Sunday, July 31, 2005

painted out

If you ever need the inside of your sauna painted while it is operating, or maybe if they need a fresh coat on the foyer of hell, I think I can do it. Three days of toiling in what must be the hottest room in anybody's house have finally paid off in a very cool looking (but hot-feeling) bedroom.

After our son helped with the prep work I decided to paint solo. It would have been a better mom thing to work together with him, but he was stressed to the gills just looking at it, and very grateful when I offered him the job of chief cook and bottle washer in return for me being the painter. He wants a fresh room and he'll love the results, but participating in the transition is excruciating for him so why make him suffer? Remember, this is the kid who decided not to change the colour at Christmas because it would be too stressful. Change is hard for him, so I think that adapting the task was the right thing to do.

Anyway, despite the heat, I love painting. It's kind of like swimming though. You stand around at the edge of it thinking Ugggg but once you start it's great. There's a rhythm to the work and the radio to listen to, and the satisfaction of saying goodbye to the old colour and making a big transformation in a short time. It's good for the shoulders too. Remember The Karate Kid and how he conditioned by staining the fence. Painting is a workout if you work at it.

Tomorrow we should be able to move the furniture back in, stick the light switches and outlet plates back on, re-attach the doorknob and see what the new bedroom really looks like. It's also our last day of vacation. Eighteen days is goooood.

question: what will I paint next?

mompoet - wondering if a room gets smaller everytime you paint it....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

life imitates art imitates cooking...

I think it began when I took the kids to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've been obsessing about the scene where Violet Beauregard turns into a blueberry after chewing blueberry pie chewing gum. Now everywhere I blue blue blue blue

question: blue?

mompoet - luckily I never chew gum

Late July Bounty

Andy and I picked 34 pounds of blueberries on Friday morning. We got out to the farm at 8am. Lots of people were there already. It was cool and damp and we heard roosters and horses and smelled cows. It took us 3 hours to fill 8 buckets. We go to a place in PoCo called Granny Franny's. It's run by a guy who is meticulous about his field and plants and watchful of u-pickers. The berries are spectacular. Here's my favourite way to enjoy them.

question: what's your favourite food of summer?

mompoet - baking muffins

Thursday, July 28, 2005

paint chips

Son and I washed and prepped his bedroom walls today. We're in the midst of patching, and should start painting tomorrow morning. I picked up the paint this afternoon. Going to the paint store is funny. I like to watch what colours people choose and try to imagine the room they will be living in with that colour. There was a fairly stressed-out young couple desperately trying to match a creamy beige that they last had mixed in 2000. Not being appreciative of beige I thought it was funny - who cares? Beige is beige! But if it's your beige in your beige room, then it is important. I bet they have a white couch and a brown dog. Then there was this older guy who was painting the wood trim on his old trailer forest green. He had the paint stir stick from the last time he painted it, but not the old can of paint for the code, and he wanted just the same colour. They have a scanner at the paint store that can duplicate colours. It turned out to be a near-perfect match. Then there was the sweet looking lady who had 6 gallons, one each of a sherbert pastel - pink, green, yellow, purple, blue and a pale grey. I wonder if she's decorating an ice cream store, or maybe painting a mural with happy elephants? For our son, I got tinted primer (I do love primer!) and deep blue for the walls. Andy convinced me that the ceiling still looks great from the last time we did it so we'll just leave it. As I was leaving I caught the beige couple looking askance at my 2 gallons of midnight blue. I smiled at them and thought, "come over to the dark side!" Paint is just paint. It's the easiest and cheapest way to make a dramatic change in your living environment, like dying your hair or buying a new sweater can make a change to your personal appearance. I like it!

question: What do you think the pastel 6 pack is all about?

mompoet - not beige!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

summer vacation book review

I read three novels at the lake:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

How I Spent My Summer Holidays by WO Mitchell

Wally by Greg Kramer

All three are coming-of-age "boy stories." All three were great and taken close together with some overlaps, very satisfying. They were also great vacation reads, taking me to places where I've never been.

Wally is set in Wales, London and Vancouver, all in theatres. It's about a guy who feels hurt from boyhood and spends his life chasing down something he can't even figure out what it is. The main character is pessimistic but loveable, and the novel is compelling because the story keeps taking him to the brink of happiness then veering off into worlds of self-destruction. Of the three, this was the most frustrating for me because I couldn't see eye-to-eye with any of the characters, but I was hooked by their complex and authentic personalities and predicaments and the world of the theatre in which the story is set.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation is set in a prairie town in the summer of 1924. It's every bit as sensational as Wally, in turns hilarious and heart-rending. I loved the characters and the portrayal of small town social life and morality. The main character, 12-year old Hugh is fabulous and real, and there are all kinds of interesting other people like King Motherwell, a man from the town who convinces Hugh and his friend Peter to help in shelter an escaped mental patient in a cave that the boys dig out on the prairie. There's one great scene where "Blind Jesus," another mental patient, wanders into a revival meeting baptism in the river. It's beautiful.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is set in Hogwarts. JK Rowling got this one right, although I half-wish she'd write shorter sentences, only because I have read every one of the Harry Potter books aloud more than once (well, I just finished my first out-loud of the sixth) and it's exhausting to stay on top of the sentences and read them well. That small criticism aside, the second-to-last book in the series balances humour and drama beautifully and carries Harry, Ron and Hermione along as they grow into young adult wizards. The continuing conflict with Voldemort and the Death Eaters is very nicely developed and the promised death of a major character is shocky-chokey just as I thought it would be. JK Rowling has given up on trying to continuously recap what's happened in past volumes, which helps keep the pace brisk and prevented the book from being 1,000 pages long, no doubt. Oh yeah, there's lots of kissing, but that's appropriate as the wizards are in the thick of puberty. My only complaint is not enough Hagrid. He's been my favourite character since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. If I got a tattoo, it would be of Hagrid.

I didn't set out to read three boy books but I did. I'm glad I did. I recommend them all. Don't read Wally if you're already depressed unless you want confirmation that you should be. Get ready to stay up late if you read Summer Holidays or Half Blood Prince. You won't want to put them down.

Now I'm reading Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey. We're passing it around the neighbourhood and it's my turn. I'm gobbling it up.

question: is binge-reading the best thing about summer vacation?

mompoet - turning pages


New Weebl and Bob 'toon out now.

question: why doesn't my daughter think this is funny?

mompoet - dough brain


Nine slept in our basement last night. I think "slept" might be an exaggeration. The nice thing about 11-12 year olds though is they are old enough to sleep in. They all quieted around 4am and woke at 10. After eating prodigious quantities of fruit, pancakes and bacon they are now singing in the basement as they stuff their sleeping bags and sort out their belongings for an 11am pickup. We're keeping 3 guests until mid-afternoon. Maybe they'll go swimming, maybe they'll make a movie. Andy is going to the beach. Son and I will prepare his bedroom for painting. In this heat, his ceiling is going to suck up a gallon or two of paint, but that's okay. It needs it! The dog will be glad when some of these extra girls go home.

Gotta go, the minivan caravan is arriving to retrieve girls.

question: what?

mompoet - bye

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

picture picture?

Blogger says it has an easier way to post pictures. This is a test. Only a test.

This is a picture of me washing dishes at camp. I think we ate spaghetti. The person who washes the spaghetti dishes is entitled to many privileges and special treatment because spaghetti dishes are very yucky!

When we camp, we wash dishes just once a day, usually in the evening. That's a tree beside me, watching to make sure that I am doing a good job. Out of the picture are Andy, enjoying a beer by the lake, Alex, wading on the shore in the gathering darkness, and Fiona, the photographer.

So I guess you'll actually be seeing me from time to time in the blog. Hope you can stand it.

question: can you see it?

mompoet - imagining images and deciding what to share

Monday, July 25, 2005

my beach

After lunchtime our back deck is cool and breezy. We have flowers spilling out of pots and planters, thanks to Andy's green thumb (he purchases, plants and feeds - I water). We have tall chairs out there so you can see over the rail to the trees and the inlet down below. I finished reading Harry Potter to our son out on the deck last night. Today I have spent a couple of lazy hours with newspapers and magazines. We have meals out there too, and sit out in the evening with drinks (we have little lights that look like insects for a festive atmosphere). Mostly I like to put my feet up and read. I loved the week at the lake, but this is my beach. Home sweet deck...ahhhhh.

question: where is your beach?

mompoet - getting the hang of holidaying and still a week to go

Happy birthday dear 12-year old

Our daughter is 12 today. She has planned her own birthday (takes after her mom, I think). I have instructions NOT to clean the house. We have pie instead of cake, and we're going to the Spaghetti Factory for supper. That's the "family birthday." Tomorrow is the "friends birthday." Ten girls, lazer tag and a sleepover. There will also be a water balloon fight, makeovers and decorating flip flops with foam shapes and fake flowers. I let her experiment on mine and they are gorgeous and over-the-top. Like Carmen Miranda only on my feet.

When I was her age we called them "thongs." But that means something else now. I keep threatening to walk into Shoppers or London Drugs with her and say "My daughter and I need some THONGS! Where d'ya keep 'em?" That would cause her to die of embarassment. She also told me I am not allowed to shave my head, not that I was planning too, but sometimes I threaten to, just to make her nervous. I also have this jean jacket from 1986 that I put on and pretend I'm going to wear when we're heading to the mall. It has a million zippers and big lapels, shoulder pads. Very retro but totally unacceptable. Maybe I'll wrap it up and give it to her tonight as a birthday present. She'll either put it in her movie-making costume box or burn it.

Congratulations daughter! You have made it to the thick of adolescence. Congratulations to us for making it too! We should all shave our heads, dress in bad clothes and go talk loudly in outdated and inappropriate slang at the Spaghetti Factory. Yeahhh!

question: why didn't anyone tell me it would be this much fun?

mompoet - walking the line between individual and non-embarassing parent

Sunday, July 24, 2005

do it yourself dog psychology - part 2

We are new dog people. Soleil, our first canine ever, has lived with us for 2 1/2 years now, and we're figuring it out one step at a time.

Lately she's been peeing in the living room. It's digusting! Our new carpet does not show a dark spot when it's wet so sploosh! you just step in it. At least when she pees downstairs we can see it, and the carpet in the basement is in 12 inch square tiles that we can pick up and put into the laundry tub to wash. In general, she waits to pee outside but if she is sick or upset she sometimes pees in the house. It's very smelly and wet. Yuk.

We have a carpet-washing machine, which I have used a couple of times in recent weeks to attack the spot where she has gone, but I think she can still smell it (truth is I can still smell it and I'm not even a good smeller) and once a dog has a pee spot, she goes back to it. So how do we fix this? We never see her doing it, so she knows she's not supposed to. She's smart enough to wait until we're not looking. We don't want to yell at her because that is mean and it would just scare her and it would sound like, "BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA SOLEIL! BLA BLA BLA etc."

So I'm going with the same approach as the dog pajamas, which, by the way, have succeeded in curtailing her rump de-forestation habit very well. The living room rug has been washed again and liberally doused with "Nature's Miracle" smell-remover as recommended by the vet. The living room has been barricaded with chairs except when we are supervising the dog directly, so that the washed and treated rug can dry completely. When it is completely dry, I'm going to put down a plastic cover with towels over it. Hopefully this will prevent her from finding any lingering scent-trail that might induce repeat peeing. If she pees there, it'll be on the towels which will be easy to clean up, and the plastic will protect the rug. I'm hoping/predicting that a month with no access to the peeing field will break the cycle. We'll see.

question: why are dogs so doggone doggy?

mompoet - climbing over chairs to get to the couch

Cuke, I am your Father

My uncle in Ithica sent this too me. If you like Star Wars or vegetables or if you are concerned about the future of the planet, you'll like it.

question: ever made a salad with a light sabre?

mompoet - I yam what I yam

Saturday, July 23, 2005

the world is a weebl

When I was just a little to old to want one, there were these toys called Weebls. They were little egg-shaped people with weights at their fat-ends. There was a song on the TV ads: Waddaya love about a Weebl? Weebls wobble, but they don't fall down.

The world has been weebly these past 48 hours or so...

Getting home from vacation was great. We had a wonderful, relaxing, sunny time. Daughter had an awesome time at Grandma and Grandpa's (my mom and dad's). They got to know her in a new way, keeping her for 4 nights as they did, and she them. This is very good. I hope that our son has the same opportunity some time soon. The kids and the Gr's experience each other differently without the parental layer mediating. Of course, when daughter came home to our house, she opened up her pressure valve and gave her beloved parents all of the tension she had saved up being nice at Gr and Gr's house. But that was to be expected. Also, she's ramping up for a pretty ambitious birthday party - lazer tag and sleepover for ten, with a craft and food and fitting 10 girls in our small rumpus room for the night. I finally told her I was feeling pressured by her preparations and she has calmed it down. She's pretty good stuff, and growing up. She'll be 12 on Monday. (I know I was every bit as intense and un-buffered at that age). I have to remember that 12 year olds don't always remember that moms have feelings, but they respond well if I say it directly.

We came home from vacation a day early to see our daughter's performance of Grease - the culmination of her two week drama camp. The show was on Friday afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa came too. But Grandpa didn't make it in to the theatre as the play was starting (having dropped of Grandma and gone to find a parking spot). We were called outside just as the show was about to begin to find the paramedics attending and my dad on the ground. It seems like he parked the car then blacked out on the way into the theatre. Mom and I went to Emergency with him. They kept him there for about 10 hours and ran all kinds of tests and found nothing. He couldn't remember anything much about anything for about an hour but most of it came back after that. Today he seems back to normal but they'll follow up. I was scared when I saw my dad lying on the lawn with blood on his face and clearly confused and disoriented. I wanted to protect my mom, who was really scared. I'm so grateful that he's well now but we want to know what it was and how we can make sure it doesn't happen again. The upside is that the firehall/ambulance depot is right next door to the civic complex where the theatre is, and Eagle Ridge Hospital is across the street, and my house is 10 minutes down the road. Dad picked about the best place possible to have an emergency. I was able to help by staying at the hospital until the initial alarm subsided, then going to fetch some supper, cooked by Andy, so Mom and Dad did not have to eat the hospital food while they sat in Emerg and waited for test after test after test.

In between bringing supper to the hospital and picking up Mom and Dad when they finally finished around 11pm, Andy and I watched Closer on dvd. Andy liked it. I hated it. Not because it's about infidelity, but because I couldn't find a heart or soul in the story. The movie was beautiful to look at, but empty. That's not a moral judgement. I can love a story about someone who does awful things if I can understand why, and connect with the heart of the person. In closer, these unreasonably beautiful people just keep changing partners like a square dance. I love you do-si-do Nope, now I don't after all promenade your partner I love her allaman-left I never did after all, bow to your partner. Oh well, at least there was not shooting or explosions. Andy said the point of it was that it was a story about personal emptiness. I still didn't like it or get it. Probably a bad choice for an interlude during a stressful evening.

Today I went to the Summer Dreams Reading Festival put on by Pandora's Collective, which was wonderful. Great performances and lots of spoken word/literary friends, all at Robson Square in the sunshine. Tonight I took the kids to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, which was lovely and much more true to the original than the Gene Wilder version - except for an ending twist that is totally invented. Why do they do that??? Do people who make movies actually believe that audiences need a caramel sledgehammer of an ending? Oh well.

Back at home I read out loud to our son, two more chapters of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which we bought on Saturday in Osoyoos and we've been barelling through. We have 5 chapters to go and I know it will be shocky-chokey reading. He's used to me pausing to recapture my composure when the story swoops me up as I read it. "Mom, are you crying? It's okay Mom. It's just a story." Already I cried on the beach while I was reading it to him at camp. There's more to come.

Waddaya love about the world? It may wobble but you don't fall down.

question: do I have a weight in my fat-end?

mompoet - tell you about the dog psychologist thing tomorrow


and carpals and tarsals and metacarpals and metatarsals and the stringy springy tendon-ligamenty stuff the makes them dance, clap and assemble fajitas, all AOK today.

question: did you ever eat with your feet?

mompoet - going to bed before I become a bat and hang out inside of tree bark by the tips of my capable toes

when i pass by a house with zinnias

growing in the garden, I want to knock on the door and give a big hug to the person who has planted and tended them and say, "Thank you for such extravagant beauty."

question: what was it I was supposed to be doing today?

mompoet - eyes popping at flowers the size of my head

Friday, July 22, 2005

toe's good

We had a wonderful time in Osoyoos. One week living on the beach in our bathing suits was very relaxing. I read three boy books, including the new Harry Potter, swam, and talked with my family and friends who we see up there every year. Not much to do, which was exactly perfect.

I did slam my baby toe into a tree root (twice) and it's been hurting like the dickens - so much that I was ready to go to the doctor today if it wasn't improving. But last night, after my first shower from which I did not step directly out into sand and dirt, I took a really good look at it. I managed to chop a big flap of skin off the tip of the toe and it was still partly attached. I took it off and it already feels much better. So the pain radiating up my foot was probably not from a fractured phalange. I'll test it out today, but I think it's okay.

question: did you ever notice how nice your own house is when you come back?

mompoet - toasty with fair to good toe-integrity and happy to be home

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm back

I think I have a tan, but it might be dirt. I'll tell you after I have a shower.

Check out the latest ipod device

More later - going to shower now...

question: cherries anyone?

mompoet - multi-layered and a bit limpy

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I am on Vacation

Today I learned that I can take good photographs with a digital camera. I have been a 35mm slr holdout for a couple of years but I caved and tried the little digital camera that Andy bought about 6 months ago. It works. I have to get used to looking at a moving image in a viewfinder, and there's more of a delay between intention and capture than with a film camera, but I can get used to it. I took a really cool photo of a small girl who had just let go of a bow string. The arrow was gone, but her hand was still shaped like string-release and also like surprise. It's a good picture.

I still have not learned to post photos on my blog so I can't share it here. Oh well, one thing at a time.

Work is done, at least for the next two weeks. I found out yesterday afternoon that they are going to paint all of the offices at my work while I am away. Ooops, somehow I didn't get the email a week or so ago. Luckily I got curious when there were paint chips everywhere and maintenance guys sticking their noses into my office. So I had time to pack up my bric a brac and get the art and calendar off the walls. My office is 5-sided and the smallest in the place, but I love it. the fifth wall is perfect for a painting. The walls will be beige or blue when I return. They haven't decided yet (the deciders, not the walls). (notbeigenotbeigenotbeigenotbeige) I hope they will be blue.

Most of what we need is packed for our camping trip that begins tomorrow. Dog and cat care is arranged. I washed and chopped fruit and veggies so I will have something nice when the festival of potato chip eating begins. I have 4 novels and two books of poetry and one magazine. I have blank paper. I have a digital camera. I am on vacation.

question: what shape is surprise?

mompoet - 5-sided

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Look out. I itch. Urgggg. I'm going to have to wear footsie pajamas to bed to stop from scratching all night. Ooooch. Yuk. I want to lie on the floor with my head in one spot and run around in circles, scraping my legs on the carpet. Iiiiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiii-iiiiiii-tch!

question: why did God make mosquitoes? (oh yeah, to feed the bats and the fish and the birds)

mompoet - are you kidding? I don't own any footsie pajamas!

sophie vs the roomba

My dad sent me this video.

I think Sophie likes it. What do you think?

question: woof?

mompoet - no, I don't have one yet (a roomba I mean)

ps Don't you love it when a dog backs up?

not jazzed yet

Usually by this time in July I am climbing the walls, all anxious about holiday preparation - both the packing and also work preparations. Instead, I am calm and steady. I'll get done what I get done and the rest will be okay.

I'm not sure what's making a difference this year. Maybe it's just delayed panic, and I'll find it lurking around the corner Tuesday at 10:42am or in the middle of the night Wednesday. But I don't think so. All I can conclude is that my grip is slipping sufficiently that I can't remember things long enough to worry about them, or I'm suddenly and inexplicably wise and centred. Huh!

The budget is chunking along at work. I'm finding time to finish off the parts that I can get done before I go, and I've defined what I'll need to hand back to my boss before I leave. I still have to find someone to open camp on the Monday of the second week, but that's minor. The new leaders are working together really well. New head leader is wonderful. They will be fine without me for a couple of weeks, and I've scheduled small registration loads for them while I'm away, and one week girls-only which is always really nice, considering our average camper is an 8 year old boy whose mom REALLY wants him out of the house. Speaking of houses, our house is in pretty good shape for the house-sitter so hopefully no scrubbing blitz on Thursday night before we leave. On Sunday we opened up the tent trailer and I searched the shed and basement and located the essential items that weren't already inside the trailer (stove, sleeping bags, collapsible chairs, barbeque etc) and put them there. I have to make a bunch of salads and bake some cookies and pack my clothes. The kids pack for themselves. Andy just got the car checked over for the trip up, and he's buying marshmallows and propane and stuff that we'll need. Other than that, we're good. We can go on holiday.

Today I will deliver on my promise to my dad for a father's day gift of time. We're going to walk around Burnaby Lake and eat sushi for lunch at Piper Spit. That is if we don't get eaten. I spent a couple of hours at the lake yesterday visiting my camp. The mosquitos are working all day long in this cool, damp weather. I have about 100 bites on my legs. This is not an exaggeration. They seem to think that bug spray is salad dressing. It's okay. If you don't scratch the bites they disappear pretty fast. I'll wear long pants today. The worst is when you get a mosquito bite on your finger. It's really irritating. I guess one on your eyelid is even worse, but that doesn't usually happen unless you sleep with a mosquito in your tent.

question: ever tried to sleep with a mosquito whining in your ear?

mompoet - nutritious

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Enjoying Music without Words

I am listening to Rossini's Barber of Seville. This is my mom's recommendation for my first experience with opera. Dad recommends Don Giovanni. I'll listen to that next.

I always though I didn't like opera - hoity toity, overblown, way too long. But this is fantastic! The intensity and drama are wonderful. It's way over the top and I love that! This is GREAT BIG MUSIC!!! It helps that a lot of the themes from this opera are part of everyday life in advertising, movie soundtracks, cartoons, cell phone ringtones (not mine - I detest musical ringtones, but that's another post) so my ears are hearing familiar music in with the new. I am listening to it for the first time and practically jumping out of my seat with joy and amazement.

I don't care if I don't understand the words. It's wonderful.

I got it from the library. They have a huge selection of opera. I can have fun with this. Now I definitely want to go to the opera. And I want to listen to lots more.

question: how did I take so long to find this?

mompoet - my car is leaking Figaro


Grandmapoet did not offer bystanders coffee bagels and peanut butter while mompoet actually was pushing out a baby girl. Breakfast type items were purveyed during late first-stage labour, at least one hour before the big finale.

question: all clear now?

mompoet - at your cervix

Saturday, July 09, 2005

being born is important

Congratulations to Sonya, Lyle and Sara and welcome to Sara's baby brother! He was born Friday morning and weighs 9 pounds 10 ounces. Everyone is well and happy.

I got the happy news while I was walking the dog. When I got home I told the kids. I pointed out to our daughter (the largest birthweight child in our family) that this baby was even heavier than she was at birth. This prompted son to ask about his birthweight. For the record, they were 9 pounds even (he) and 9 pounds 8 ounces (she). Both seemed proud when I told them this, as if being a robust baby was a personal accomplishment of some kind.

Then daughter asked, "Who hurt the most coming out?" This was an interesting question for an almost 12 year old to ask. She's been retreating from my attempts to keep the dialogue about sex and life in general open between us, so I grabbed the opportunity (gently). I told her that for sure she hurt a lot more than her brother. In fact, it hurt so much while she was being born that I got very grumpy and told grandma to shut up. Poor grandma, she was just offering coffee and bagels with peanut butter around to the assembled helpers/observers and I transformed from an appreciative and stoic labouring mom to a crazed egocentric banshee (but only for a few minutes). So now the kids know about the transition phase of child birth, and not to offer bagels if they are in the same room with a woman who is going through it.

It's interesting how we fixate on the statistics about our moment of emergence. Birthweight, length of labour, hairy or bald, water breakng at home or in hospital, drugs/natural/surgical. To me, all of these things seem inconsequential compared to the actual business of growing up together as a parent and child. But we talk more about them than most of our most important days and challenges in our real ongoing lives. I guess we all like to mark that miraculous moment and the honour the heroic effort. It's proof of life and of of our individuality, the end of chapter one of our own personal history.

Welcome babies one and all. Congratulations on your birth, your individuality, your continuation through heroic lives.

question: how much did you weigh?

mompoet - 7 pounds six ounces

Friday, July 08, 2005

nothing compared to what else happened

I didn't know until I turned on the TV at 11 to catch the news headlines before sleep. It's funny, I had listened to the radio on and off in the car, but not the news, I guess. This morning I'm reading the descriptions and the theories about who did it, how it was allowed to happen, what the experience was like for those who were right in the middle of the bombing in London.

Among the pictures on the New York Times website this morning is one of a police officer with a sub-machine gun patrolling a Washington DC commuter train. There is so much power in this kind of war. Everyone feels threatened. Next comes the paranoia, then the retribution, both at home and in Iraq. It's hard to know what to do but to try to understand and stay human and say that more and more and more violence is not okay. It's hard to explain to the kids but we have to try and hope they have a better chance of getting it right.

I don't walk around every day thinking I might get blown up. Maybe it's because we're in Canada, but I know that's not a safe assumption. Still, you can't give up the joy and responsibility of everyday life because of a horrible possibility. If you do you have surrendered to the badness of the whole situation already.

At the bottom of it all is hurt. How else can anyone (big or small, whatever side of the equation) feel justified in doing this harm? And also power of course. I believe the need for unlimited power is based on fear so it all boils down to hurt anyway.

question: how can everyone in the world remember we all have the same shared interest?

mompoet - pie in the sky, feet still dancing on the ground, but a little more slowly

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Oooomph. Now I have 3 days off. yeah!

Today I worked from 7:15am-9:15pm. I went out to a Japanese restaurant for lunch but it was a lunch meeting so we talked and jotted notes and ate. I still had a good day. I visited camp and ran errands for the staff. I learned how to make prints from a digital camera memory card at a self-serve machine (the volunteers thought that was funny), got photographed doing my impression of Cousin It from the Addams Family, worked on budget for 2 hours here, 1.753 hours there, talked to camper parents on the phone, had a meeting with the chief budget pooh-bah who is really nice and answered all of my questions. I broke 3 mechanical pencils, spilled water all over my desk, went to Costco twice but avoided MalWart, and photocopied about a hundred pages one at a time with the fax machine when the photocopier got irreversibly jammed. I missed campfire but I got to hold a puppy and I drove around with a soccer ball on the front seat floor of the car which if actually fun because you can try to drive very gently so it doesn't roll around. Not a good idea when the light turns green. People behind you don't like it. If I was a kid today, I would be diagnosed with ADD, but I'm an adult, so I'm multi-tasking and thinking outside of the box.

I thought about synethesia today. When my mind is going a million miles an hour part of it gets hooked into some abstract thought with obsessive interest. But now I'm just thinking about sleeping. One good thing, I turned on the crock pot in the morning so there was bean soup still warm when I got home, and nobody needed me to go to a store.

Go go go go go go go go go go stop (the shape of those words smells blue like hydrangea and vibrates like plastic zipper teeth)

question: Do you think smoked salmon sushi roll sounds like San Francisco?

mompoet - polysynaptic blip


At work on Wednesday I visited camp to make sure everyone was okay. First day of canoeing and spirits were high. The campers are really nice this week and the new leaders are liking each other and working together as a team. The volunteers are spectacular. Two speak Mandarin, which we really need this week. Everything was good at the lake.

Back at my office I put my phone on forward, locked my door and got to work on the 2006 budget. I'm writing my own and also leading my team so that my co-workers can get theirs done with a minimum of fuss, then I have to check everyone else's to make sure they're accurate and completed to spec. We use spreadsheets, which makes it easy, but some of the accounts are very complicated with long series of changes that must be done just so and in the right order and if you're lucky they balance after about two hours of mind-bending fiddling for one page. It's worth it, and also required by law, so we do it. By six o'clock I was not finished, but I had not sat down for supper with my family since Sunday so I left a big pile of paper and eraser bits (is there a word for those? maybe I'll make one up) on my desk and came home.

Turns out daughter has reached the point of "I give up" with her new bicycle. Husband too. We got it for her as an early birthday present. It was a really good deal. We found out why. The brakes squeal when you touch them so you can be heard a block or two away. This is not okay, especially for an 11 year old almost twelve year old girl. Mortifying actually. We've had the bike into the shop and they fixed it temporarily then the squealing resumed. So I had already talked to the bike shop manager on the phone to agree that they will take the bike back and give us a credit toward a new bike, but husband is fed up with dealing with it, so daughter and I go to the store to make the exchange. Husband comes too. I think he likes to see me talk to service people. I am nice but I get what I want.

So we brought the bike in. Looked at what we could get in exchange plus oh, only $99 more or so. Ahem.

I told them how we appreciated their extensive efforts to fix the bike, and the time they were taking now to show us the other bikes, but what would make us happy was our money back. Okay, they said. So now husband will go to Costco and get daugher the same bike he has that works just fine, no squeaking, two wheels, moves when you pedal it. Daughter is already thinking about how to make her bike look non-identical to her dad's. As we left the bike shop, husband asked, "Do you want to go to Costco now?"


So back at home I finally turned off my left brain, hugged everyone, petted the dog and the cat and ate eggs, onions, tomatoes, bread and beer for supper at 8:30, fell asleep with my nose in the newspaper at 9 and went to bed. Gotta get up early and go play with the budget some more.

I am taking Friday off work. No stores, no numbers, no spreadsheets, only lakes with no paying customers, supper with the family maybe outside.

5 more workdays 'til vacation.

question: money mommy?

mompoet - dwindling

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

You can always tell how good a restaurant is by...

Check out this place.

I wonder if they serve pee soup?

question: do you think it's fair that the kids get in trouble when they say things like this?

mompoet - my fault, I know

Monday, July 04, 2005

bathtubs are happy places

When I got home tonight at 9:30 after much too much work, I heard my new neighbour Chris and his 2 year old through their bathroom window. Tristan was squealing and giggling, and I couldn't hear what Chris was saying but it sounded very exciting and pretty much like they were both having the time of the lives. I thought about how I used to put our kids and whatever friends they had over into the bath at about any time of day or evening when I wanted them to cool off, cheer up, kill time, have fun, play and coincidentally get clean. I remember how the owliest "I missed my nap" kid would turn into a sweet (and sweet-smelling) lamb just by spending 15-20 minutes soaking and splashing. I also remember how I used to fake losing my balance and fall into the tub with my clothes on, just to make them laugh. Mommy in her jeans and sweater inside the tub with you is pretty funny to a 2 year old. They won't let me do that anymore.

I just stood outside for a couple of minutes and enjoyed the music. I don't miss having a two year old. I do miss bathing one from time to time. I also miss falling in.

question: anyone got a two year old I can borrow?

mompoet - accelerated beyond belief

Sunday, July 03, 2005

spike spike spike

I went back to the festival three more times this weekend: Saturday afternoon with Andy and our daughter to watch the Port Moody Idol competition. Daughter did not compete but several of her friends were in it. Her best friend didn't make it to finals on Sunday, so we decided to skip that. It was fun watching this talent show of kids then adults. Torchy pop is still the most popular for performers in the competition, but show tunes are big too. The best were the simplest and least well-known songs, coincidentally best-suited to their singers. I think it's a mistake to try to perform a song that's a hot star's trademark unless you totally change the way you perform it. Otherwise people just hear the discrepancies. One young woman played electric guitar and sang an original song. That was fabulous! Real talent. An older man (well, one my age) sang a simple blues song a capella. I liked that too. Personality is huge in a talent show. The performers who chatted while they waited for their music to begin captured the hearts of the audience. My favourite was a teenage girl who is blind. She introduced her country song like this, "My song's an upbeat song so you can clap along as much as you like. It's got a good story too. I hope you like it."

We went back Saturday night with our friends Michele and Brent. We sat in the wine patio (quieter and prettier than the "beverage garden.") Later we moved over there anyway for a view of the stage. The Night Train Revue was playing. They were very good. Something about old time musicians who know what they're doing and still love doing it makes me very very happy. We were singing along and clapping and cheering. It was good. The night was starry and the park was packed. Probably a couple thousand people there I think. Andy and I enjoyed both shows. He like the Time Benders better. I liked Night Train Revue more. Both nights were great, and wonderful for their friendly, happy, community feeling.

Came back Sunday afternoon for a quiet walkabout with our son, who wanted to go just with me and stay for just a short time. He's adjusting to the change of pace from school time to holiday time, and it's like decompressing. We sat and ate ice cream and watched the people go by and said hi to a bunch of friends and admired dogs. It was very sweet and lovely. The festival is winding down now, but we can hear the music drifting across the water and up the hill when we go out on our deck.

So this evening I paid the bills and balanced the chequing account record (ugg), read a book, walked the dog and made a big Sunday supper. Son and daughter cooked up a chocolate fondue for dessert which, on top of the ice cream in the afternoon, was delicious but a bit too much goo. This week is going to be very busy so I guess I'll be going to the 6:15am cycle class on Monday. I hope I put my shorts on frontwards! I have to make muffins now so the teenage eating machines will find something breakfast-ish when they get up in the morning. They cook their own lunches these days. Husband got the tent trailer out of the parking garage at his mom's apartment, so we can begin packing this week.

Canada Day weekend was just what this family needed to unwind a bit, celebrate a bit, and ease into the holidays. Eight more working days and we're on vacation. Yay!

question: none for now

mompoet - Canadian, Port-Moodyish, counting down to vacation time

Saturday, July 02, 2005

fatal attraction

There's a new political gossip blog about the tri-cities (Port Moody/Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam). Check it out.

I'm suspicious of anything anonymous but it's juicy stuff for those of us who follow local politics and the personalities who make it tick (or squeak, or cluck or squish, or whatever it's doing today). I am willing myself to not look, but it's difficult. Check it out and let me know what you think. Maybe I'll post a comment so they won't all be also "anonymous." Civic elections are November 19. Federal may happen before that. Lots of juice for the mill/bucket/trough/cesspit/whatever.

question: did you ever slow down to look at a house on fire?

mompoet - guilty but compelled

O Canada Port Moody Style

We stayed home Friday and cleaned the house. Andy went out for groceries and took the kids to the video store. At 5:30 the neighbourhood Canada Day potluck began. It was inside a carport because it was raining. About 50 people came. We had fun and it was delicous.

At 8:30 Andy and I took off down to Rocky Point Park where we met up with his boss and his boss's wife and some of their kids and one granddaughter. We watched the evening's concert by The Time Benders. The show was pretty corny but we loved it. The musicians were talented and totally energetic. They sang and danced nonstop for almost 2 hours with a dozen costume changes including wigs and one muscle suit. It was a good choice for a crowd that ranged from newborn through octogenarian. Everyone was up dancing on the lawn in front of the stage. There were conga lines and everyone did the YMCA song, included 4 guys recruited from the audience to put on the cop/construction worker/cowboy/Indian Chief get-ups. It seemed like something that you would see on a cruise ship, but I've never been on a cruise ship so I'm not sure.

The really hilarious part was what the party crowd from the beer garden did. In past years we've had Trooper and Doug and the Slugs, which are oldies too, but much more rock-related than this theatre-style all-ages review. I guess the 20-somethings weren't sure what to make of the show so they just charged right on in like they always would. It was pretty incongruous to see blotto-boy and gooney girl charging the stage, shouting and dancing in front of the performers and being hauled off by security in the context of this family show. Kind of like finding a mosh pit at a Charlotte Diamond concert, but there you go. It was really funny. During the finale about 20 young adults who had clearly spent a good part of the afternoon and evening in the beer garden got up and danced on the front of the stage. As many as were herded off were replaced by more party animals in search of oblivion-blurred glory. I was killing myself laughing. It was beautiful, surreal, charming. Nobody got hurt. It was just too funny. The band handled it with style and grace and the security guys and gals were gentle and used good humour from the looks of things.

So that's a wild night in Port Moody.

Oh we got home at 11:30. I joined the Ladeez in Cathy's hot tub. The guys were still in the carport drinking shooters. Who says we don't party in Port Moody. yeeee hawww.

question: I wonder what it will be like tonight (we're going back)

mompoet - liking best the pieces that do not fit but work anyway

Friday, July 01, 2005

why I like dooce so much

I was just reading Heather Armstrong's blog, Dooce, and I nearly died laughing at this link from a post last year, then I shouted, "I love dooce!"

In case you have ever wondered how I pick my friends, this is it. Not to say that Heather Armstrong is my friend, I just admire her blog tremendously. But this is how I pick. For example I became enamoured with my friend Kirsi when we were at a party and she described in great detail how she bought an abdominizer on late night tv, then she did a demo of "how to look 10 years younger by shortening your bra straps" with one side "before" and the other "after."

Yup, that's how I pick my friends. I wish Heather Armstrong lived in Port Moody. She's my kind of gal.

question: do you think I'm compensating by choosing people even more extraverted than I am?

mompoet - who cares! I love dooce!

Something Really Icky

My dad sent me this link. Check out the slideshow if you can bear to look at skin that will never be the same again.

We had poison ivy in Ohio where I come from, but I don't think there's any in Port Moody, or on the west coast in general. Let me know if you know different. I have run through stinging nettles at Deception Pass State Park, but that was my fault for crashing through the bushes like Rambo. It was fun, but it wasn't worth it. I have also been tangled in blackberry and devil's club, but not at the same time, and I was once thrown into a cedar hedge, which resulted in prolonged itching.

Still, nothing as bad as the pictures in the slide show.

question: how far west does poison ivy grow?

mompoet - hugging trees carefully