My brother and his wife brought the kids down from Prince Rupert for a visit. Grandma and Grandpa have make the trip to Rupert a couple of times since she was born, but this was my first meeting with this little one.

We met for dim sum lunch. She sat with me the whole time. Played with the menu and my watch, drank a bottle. She is so tiny and warm and sweet. She has black hair and big, serious, dark-brown eyes. Her hands are unbelievably small. After lunch we went to the aquarium. Our two kids showed their 5 year old and 3 year old cousin the sharks and the whales. I lifted my 5 year old nephew up high so he could get a good view of the Anaconda. My sister in law laughed, "I bet it's a long time since you could lift your children!" She's right. It was really good, spending the afternoon together. Babies are like nothing else. Having another baby of my own is one of my actual nightmares, but enjoying somebody else's....ahhhhhhh.

When we got home, first my daughter then my son insisted on a big, long cuddle. Sitting on the couch with an adolescent child snuggled in my arms is very different from holding a little baby, but every bit as nice - probably more so. I hope my own kids will continue to need to be babied from time to time. I know I will blink my eyes and they'll be fully grown with babies of their own.

Such sweetness for a Valentine weekend. Mmmmmm

Question: none today

mompoet - blissing out on babies

Sunday, February 13, 2005

mompoet sound jounal #5

Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu
Mozart: Sonata, K. 448 (D Major)
1985 CBS
***** (out of 5)

My Mom and Dad are classical music enthusiasts. When I asked them for help with my listening project they loaned me a Sikora's bag stuffed with about 10 CDs. At some point I will do an analysis of who lends me one CD and who gives me a bagfull from which to choose, but that's another journal entry.

When I pressed them to choose one, they identified the Mozart Sonata. Dad told me Mom chose it. Mom told me, "it seems accessible, catchy melody and enthusiastic rhythm." (For a moment I flashed back to American Bandstand - "It's got a good beat. I can dance to it.")

Then I dilly-dallied about listening to it. But if you've been following my journal you know that. It's not like I've never listened to classical music before. I have a few CDs and I've even attended a concert or two when I was younger (can't remember what they were). From time to time at home I listen to Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and I like Mozart's The Magic Flute. Usually I choose it when I want to be calmed down, but with an activated brain. I was feeling guilty though, listening to it while I drove, or washed dishes or studied. My Dad sits and listens intently to music, so I thought that's what you are supposed to do. Mom helped with this. She told me that she daydreams while she listens, and encouraged me to just live with the music and listen while I did other things.

Both of my parents are musical and music loving. Mom was introduced to classical by her roommate at college.

Then I met Dad and he courted me by bringing records we could listen to on dates and buying me records as birthday and Christmas gifts. I also took voice lessons and sang classical songs, although I didn't really appreciate them at the time.

My Dad (who tells me that my existence is partly owing to a conversation that he had with my mother about Brahms) was introduced to classical music as a child. His mother, father and stepfather all listened to it. Dad played the piano.

Mom and Dad's favourites include Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. As they read this, they are probably laughing at how I have slaughtered their list and put the names all out of order. Well, maybe not, but I bet I will receive an addendum to this list. They attend Friends of Chamber Music concerts regularly and enjoy their "wall of music" (more cds than I have seen in any home at any time in my life).

As I listened to the Mozart Sonata (in my car mostly) I was excited at first by its energy. Mom mentioned "the exuberance of Mozart." I heard that right away. The piece has three movements - first and third are fast and made me think about running. Middle is slower and more subtle but mostly bright-sounding. I enjoyed listening to two pianos - so many notes all together. Dad told me about the pianists:

Perahia is probably the technically most proficient pianist alive today. Technique is very important to me, mainly because poor technique gets in the way of enjoying the music, just as sufficiently low fidelity gets in the way of listening to music reproduced electronically. Perahia uses his tremendous technical ability to dig into the music and present it in a way that one can see the different layers of it at any one time, and can also sense its structure over periods of time, very well...Lupu is a very good pianist. I would put him a notch or so below Perahia.

Mom encouraged me to take my time learning to listen, and to just enjoy the music immediately. Knowing how to find the layers that Dad talks about takes time and experience.

Different types of classical music affect me in different ways, but all of them have beauty of one sort or another, a great deal of organization (some of which I don't perceive until years after I first hear a work), and just a feeling of "rightness."

On about the fourth listen, I could pick out one theme that repeated through the piece. I also noticed that the third movement began with the same notes as the first, but played differently. The CD player came in handy. I toggled back and forth between them to be sure. I guess if I keep listening to classical music I will become more perceptive and intuitive about such things, and this will become part of my delight in listening. As it was I decided to simply enjoy where the music took me. By the end of the week I can hear bits of it in my head when I am quiet. That's nice.

I will definitely listen to some more Mozart, and some Bach, which Dad says I will like also. I have the Bach Orchestral Suites 1-3, which he recommends as the next step. Mom suggests Haydn as "crisp, humorous and bouncy." Sounds good to me!

Thank you Mom and Dad for leading me gently to Mozart and for putting up with my skittishness. I think there's a place in the music part of my brain for some more classical listening.

Question: did I look up "rondo?"

mompoet - A musical composition built on the alternation of a principal recurring theme and contrasting episodes (which I will look for when I listen to final movements of symphonies and sonatas)

Next Listening Project: Andy loans me Green Day

Hot date in family-land

House re-assembly 2/3 done on Saturday afternoon we quit, dressed casual and headed out for supper. Left the kids at home with fajitas for supper and television territory rights all set up.

Supper was very nice. We went back to Rosa's which is turning out to be a nice treasure, close to home, friendly and familiar. As coffee was served, Andy's cell phone rang. It was our daughter, in a panic of tears. Good news: she was not fighting with her brother. Bad news: she had just realised she left her 100+ study cards for the biology test in her locker at school. Now she had to start over in preparation for a test on Monday.

Andy and I agreed to revise our plans to go to a movie after supper. We picked up a movie at the video store and came home. I helped with the studying for an hour (by the time we got home, daughter had miraculously re-written her study cards, condensing them down to about 50 with the same information as before). Then we watched a movie at home.

That's life with teenagers. They stay up when you go to bed, fight over televisions, and need you more than you'd think. Now if somebody would just help me get this pseudopod off of my gymnosperm.

The movie was the Bourne Identity (hadn't seen it yet). Next weekend we'll watch the Bourne Supremacy. I predict the third one will be called the Bourne Redundancy.

Question: How was your Saturday before Valentine's?

mompoet - Born lucky, blessed with people who need me and each other and can change plans when needed

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Everyone return to your original position

Today's the day we put the house back together.

Finally, everyone is well, except for a bit of coughing. My husband has finished the drywall repairs in the corner of the kitchen. I put up a coat of primer last night and will finish the painting today. It has been funny having one unfinished corner in an otherwise fresh-painted kitchen - kind of like an artist was drawing our kitchen and stopped working at that corner. Two coats of cream of pumpkin should be up by mid-afternoon if I finish fooling around at the computer and open the paint can soon.

Andy bought a new storage cupboard for the corner of the kitchen. This houses our recycling system, my giant bins of flour and potatoes, the printer/scanner, assorted paper and computer stuff and our cleaning supplies. For 3 weeks all of these things have been distributed around the house. Some of it has just been missing for three weeks.

He also bought a new computer desk, so the kitchen computer can have a proper setup. Finally, and to his intense joy and jubilation, he bought a flat screen monitor for the kitchen computer. To be honest, I think the monitor is what got him motivated to finish the project. He's very excited to see everything in place. The monitor is hooked up to our temporary living room computer station. It's as wide as a prairie sky, and very bright and clear.

Once I've finished painting there are several more tasks: assemble the new furniture, run the computer wires through the kitchen (we have some neat conduit that should hide it pretty nicely), move in the new furniture, put the fridge back into the kitchen and wire in computers. That's Andy's job. I think he gets to take the pieces of the old storage cupboard to the dump too (oh joy!) I will have the fun job of finding all of our stuff and returning each piece to its storage/hiding spot. There's also about 3 weeks of dusting/vacuuming to do. We have a bit of drywall dust and a lot of dog hair settled all around the place.

The trick will be to disengage from the process in time to go out for pre-valentine supper. Oh yeah, also there's tap dance lessons and a promise to take daughter and her friend to the animal shelter to fulfill part of their "Global Citizens Project" plan to volunteer dog-walk this afternoon.

Sometime tonight or tomorrow most of the stuff will be back where it belongs. I will have a quiet place to sit and play with the internet and/or write something at the computer. We will eat Sunday supper at our dining room table all at the same time. Four big people will migrate out and repopulate corners of the house that have been abandoned due to inconvenience. A reasonable level of disorder will be restored.

We are lucky to live in such a great place, and to have the resources and ability to do projects like this. However, I will be very happy when this is really finished.

Question: Why is it always a bit more than we thought?

mompoet - remembering that we also have to put the baseboard in the dining room sometime, but that can wait until another weekend.

Friday, February 11, 2005

You can comment!

Up until now, you have to have a blogger account to be allowed to post a comment. Now anyone can comment.

Just click on the link at the bottom that says "0 comments" (or whatever number). You can type your comment into the box. Then select the button that says "other" (you'll also have to type in your name - or a pseudonym) or on "anonymous" if you prefer. Now click on "Publish" and your comment will show up!

I hope you will comment. Well, maybe not on this, but on some of my actual posts.

Question: Why not try it?

mompoet - pondering in the vast emptiness

Mozart vs Mudslingers

I have been feeling increasingly restless and agitated in the past few weeks. Like something big and bad is around the corner. Amorphous dread. I think I've finally figured it out.

It's the Provincial Election.

I have enjoyed a snoozy break from school funds advocacy since the early Fall. I met with my partners in Consortium 43 in October, and we agreed that our next big focus would be the election. After that we were notified about the Finance Committee's November round of consultations so we sent a submission, but apart from that we have been pretty quiet. It has been nice. Not just less work, but a separation from the ugliness of politics. I have not even written a single letter to the editor since early fall.

Instead I have focussed mostly on positive activities that have tangible good outcomes - supporting the kids in their new schools, filling in at home when Andy's work got really busy in the late fall, teaching Sunday School, helping at our daughter's show, working with Poetry House, doing some writing...All of these things involve finding more good and putting it on top of good that is already there. Politics seems to focus the other way. You are working towards something better, but the emphasis is on how bad it is now, and how awful your opponents views are. It's exhausting and counter-intuitive for "cup half full" me. Don't get me wrong. I can be very effective in finding fault and demonstrating need for change. In fact, I don't like how good I am at it.

I'm proud that Consortium 43 has adopted a "no mud" approach. We've had a fair bit slung at us but we have refused to participate. Still, our political stand begins with the assertion that things are not good, and they need to be fixed. Seeking evidence to validate that point of view, and allies who are also convinced that things are bad and need fixing is exhausting and discouraging work.

Next weekend Gwenda and I will attend the BCTF "Not for Sale" funding conference as representatives of C43. It will be the beginning of the election campaign for me, and of stepping back into politics. I can't not do it, but I'm not looking forward to some of its side effects and implications.

I will hope to meet some good people with optimistic outlooks. I will hope to share the feeling with others that something can be done. I will look at what's in the cup, celebrate it and work to build it up. Maybe Mozart will help. No words. That may be a blessing in the weeks to come.

Question: Is this it?

mompoet - clenched

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I like the dictionary...

allegro adj, adv : brisk, sprightly, cheerful, musical direction fast; faster than allegretto but not so fast as presto

alliaceous adj : 1. of a group of strong-smelling bulb plants of the lily family, including onion, garlic etc. 2. having the smell or taste of onions or garlic

allantois n. a type of fountain pen, first made in the 17th century, using a section of goat's intestine as a receptacle for ink

allometry n. the study and measurement of the relative growth of a part of an organism in comparison with the whole

And did you know that allegorization is an actual word? It's in the dictionary...

Beware of allegorization. Your reality may one day be reduced to symbolism then you will disappear.

Question: which of the words listed above has a false meaning?

mompoet - just playing a little reverse balderdash

Many more than seven

My father (who is a musician and a mathematician) writes in response to my "alphabet with 7 letters":

No, 12. Don't forget the sharps and flats. And when you move up or
down one or more octaves, the key is called the same, but it's really
different. One octave is a frequency change by a factor of 2. Two
notes differing by an octave sound similar, but not the same. So
there are a lot more than even 12 letters in this "alphabet".

Another difference: In words, you get one letter at a time in
sequence. In music, several different notes can occur simultaneously.

Good luck! And remember, just *listen* to it. Don't try to
*interpret* it or *translate* it. At least not at first. Music's
meaning is not verbal or visual. It's something like mathematical,
but not the same.

So there it is...More complicated. But also I'm not to feel like I have to perform surgery or parse it or be some wonder music brain to listen to classical music. I am listening. I like it very much. Sat and ate a bagel and some papapaya on the first listen. (Michele, you will laugh. I had the dictionary on my lap - had to look up "allegro" "andante" and "molto allegro." Ah, my security blanket of words.)

First impression: My emotional response to Mozart is of the same nature as my response to the other music I've listened to. I'm tuning in to recognizable themes, listening already for the parts that thrill me, going on little mental vacations that aren't the intention of the music, but always seem to happen.

Decision: I will live with this music for a few days, like I have lived with the other music in this project. I'll write about it on the weekend.

Thank you Dad, Mom, Michele and Vicky. Mozart is good. I am worthy. The dog just finished my papaya.

question: how many intelligences and do they all overlap?

mompoet - definitely molto allegro

Monday, February 07, 2005

the dare

risk it
ecstatic electron spit spit
running with scissors to unsheathed wire
dare you dare you double dragon dare you
to make the leaps and cuts and take the shock
shake your bold wild body
hot and hot and icy cold
you are not that kind of woman
you are not
you are
you are
spit spit crackle turn
you dare
you are

take it
attract crackle magnet zap zap
poke pins in outlets
pursue the surge
will you will you it can't kill you
still you may never be the same
wake up
take a stand
abandon ozone fog
shake your brain
snap shattered matter to new force field shapings
you are that kind of woman
you are
you are
snap bang break raise
never never
the same


mompoet: vibrating

Michele says

I can't listen to Mozart because it has no words, and the words are more important to me than the music. She says if I was a musician I would listen to the music, but I am a poet so I listen to the words.

Michele is wise.

Vicky says that if she can do it, I can do it. She says Mozart is made for me. My brain will thank me for it.

She is wise too.

Tomorrow morning. 5:45am. Mozart. Don't worry, 5:45 is my time of day. Maybe it is Mozart's time of day too.

Question: .....?

mompoet: preparing to listen to an alphabet with 7 letters

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Feed my brain

Hungry hungry hungry for more stuff for my brain. It's been gorging this weekend but still hungry.....

Met up with my friend Vic for coffee on Friday. We went to school from grade 7 through grade 12. Now her daughter and my daughter are in the same class at school and we've been emailing, so finally we got together. We picked up our conversation like it was yesterday we last talked. Vic loaned me a couple of novels and some CDs for my sound journal project, and gave me a belated birthday present, and actual music journal to record my listening in a book. I'm glad we got together again after all that time. We'll see each other soon so I can bring the music and books back to her. I'm still thinking about the things we discussed. I'm glad to renew our friendship.

I am conscious of my procrastination about listening to Mozart and writing a sound journal entry about it. I am determined to get over whatever is blocking me from doing it. My parents, who loaned me the cd, have been encouraging but not pushy. I should get over it and listen to it. My brain is whining but I am going to tell is to buck up and give it a try.

Saw Humble Boy at the Playhouse on Saturday. It's loosely based on Hamlet, but also includes astrophysics and bees, both of which interest me. It was funny and cutting and real. I'm still thinking about it. Now I want to read A Recipe for Bees by Gail Anderson-Dargatz all over again - my favourite novel of all time.

Watched The Village on dvd Saturday night. Good movie except for the ending, which I will not reveal in case you haven't seen it yet. I loved Signs and Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, so I guess M Night Shyamalan can have one clunker and I'll still want to watch his movies. Next one will be better, I hope.

AGM at the church this morning after Sunday Service. We engaged in a long coversation about commitment to Mission and Service specifically with regard to First United Church, which we support with money and food and other stuff. If you have never been to First United Church, a visit there is a real eye-opener. They're more than a church. People sleep there in the daytime, where it's safe and warm. They have meals and haircuts and foot care and counselling, and income tax prep, and a place to pick up mail. A lot of people who help there once came to the church for help. Our little St. Andrew's in Port Moody is struggling financially, like a lot of neighbourhood churches. In the meeting we discussed how to maintain a steady financial commitment to First United even when our operating funds are dwindling.

Went to Pandora's Collective's Path to Poetry Workshop at the Port Moody Arts Centre this afternoon. It was good. Bonnie and Sita are insightful and encouraging. Everyone seemed to be comfortable, and participated well. They'll run a 4-week series now, I hope, depending on registration. I loved listening to the other poets' interpretations of the exercises. I'm thinking about some of them and smiling, and also about Bonnie and Sita and the good they do. We're lucky to have them out here in Port Moody.

So I'm drinking and eating food for thought continuously except when I'm sleeping, and even then I'm dreaming. My friend Jeanette (who is a nurse) came to me in a dream and said, "Sue, you need new glasses." So I guess I'll make an appointment with the eye doctor.

Time for supper and give the brain a break. I want to read watch listen and think some more, but I think I can stop for a little while.

Question: Does hunter-gatherer ancestry affect intellectual curiosity?

Mompoet - prowling for cognitive input

Saturday, February 05, 2005

How not to be a lemming

Here's how.

Question: Where is my bla bla?

mompoet - uncharacteristically taciturn

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Aw shucks...

7:08am. The phone rings. It's my neighbour Kirsi. "Susan, look out the window." The sky has cracked open at the horizon all bright coral, like looking into a fissure on the side of a volcano. "I just had to tell someone. I knew you'd be awake."

Thanks, friend.

question: good friend, great moment - no question

mompoet - watching the volcano

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Dog Question

Does anyone know how to get the dog to stop eating kleenex? While we are sleeping and while we are at work/school, she noses throught the wastebaskets and deposits tissues on the floor. She eats some of them and leaves the rest all over the floor.

Short of closing the bathroom and bedroom doors, is there anything we can do?

question: do you know how I know she eats some?

mompoet - owner of an odour-eating canine

Pandora's Contest

TOOT TOOOT! (that's my own horn). I placed second in the Pandora's Collective "Hibernating with Words" Poetry Contest. Lookee...

I also came in third at the Vancouver Poetry Slam on Monday. Pretty sweet. I performed the sunglasses poem that got HM in the Pandora's contest.

Question: too pooped to query

mompoet - encouraged mightily