Sunday, October 30, 2005

How awful can it be and still be funny?

My friend Brian told me about something he saw on television so I looked it up on google. WARNING...DO NOT LOOK AT THIS IF YOU THINKS JOKES ABOUT CANNIBALISM ARE NOT FUNNY: Hufu

I'm still trying to figure out:

A. Is this for real? (I think probably not)
B. Is this really clever and funny? or has it crossed the line to cruelly horrible? (can it be both?)
C. Am I doing the wrong thing telling one more person about it? (well, you'll hear about it somewhere else if not already)
D. Can I admire the art but despise the thought? (I think probably not)

If you are strong of stomach and have a really stretchy sense of humour, check it out. If not, skip it.

Bonus: on each page there's an "escape" link for if you are feeling queasy. Check where it sends you!

question: already asked too many

mompoet - now reconsidering the wisdom of naming my squash

how weird are you

I'm a bit disappointed in my result, admiring weirdness as I do. But you gotta be what you gotta be.

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

question: how weird are you?

mompoet - don't worry, I can't read your answers, but I might ask you later

pomegranate is beautiful

question: what is your favourite fruit?

mompoet - swallowing the seeds

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Syringa Tree

Holy crap. The whole theatre was crying. I wasn't just weeping, I was stifling sobs. It is a beautiful play.

Here's a link.

question: none

mompoet - wow

Chapbook Recap and Weekend Ahead

It bucketed rain all the way out to Whonnock but when we got there, Helmi and Fred's place was cozy and inviting. We took off our shoes, curled up in interesting and gracious chairs and couches, stretched out on the floor and emptied out our pockets of stories, both personal and for the book. We talked about health and love and travel and money and work. We put our energy and indignation up in support of friends to whom fate is dealing a bad hand. We laughed. We ate a big crazy patchwork supper. We drank wine. We chose a title, set the order of stories, agreed on absolute deadlines, laughed about author bios, encouraged our most-beleagured friend to go with his heart as far as including his story this time or re-writing it and waiting for next time. We talked about why we liked the story written by the one least confident about including hers. We prowled restlessly around photographs and artwork for the cover, loving nothing intensely enough nor with consensus to say "That's the cover." We agreed, barring a last minute romance with a cover yet undiscovered, that this will the "the black book with red title." We named it My Mother and Other Lies. We drank coffee, ate brandy chocolates and fruit too beautiful for words and talked about the declining quality of hospital linens. Then we went home.

Today is another day, less group collaboration, more offspring transportation. I'll lunch with Mom and Dad and Andy, then go see The Syringa Tree at the Playhouse. I will surely cry in the the dark, but that's what I do. At some point I will put finishing touches on a Sunday School lesson, help with last minute Halloween preparations including artistic design of Pippi Longstocking hair using actual hair, a bent coathanger and red spray colour. Check in about Chapter 2 and 3 math tests, cuddle on the couch with husband and watch some dvd or other, write a couple of reference letters and some thank you cards, send a message to Eritrea and make applesauce.

Life has a complicated and beautiful shape, even on ordinary days. Nothing is perfect. Everything is interesting. Much is unexpected or at least different from orignally anticipted. I am blessed.

question: whatcha doing today? Whadja do yesterday?

mompoet - oomphy

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bruno is Soup

I think Bruno is some kind of pumpkin, but he's a tasty one. It was easy to carve him into chunks. I baked him for a couple of hours, then pureed him with some sauteed onion and garlic and curry powder, then I mixed in some soup stock and a can of coconut milk. Fiery and nice with crunchy pumpkin seeds for topping. Yum. Good Bruno.

question: Do you think Bruno is some kind of pumpkin?

mompoet - thinking about Rosalie, who might require an axe or a chainsaw, but should be lovely with some ginger and orange juice I think...

more-on the "voice of parents in b.c."

The Georgia Straight tells it.

question: which group would you rather have represent you?

mompoet - not bitter, nope, not one bit - PITUIIIII! bleggg hack spit...


Blogger has added an optional verification feature to screen out automated spam comments - "look at these wavey letters and type them in to verify that you are a real person." Now we will have to look somewhere else for opportunities to get a university degree in 5 minutes, make lots of money real fast and buy hats for our dogs.

question: is it okay if I still post fake spam-comments from time to time?

mompoet - silly a lot of the time

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


There's a coffin in the garden, with a Frankenstein hand sticking out.

question: whoooooooossssseeee hand?

mompoet - spooky

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

making another book-baby

Our next Shoreline chapbook is in the works. The "Pub Committee" will meet Friday at Helmi's to pull it along as we approach its expected arrival date some time in mid-December. I am feeling like a negligent parent right now, having set my editing duties and writing responsibilities aside for work, the festival, family I have to get to it, and I I'm feeling like I can't give the same quality of care and support that I have given the group and the process in past years.

One thing's for sure, the book will be great even with less of my input. We are each, individually, good writers/poets/editors and publishers. As a group, we are incredible. Our chapbooks are treasures. This one will be too. What I'm regretting is that I have not put the same kind of energy and love into this one so far. I hope I can still make up for it in the third trimester or its publishing equivalent. Offer foot-rubs? Bring some squash soup to the meeting? Just be there. Okay, yes, that's probably it. Just be there.

In the meantime I also have to work on supporting/critiquing Jody's beautiful poems and Brian's provocative story, and get my own act together with the rough and ready blurts that I call my own poems (grateful for the help of Michael, the editor who says he doesn't know poetry!). It will happen. And now my heart is pointed in the direction of this endeavour. Onward.

question: whatcha working on right now?

mompoet - re-connecting with ongoing commitments and connections too important to lose

Look what happened to my garden....

Must have been the public service job action on Friday. City cemetery workers were off the job for the day, so citizens pitched in to fill the gap.

question: got crypts?

mompoet - very scary

Monday, October 24, 2005

these leaves reminded me

of when you dump out a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and all the pieces are in an updside-down heap.

question: what do you see on the ground?

mompoet - always looking around

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Still Tired

A week after the festival and I'm still going in slow motion, craving naps and leaving tasks undone. I have read magazines and watched dvds and sat on the couch and talked with my husband and kids and petted the dog and made a lap for the cat more this week than I have done in a long time. At the office I allowed my work team to do the busy stuff while I said a lot of "thanks" and "okay" and "that's great." I'm mostly okay with this, but I've had a bit of nagging "are you losing it??" kind of worry.

When I was 24 years old, I broke my finger playing "wallyball" - manic volleyball in a racquetball court. I healed in a fortnight and was back at it. Twenty years later, I'm not so quick to regenerate. Elbow tendonitus took almost a year to heal and there's something going on with my ankle.... The point is, I think it's the same with my psyche. I could ask myself to do amazing things when I was younger, completely wipe myself out, then be ready for action Monday morning at 7am. I guess I have to learn to be patient with myself, and also to tune in better to what's really happening - all the layers.

It's not only that for the week of the festival I got up early, stayed up late and worked hard. I must acknowledge also that I met a lot of people, absorbed a lot of personal stories, immersed myself in dozens of performances, deepened bonds of trust with my Poetry House friends, stretched boundaries with my family and challenged my own idea of my self and what I'm meant to do. These things shake the soul in ways that are both creative and destructive. The pieces are all still settling, and an odd sort of healing is happening - like when I lift weights, tear muscle a bit, and build new, or when my son's braces move the roots of his teeth to new alignment. In the end it's for the better, but during the process there needs to be time for rest and adjustment.

So maybe it's not just that I'm older. Maybe there's more going on than when I was younger and life was simpler. Or maybe I'm just paying better attention and feeling it more. Whatever the case, I'm okay with it and curious to find out what happens next.

question: when do we stop growing up?

mompoet - growing I think

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Two kindsa potatoes

I'm making potatoes au grautin for the creamy potato lovers and garlic/olive oil potatoes for the garlic lovers who abstain from dairy. We'll take the potatoes and a biiiiiiig salad (yet to be made) to Louise's house where we will have supper with Louise and Sam and Sam's girlfriend Vicky and also with Robin and Ralph and Emma. Everyone is bringing something. Last time we all shared a meal was Fort Ebey in August so it is time. And this is the first time we'll meet Vicky.

In case you have never made garlic/olive oil potatoes, here's how:

Wash but do not peel as many russet potatoes as you like.
Chop them into cubes (smallish but not so small as hash browns).
Toss them in a large bowl with good olive oil (enough to coat the lot) and as much garlic as you can bear, extruded from your garlic press, or minced if you don't have a garlic press.
Add some more garlic. Really.
Spread them out in a pan or casserole or two that has been lightly oiled with more olive oil (it's good for you, so it's okay!) potatoes should be about an inch deep (deeper works but will take longer to cook).
Bake in the oven anywhere from 350 to 425, depending on what else you have in there. Lower takes longer, hotter goes quicker, but they're flexible.
About every 15 minutes or so, stir and flip them to help them crispy-roast all over.
(Good guide - if you finish your glass of wine and you haven't flipped them, get up and flip them).
Your house will smell like garlic. This is good.
They are done when they are golden and crispy on almost all sides of each potato bit - but don't be a perfectionist - just eat them when you can't stand to wait any longer, or when whatever it is else you are cooking is ready.
Rule of thumb: cooked longer is crispier and so better.
Good with just about anything. Great re-heated for breakfast.
Yum yum.

question: what's for supper at your house?

mompoet - cooking communally

ps I just read that - now you know why I will never be a successful cookbook writer - bla bla bla

Friday, October 21, 2005

Picket Day

I was on picket duty from 8am-12 noon. We walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the arena. Pat and Emira from Pappagallo's gave us two big airpots of free coffee to help us stay warm. They are good people.

Spencer had to work because the ice plant in the arena needs constant monitoring, what with the deadly ammonia and all. He let us use the bathroom if we needed it. The picket captain said we could go to the rally at the Coliseum as long as some of us stayed outside the arena. Sherrard and I went to the rally. A few others went to join some teachers at a nearby school. Some of the high school picketers came around the block to walk with us. The morning crept slowly until we left for the rally.

The rally was fun but pretty low key. Jinny Sims spoke, along with the national and provincial CUPE Heads and someone from the HEU. I think people are pretty hopeful that the teachers will vote to go back to work. It was encouraging to see a show of solidarity among the teachers, CUPE and HEU. I saw a lot of teachers who I know, including Janice and Liz from Coquitlam School District. There were students there too, which was very cool, and university and college faculty and staff.

It made me remember the Solidarity General Strike in November 1983. I was a student teacher, just finishing up PDP at SFU. We closed down the province to all unionized work for a few days. The Lower Mainland's Solidarity Rally was at Empire Stadium. I remember that I was worried that I'd have to repeat the semester in January to get my teachers' certificate. The strike went on for a few days but at the end the university said we could still graduate. Bill VanderZalm was Premier then.

I've been thinking about the social and economic conditions that lie at the root of the struggles between business and labour, government and public service. What we're doing now is working on one of the symptoms of something much bigger. Something has to change drastically in the world or this deterioration will continue. It seems like there is abundant wealth, but it's concentrated in mostly bad hands and is making hardly anyone really safe of happy - not even the people who control it. My family is lucky to be relatively affluent and reasonably protected, but I know that the price for this is paid by many other families who are not so lucky, so I have a responsibility to do what I can to make a positive change.

I don't know the answers, but the question is becoming more and more clear, and the problem more obvious. I am paying attention.

question: do you remember Bill and Lill? are we still in Fantasyland?

mompoet - paying attention

momthink on working/walking

A month or so ago I booked today off work because it is a pro-d day. I work a flex schedule, so as long as I turn in 70 hrs every two-week cycle I can work as many or few days as I like - oh I have to take off 2 days in every 7. So I can work a couple of longer days then take a day off for a pro-d or just a stretch weekend, which I love.

But now we are walking off the job in support of the teachers. So I'm going to work to not work.

Partly, I don't want to appear to be avoiding taking a day off without pay by saying "I had it off already." Partly I want to be actively involved in the protest. Staying home in my pajamas is tempting, but the teachers are already out there in the dark and the cold, and there's the rally....we need to fill the rally to show support.

So I'm going to work on my day off to not work.

I'm still wrestling with the matter of pay. I think I will still get paid unless I flex another day off next week, but I suspect I'll be too busy getting all of my suspended/postponed programs going again if/when schools reopen next week. So I could flex a day off, then work it and get paid overtime, which would be really bizarre.

If I just work 5 days next week I will get my full 2-weeks' pay at the end of the cycle, even though I'm walking off the job today...if that makes sense. I think I should donate a day's pay to the union, or the teachers, or to charity. I'll ask my union rep.

If this sounds weird to you, welcome to mom-think. Checking in with 3 of my co-workers last night, they were going through the same ethical contortions. We are all moms.

question: which layer of good is the innermost? how much does the outermost matter?

mompoet - after you, no - after you

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Vince Ready's Recommendations

Here's what mediator/faciliator Vince Ready is recommending, as posted on the BCTF website. BCTF Exec is meeting this evening to consider them.

The Ministry of Education website has no mention of Ready's recommendations or of the teachers' strike whatsoever. Perhaps they haven't noticed that there's a teachers' strike? Or maybe they think if they don't talk about it it will go away?

BCCPAC has no mention either of the Ready recommendation on their website, but they're parents and they're probably home with their children tonight. Maybe they'll lay us another golden egg in the morning.

Realistically, the teachers have the most to gain by publicizing the Ready report. They also use their website to get the info out to teachers around the province. It stands to reason that they are the ones getting the report out in this manner.

Watch the 11 o'clock news. Hug your kids. Read to them. Take them to the rally on Friday.

question: whose reality is real?

mompoet - who still thinks teachers and librarians are superheroes

My own Napoleon Dynamite Moment

One of my favourite things in the movie Napoleon Dynamite is how Napoleon leaves the room. He does this super-rapid tilt/lurch/bolt move that is so good I want to learn how to do it myself, but I'd probably break something. Anyway, I saw it in real life the other day.

Tuesday lunchtime, my son takes the bus from home to a sushi place near my office. I meet him at the restaurant, and treat him to all-you-can-eat sushi. The bus comes by every 30 minutes. After about 26 minutes of non-stop eating and talking about the various types of test-buses in use right now, he asks me about the time until the next bus. "Relax," I say, "you have another half hour - unless you want to go right now." So he stuffs a piece of BC roll in his mouth, drops his chopsticks and says, "Thanks for lunch. I feel full. I'm going to go now." Then he does the Napoleon move and runs out the door of the restaurant. I'm just smiling to myself when the restaurant door bangs open a moment later. He's standing beside the table looking at me. "Hug!" he says. So I hug him. "BYE!" tilt/lurch/bolt. Everyone in the place is grinning by now. The bus goes by about 40 seconds later and he's gone. My Napoleon.

question: with whom do you identify in that movie?

mompoet - sticking around to see the white stallion

Here's the teachers' statement

The teachers' proposed settlement is posted on the BCTF website.

Looks like my co-workers and I will be out in protest tomorrow with the rest of the Lower Mainland CUPE locals. We may picket the arena, or we'll be sent to a school to walk with the teachers (my preference). I'll try to get to the rally too. The rumour is we might also be out Monday, but wait and see...

The government has to budge. This seems to me like a perfect opportunity for everyone to model to the kids how grownups act when they have a conflict.

question: where are the grownups in our government?

mompoet - remembering the rules of backbone parenting

The Official Voice of Parents in BC

says there was no crisis in public education until October 7.

This is our parent voice. The one that the government listens to as the purveyor of our legitimate point of view.

The provincial government also provides 40% of BCCPAC's funding.

Fewer than half of the province's Parent Advisory Councils are members.

There's a rally to support the teachers at the PNE Coliseum Friday October 21 10am-12 (free parking). I'm planning to vote with my feet.

question: ????

mompoet: churning and burning

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


up at five to drive ashleigh to the airport it was dark and wet then i drove home autopilot walked the dog dropped the costco membership cheque in a puddle didn't notice neighbour brought it to the door put it on the heating vent to dry took alex to the orthodontist teeth now in bondage with rubber band tying upper to lower jaw awwww nertz and he has to learn to hook em on himself then dropped him off and off to work hungry for lunch at 10:30 blast that raisin bran at 5:15am it just doesn't stick around long enough but walked in the rain first with laurie whose daughter just landed a double axel or is it axle i just don't know how to spell skating and emira at the papp told me how she and her family will close the shop for a week so they can go to their son's wedding in maui in november maui in november maui in november never been there but it sure sounds nice but i'll miss my americano so i'll have to go to il mercante which is good too then in the afternoon we sat in council chambers and rehearsed our presentation for the parks rec and culture commission which was a bit of a schmozzle because we were all distracted and i was the one doing the talking so i poured on smooth and the words that robin wrote sure sounded like i knew what i was talking about and louise and sherrard's slide show was beautiful and the power point ran so we left it set up just like that i think power point is lame but theirs was really good back at my office i just cleared piles of stuff off my desk if you leave work in a heap long enough everyone stops waiting for you to finish it and you can just throw it away hip hip hooray then chris came in and thank goodness john didn't kill a moose again on his annual hunting trip i think they'll both die if he ever does and he should just stop faking it drop the gun and take a camera but there's the boys arrrrr the boys arrrr a week in maui or 6 days in a fart cabin with the boys arrrr i know what i'd pick then it was time to go do the show and it went smooth and they said my voice sounded like a radio ad for a funeral home actually i just made that up because because because it was that kind of day yay long live the moose and may we meet in maui with nobody dead no nobody dead marry marry and live yay

question - whud?

mompoet - on on on

wonder what the kids are doing while they are home from school?

buzz buzz buzz

question: how could you live with yourself if it was your job to think stuff up like this?

mompoet - shaking my head

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

yup, this is me, alright

Your Personality Profile

You are sexy, powerful, and bold.
You're full of passion and energy...
Sometimes this passion has a dark side.

You feel most alive when you're seducing someone.
You never fail to get someone's attention.
Quick minded, you're also quick to lose your temper!

I can see clearly now

small boing this morning. I can feel my energy seeping back. It does not take long for my spring to become re-sprung.

Wow! What a festival. Yeah! Mmmm, what a great family I have. Easy to spring back when I am surrounded by people who jump up and down when they see me.

question: which should I chop up first, Rosalie or Bruno?

mompoet - contemplating squash soup, now that there's time to cook

Monday, October 17, 2005

sloping like a sloth

Recovering from the festival on Sunday I reversed my sleep/wake cycle proportions, waking for 9 hours and sleeping for 15. In between I wore flannel and floppy socks and slunk around like a stunned skunk. I dressed for a couple of hours after lunch and took the girls out to ValuVillage for Halloween provisioning. They are planning a huge and elaborate party. While they pondered pink wigs and daggers with built in blood-drip compartments, I looked at the houseware that people have given up. Mostly from the kitchens of gone Grandmas I think. Most fascinating was a pressure canner. It was big enough to boil a basketball with room to spare, and tightened with frightening looking 4-inch long heavy-duty screws. It appeared to be vintage 1940. A good value at $35.99 if it works - or maybe even for antique value but I left it. Too much of a commitment of space and I'd have to try it and I'd probably blow something up. Like the time my mom's pressure cooker exploded and there were black beans on the ceiling. Nope, not the right day for that. I fell asleep on the couch about 5 minutes after supper and was down for the night. Monday morning I felt like creamed death on toast or maybe an economy-size jar of ennui (low sodium variety). I oozed in to work, grateful for no meetings and hung around my office all day looking like a big black slug in my dark dark clothes and my wool scarf which I wore all day long. Tofu in spicy garlic sauce from the szechuan helped a bit at lunchtime but not much. Now I'm home and there are flannel sheets and two pillows all my own, although I'll throw one on the floor. Sleeepppp.

question - ever have a possum day?

mompoet - mom-possum

Letter about the Teacher's Strike

There's an excellent letter in today's edition of The Tyee.

question: what do you think?

mompoet - thinking

My other favourite blog

If you read my blog you know I love Dooce. But I also love Defective Yeti. Matthew Baldwin's mix of social commentary, movie and music reviews and family stories is always good. I love the stories featuring his wife (The Queen) and baby son (The Squirrelly). If you like board games he's a fanatic, and reviews those too.

Last week he posted a very personal entry about his son's diagnosis with ASD - autism spectrum disorder. Reading it, I was deeply moved.

Matthew and his wife and the Squirrelly have been in my thoughts ever since. I know from our family's experiences with our own son's differences that this is a confusing and frightening time for them. I also know that things can turn out better than you would ever expect, although it's long and hard for everyone in the first years of coping, learning and adjusting. I really believe that we are sent who we are sent because they need us and we need them. In our case, I think our son came to us because we were the right people to help him, but also because we needed the experience of learning and growing from him to be fully ourselves. Loving him has made me grow up the way nothing else could. I am a better person for it, and grateful now that I can breathe out and say, "Yes, he will be okay. He will have a happy life."

If you have a moment (and possibly some kleenex) please read Matthew's post. And send him your thoughts/prayers/white light - whatever you've got. His family needs it right now. In the long run, they will be okay. Better than okay in fact.

question: do you lean to fatalism or belief in random occurrence?

mompoet - yes

New Jib-Jab Fun

"Big Box-Mart" is the newest Jib-Jab feature. Check it out here.

question: where do you buy your crap?

mompoet - shopping local and small whenever possible

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Festival's Done

Today is Sunday and the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word is over. It was one of the biggest and best things with which I have ever been involved. Our finals night was spectacular. Any of the teams could have won, they were all that good, but in the end Vancouver Team 2 (the one I was rooting for) was declared champion.

This week has been unbelievably rich for me. Up until now my only exposure to spoken word artists not from Vancouver has been when they have featured at the Vancouver Slam. I have not toured or gone to a major competition. Finally all of these people and experiences that I have only heard about came to Vancouver and I got to be there and be part of it. I have met so many new friends and seen performance styles and talents that have filled me with awe and inspiration.

Another wonderful thing about this week was the volunteers. Ottawa poet John Akpata called them our "army of peace," which I think is a perfect description. They hosted poets in their homes, drove them in from the airport, solicited donations, put up posters and helped at the events. Volunteers worked the door, info table, merchandise table, bar and lineup. They were timekeepers and scorekeepers for the competition and they made sure the poets were welcomed and taken care of at every event. They worked with dedication, team spirit and a great sense of fun. They all seemed to feel lucky to be doing the job, which made me feel very very happy because that was my goal for working with them.

Most of all, I have loved working with my Vancouver Poetry House friends to make this festival happen. I'm not sure if we really knew what we were getting into when we started this project almost two years ago, but the process has been as important as the actual festival. I am inspired by the talent, creativity, hard work and good will of this small but mighty group. When I think about how I feel about them, I can understand what the volunteers have been saying to me this week. Lucky, lucky, lucky... Randy, Jim, Sean, Chrystalene, Emily, Steve, Graham, Brendan, Angus, Barbara, Daniel, Matthew, Rowan, Joee, Kevin, Darek. You are beyond wonderful. I am blessed to know you.

The day after the festival I am proud and happy and also sad that it is over. My friend Irene checked in with me yesterday to make sure I wan't going to feel too sad. So far I am okay, although I had a couple of moments near the end of last evening when it hit me that we wouldn't have this to look forward to any more. Today I'm kind of bobbing up and down with alternating joy and deflation. But there are other projects on the horizon. I'm leaving this one immeasurably richer and more grateful than I can say.

question: what do you do on the day after Christmas?

mompoet - glad, sad and glad (mostly glad)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Coming up for air

Today is Day 3 of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver. We have enjoyed 2 fabulous evening events and 1 great day show. All but 2 of the artists are here (I'm picking the last 2 up this morning and taking them to my Mom and Dad's house where they will be billetted). The performances have been beyond amazing. The volunteers are spectacular. It's my job to coordinate the volunteer help, and they are making it so easy. My Poetry House friends who are organizing the festival are wonderful to work with - everyone is pitching in and sharing the work and the enjoyment of these days.

I took the week off work, but I still have my husband and the kids here, so I'm staying away from Wednesday's day event. The kids are home from school while the teachers are still on strike, and I want to spend the day with them after I get the poets in from the airport. Daughter has been waiting for me to take her to the yarn store to buy some new colours. (She taught herself to knit over the Thanksgiving weekend.) Son really needs a haircut, and just wants some time to talk to me about politics and sports, his two passions. Husband is grateful that I came home early from Wednesday night's show, partly because he doesn't sleep well (or at all) until I come home, and he leaves for work at 4:30am. Partly because he needs to know that he is just as important to me as this festival.

Tonight I'll be back in the game. If you are in Vancouver and you haven't made plans to come to a show, please do. Day events at Vancouver Community College are free. Evening events run from $12-$15. Some of these poets you will only see together in one show maybe once a year at a nationals competition somewhere, and even then probably not. This is performance poetry, comedy, storytelling - all accessible and available for you here in Vancouver. It's so good.

Our website tells more. Please check it out.

Now I'm going to eat porridge and get dressed and drive to the airport, then take kids for yarn and a haircut, then almost certainly a Szechuan lunch.

question: heard any good stories lately?

mompoet - of the running-over cup

Monday, October 10, 2005

Good article about the teacher's strike

A parent's view in The Tyee

question: what will the future hold for our children

mompoet - supporting the teachers who are supporting the interests of the kids

Rainy Day Leafscapes in a Place Too Beautiful for Words

question: have you seen the Fall?

mompoet - appreciative

Sunday, October 09, 2005

And now for something lighter

At supper tonight the kids proposed a set of theme days to make life at the office more fun and less stressful for the grown-ups:

Monday - Marijuana Monday
Tuesday - Tequila Tuesday
Wednesday - Naked Wednesday
Thursday - Tuscan Thursday (in which everyone flies to Tuscany for the day)
Friday - Freestyle Friday (your choice)

Note: These choices are satirical and in no way reflect the behaviour of the actual family or friends of mompoet or mompoet's co-workers...(daughter says to insert "wink wink" here).

It does say something, however, that this was part of Thanksgiving Supper table conversation at Grandma and Grandpa's house and nobody was sent out of the room.

question: who made these kids the way they are?

mompoet - I know, my fault

How to talk to your kids about sex

It never fails. Well-fed children driving home in the dark will talk about anything. Tonight my 12 and 15 year old peppered me with questions about abortion. (This after I told them that the movie that Andy and I plan to watch on dvd tonight is Vera Drake.) So now they know how abortions are performed, why a woman might choose to have an abortion, a bit about the moral and legal issues surrounding abortion and some of the history of the anti-abortion and pro-choice movements in the US and Canada...whew! All that while driving home from Grandma and Grandpa's house after Thanksgiving supper. They discussed it and began to formulate their own positions on the issue, realising that it is complex. We talked about what it would take to make this a non-issue (so eliminating even the question of the need for abortions) - adequate strategies for prevention of unwanted pregnancies, especially for young women; scientific advances to improve the life-outlook for people born with disabilities; viable options for pregnancy support and adoption; and a societal change in attitude about love, sex and responsibility for pregnancy...I don't have the answers to all this, but I'm glad my kids are curious and engaged and thoughtful about it and I'm grateful that they will ask me these questions. I should drive them around more in the dark.

question: how do you talk to your kids about life's big questions?

mompoet - turkey-assisted mom-talker

church is good

I was tempted to sleep in today. The pillow felt so good and I knew an extra two hours would set me up for a really "filled-up-with-rest" feeling that I enjoy so much on the weekend. But I went to church, as I do by habit except when I'm out of town or for the occasional volunteer job.

Boy am I glad I went. Church is like going to the gym. It's strange, but investing an hour or two there seems to give me more time to do things during the week. Surrounded by my church community, and just thinking about God, I am reassured that I can do whatever it is that I need to do. It's not so much that I see a righteous path, it's more like I believe better in my own ability to follow it. I do pray during the week, but going to church is different. It's like a big lens that focuses the spiritual energy and tells me, "It's okay to be confused, or frightened, or frustrated, or filled with joy, or all of them at the same time. You can handle it because God is with you, believing in you as you believe in God."

Today in church I felt that way. Taking a couple of hours away from busy-ness and some challenges reminded me that I am made to do what I'm doing and I can do it with joy, and confusion and fear and frustration and sometimes all of them together and that's okay.

question: where do you find courage?

mompoet - well and able

Thursday, October 06, 2005

what to do after you buy a gigantic bag of broccoli at costco

onions, garlic, olive oil, soup stock, potatoes, broccoli for the last 10 minutes, s&p, puree, real cream. mmmm

question: who for such dainties would not stoop?

mompoet - beautiful beautiful


My friend Robin will get her university diploma (BGS) tomorrow. She has studied, one course at a time, juggling this with work (she works with me - so it can't be all bad), a baby (now in grade 1) a husband (who does the dishes) 2 dogs and assorted other happy obligations (did I mention she helps care for preschool nephew and twin nieces?)

Anyway. She made it.


You are smart and brave and optimistic and kind. You are a fine priority-picker and an example of grace under pressure. You managed teething+midterms, performance reviews+distance education, daycare+essays, car repairs and renovations+registration. You are amazing, inspiring, a treasure, a gem, absolutely fabulous.

I'll be a big mushball at your convocation tomorrow and I won't be able to say any of this, so I thought I'd just go ahead and make it public. And just in case you're getting a bit mushy right now, I can fix that. Here's your boyfriend. Look at these guys. What about this??? Or this???

There. Now we're laughing again.

I love-a love-a you! Congratulations.

question - did you ever feel so proud of someone you could just burst?

mompoet - just proud, that's all

Talking Turkey

In which I fess up that I do not like English food.

Well, that's not too much of a revelation. I participate in the feasting, but look forward more to the soup than the actual meal. Here's my rundown of Thanksgiving foods from least to most-beloved.

mashed potatoes - Is this glue? or babyfood? It seems like something that should be served by a tube, not with a fork. And gravy - I don't get that either - sauce that tastes like the stuff that you're putting it on? Hmmm.

gerkins - I love pickles, but gerkins are pickle wannabes. I'm urkin' about that gerkin. Sounds like a jerkin, which is a jacket, not a lewd act, by the way.

shrimp cocktail - Shrimp is lovely but I like it warm with spicy sauce, not in a cup on iceberg lettuce looking like a lab specimen.

stuffing - We always make a whole bunch and then we have a whole bunch left over, then we throw it away when it is fossilized (with the fossilized gravy).

buns - tend to be white and knobby at Thanksgiving for some reason. I really love bread, but with potatoes and stuffing it's overkill. Something for the kids I guess, who have the sense not to take the items that they don't enjoy. One consolation - real butter...mmmmmm.

any overcooked vegetable - beans, brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. The bounty of the season is a sad thing when it is boiled for 15 minutes. Ditto for frozen brussels sprouts which come out of the bag without a chance of yumminess.

turkey - which is kind of like coffee, smelling better than it actually tastes. And you get a plank of it on your plate. If it's dry you have to coat it in that gravy so it will slide down. Fortunately my mom and mom-in-law and even I know how to roast it so it is not dry, but still, it's yummiest moment is when it's still in the oven, or after it's done - turkey-picking is yummy - little bits out of the fridge, then the soup. Ah...the soup.

cranberry sauce - I think it's something to make the turkey go down better - like hiding a penicillin pill in a glob of jam. My mom used to do that when I was little. I love cranberries in muffins but not so much on the side of the plate with meat. Cranberry sauce is okay if it's the kind with berries in it. The strained jelly kind is in the same category with mashed potatoes.

pumpkin pie - with whipped cream - could eat a whole one. won't.

yams - whoever invented these had the right idea - sweet and flavourful and substantial. Makes the potatoes look like idiots.

brussel sprouts done right - just cooked not boiled to death

salad - some people think it's crazy to have a salad on top of all of this, but I think a salad is very good at Thanksgiving - like a summary of summer goodness. And if there's leftover you can put some turkey on it and take it to work. And use real good salad dressing - not gravy.

I once invented a lasagne from holiday leftovers - It had turkey and stuffing in between the layers of noodles, and white cheeses and white sauce and slivered almonds. It was good, but mostly because of the noodles and the fact that the turkey and stuffing was not so concentrated.

Heading into Thanksgiving I know I will enjoy the meal, and just wait. There will be soup.

Beautiful, beautiful soup.

question - how does the feast stack up for you? favourites? non-favourites?

mompoet - thinking about soup

Monday, October 03, 2005

Damn Spam

My blog is getting spam comments at the rate of 3-5 per day. I guess that means I'm popular, but not in a good way. I don't think there's much I can do about it, except delete it. But just for the record, neither I nor you, my friends and family and any friendly strangers who read this blog, need info about fast college degrees, nine west shoes (what are those, anyway?), Halloween masks, used tent trailers, antique collectibles, or making my penis larger with a pill.

question: we don't, do we?

mompoet - tired of tinned smashed meat

comfort food

Daughter has a cold. Last night she sang in a hurricane relief benefit concert. At supper time she wanted chicken noodle soup and orange juice. I have also been giving her echinacia and lots of water, and I made her eat broccoli, which she likes, but it didn't occur to her to ask for it when she has a cold.

When I have a cold or I'm feeling sorry for myself, I want pasta with butter and salt and parmesan cheese. I drink water. My son's a pasta guy too. Andy eats toast.

On the way home from the concert, daughter ate salt and vinegar potato chips, which we both love, and we sang our silly going-home-from-something-good song (she sings backup to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" while I sing a story about what we've just done in a very high and gurgly voice). We both killed ourselves laughing.

Sometimes when you feel yucky a couple of little things like that will make it bearable. I'm glad my girl and I speak the same language of comfort.

question - what do you eat when you feel yukky?

mompoet - flannel pajamas and socks that my mom knit for me

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A good, good day

They came, we planted. It was good. I made it to Saturday, grateful for a sunny afternoon with lots of help from everyone involved in the project. About 100 people walked up the trail to the meadow and dug in to plant native ferns and shrubs and small trees near the banks of Eagle Creek. Fabulous volunteers helped put up signs, serve hot chocolate, paint faces, lug pots and shovels and dig, dig, dig. A couple of local politicians came and one media person, but mostly it was the moms and kids and adults of all ages, sharing in the work of bringing a bit of nature to the city. Evergreen is a wonderful organization that does this full time. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with their good people. This day could have been a royal disaster due to my oversight about booking the facility. I'm grateful that I detected my error in time to fix it, and even more grateful for all of the people who cheerfully came to my aid with the recovery plan. I am happy and relieved and glad that it is Sunday. I hope that I get a chance to do this again.

question: how was your Saturday?

mompoet - breathing out gently

Saturday, October 01, 2005

what are you doing the week after thanksgiving?

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word happens October 11-15 in Vancouver. For 5 nights and 4 days we will have performance poets and stoytellers from across Canada, the US and other places, all sharing their talent in a celebration of spoken word.

Here's the website:

Festival passes are now available at Magpie Magazines on Commercial and Duthie Books on 4th. They cost $55 for all five nights - poems for a song! Individual events are priced on a sliding scale, $12-15 for the first four evenings, $15-20 for finals night on Saturday October 15.

I'm helping out with volunteer coordination. If you would like to help, please get in touch (there's a link on the website). The schedule is almost full, but there are still jobs to do. We also need people who live in Vancouver who can host poets in their homes for a few days, and people with cars who can do a pick-up or drop-off at the airport.

It's going to be the most amazing show.

question: who is you favourite poet?

mompoet - peeking over the hill at the glorious, glorious (did I say glorious?) mountain