Wednesday, November 30, 2005

a little sex before bedtime

Kathy gave me the latest Diana Gabaldon novel A Breath of Snow and Ashes for my birthday. If you haven't read any of her stuff (admit it if you have, it's okay), it's a happy notch and a half above bodice-ripper. My friend's mum calls it a "crotch warmer." I'm saving it for Christmas break, but I couldn't help skimming some "Claire on Jamie" foreplay, just as an appetizer. Here it is:

I ran my hand up his sleeve, exploring, clinging, relearning his body. I touched the hair in his oxter and stroked it, surprised at the soft, silky feel of it.
"Do you know," I said, "I don't believe I've ever touched you there before?"
"I dinna believe ye have," he said, with a hint of nervous laughter in his voice. "I would ha' remembered. Oh!" A stipple of gooseflesh burst out over the soft skin there, and I pressed my forehead to his chest.
"The worst of it is," I said, into his shirt, "that I knew them. Each one of them. And I'll remember them. And feel guilty that they're dead, because of me."
"No," he said softly, but very firmly. "They are dead because of me, Sassenach. And because of their own wickedness. If there is guilt, let it rest upon them. Or on me."
"Not on you alone," I said, my eyes still closed. it was dark in there, and soothing. I could hear my voice, distant but clear, and wondered dimly where the words were coming from. "You're blood of my blood, bone of my bone. You said so. What you do rests on me, as well."
"Then may your vow redeem me," he whispered.
He lifted me to my feet and gathered me to him, like a tailor gathering up a length of fragile, heavy silk--slowly, long-fingered, fold upon fold. He carried me then across the room, and laid me gently on the bed, in the light from the flickering fire.

question: what's your guilty reading pleasure?

mompoet - looking forward to a happy wallow

ps Thank you Kathy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

They won't give me a job at Hallmark

Long famed for its progressive approach to criminal incarceration and rehabilitation, Winnipeg Manitoba is the scene of this snow reunion. Here, a snow woman, sentenced to life in prison for bad makeup and inedible buttons, visits with her two year old daughter, who attends daycare on the prison grounds.

That is my idea of good copy for a Christmas card. Watch out if you are on my list, I have 13 in all, one for each province or territory. If you are lucky, you will receive one. Hallmark does not know what it is missing.

question: wouldn't it be fun to have your own greeting card company and be able to say whatever you want and people would buy it and give it to their friends?

mompoet - silly

shhhhh it's my birthday

It's not that I want to keep it a secret. I love it when people remember my birthday and call me or send a card or give me a hug and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY. But right this moment I am enjoying some real quiet (especially now that the little caterpillar snow plow has finished scraping our street about 100 times). I have the day off work, and my husband is working and the kids are at school. The animals sleep all day so it is very quiet here. I am wasting time doing as little as possible. Actually I just found a whole bunch of google images of snowmen for my 2005 Christmas Card series "Snowmen in Canada." I also watched tv for a little while, but that was too noisy. Soon I will go to Kirsi's for a cup of tea. When I get home the house will be noisy again, but with people who I love so that is just fine. And they will hug me and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! so that is really fine.

If I was a stay-at-home mom I might get used to this, and not notice how nice this is. But today I am noticing and appreciating. I'm going to stop now. The keyboard is too noisy. shhhhh

question: when do you find quiet time?

mompoet - peaceful

Monday, November 28, 2005


How to disentangle pasta

How to roast a marshmallow

How to make "Beet Surprise Cake"

How to use an oven properly - an amazing technique using only 3 letters!

How to become a college professor

How to become a CIA agent
(comes with a warning - "this career is potentially life-threatening")

How to become an astronaut

How to protect chickens from predators

How to get the men in your house to put the toilet seat down
(warning - this one advocates withholding sex until the toilet seat gets put down - but it's confusing because the topic is "how to get the men in your house to...." what kind of a house is this?)

How to tell a knock-knock joke

How to greet the Pope

question: what the???

mompoet - you can do anything (maybe not very well, but you can do it)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The beginning of advent

I usually miss the first Sunday of Advent at church because it is also the Sunday morning after my Saturday night birthday celebration. The last time I was in church for the beginning of Advent was 4 years ago, and I know that because it was the day the Alex, Fiona and I were baptized.

I had sort of planned to sleep in this morning, thinking of it as a birthday treat to myself. A "pajama morning" is a special favourite of mine, and now that Fiona is going to Saturday rehearsals, I have to be up and out the door pretty early on the what used to be pajama-newspaper-coffee day. And after an evening of good food and wine and staying up late, a sleep-in is a good thing.

Andy and I went out for birthday supper Saturday night (his and mine - his birthday is November 4, and he opted for a poker-with-the-guys night over a restaurant on his birthday weekend). It was very nice and long and slow and we talked and talked. Work is slowing down for him. XMen is still shooting, but he's not crazy busy like last November/December when they were rushing to get White Noise finished. Anyway, we had some good pasta and some beer but not too much and partway through I decided that I did want to go to church in the morning after all. I talked to him about it. After all, the sleeping in is partly a treat for him too. Being a morning person, I am inclined to spring out of bed like some crazy wind-up toy. Andy loves it when I stay and snuggle and snooze as he prefers to do.

I told him about how I feel about church on Sundays and what it does for me. Mostly it gives me courage. At church I am reminded of how I am loved and protected by God, and also of my responsibility to love and protect others in the world. It's not black and white. Most times I leave the service less certain but more reassured, if that's possible. I'm not positive who I am meant to be or what the ultimate meaning is in my life, but I have an idea of the direction I should be going, and reassurance that I am part of a community that shares that commitment. Reading the bible, praying, singing together helps me pick up a welcome burden and get on with it for another week. It also reminds me of how grateful I am for the world and the people around me and my own self.

Compared to that, a couple of hours sleep/pajama time just doesn't seem like such a great thing. Andy told me that he understands, it's okay, go. Thank goodness for that.

So I went to church and it was beautiful. Members of the congregation read passages about the significance of our various Christmas season symbols: the bells, candles, holly, poinsettias, evergreen trees. The bible readings were all about promise and waiting. The first of the advent candles was lit - for hope, and we all hung ornaments on the Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Best of all, for the first time since last year we sang the hymns from the first pages of our hymn book - the ones with the little numbers, for the advent season. I was reminded of why this is one of my favourite times of year, and I felt the same sense of mystery and promise that I did on the day of my baptism.

So there it is, my Sunday morning, filled with hope and glad for my choice.

question: none today

mompoet - blessed

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I almost forgot

Sometimes at our birthdays we take new names - just for that evening. Like when we played Lazer tag we all adopted warrior names. Well, in keeping with last night's activity, here are our temporary names:

Michele - Buffy Parker
Kathy - Bootsie Trifle
me - Tasha Pomegranate

question: did you ever have an alias?

mompoet - aka Tasha

Things my friends have not made me do (yet)

Last night Michele and Kathy took me out for my surprise birthday evening. They told me to dress in stretchy comfortable clothing, to not be concerned about footwear and to not drive. Andy dropped me off at Michele's office with some instructions: "No tattoos, no piercing...." Michele asked if there was anything that he would like to see and he said, "Naked?" Michele just laughed and we drove away.

Michele got her navel pierced at one of our birthday evenings. But that was her idea. Michele and Kathy campaigned for a couple of years to get me to smoke marijuana on my birthday but I made it clear that I do happy, giddy, surreal, and imaginative just fine without a drug so I they gave up on that one and I'm a pot virgin still at almost 44. What did they have planned for this year?

I was actually worried that we were going to the climbing wall. It's out in Maple Ridge near Kathy's house. I know I'm probably strong enough now that I could make it, but I'm not crazy about heights, and I have this awful picture in my mind of some 20-something gal or guy belaying me, then I lurch and yank his/her arm out of the socket or something. Yuk.

We started by going to Kathy's house. We had some wine and I gave the girls their gifts - leopard fleece scarved that I sewed. I made myself one too. They are snazzy and also very warm. Kathy said, we should bring these. We might be able to use them. Hmmm. Are we going skating? I asked? NOPE.

Then we drove into beautiful downtown Maple Ridge and we parked and got out and still they wouldn't tell me what we were doing. I saw a very scary sign but we did not go there.

mompoet - to be continued...

Pole Dancing

We passed by the body piercing place (thank goodness) and here we were at Curves Fitness Studio (which I've never been to before, so I thought this is interesting but no great shakes). We went in and surprise! It was a pole dancing class. It was fun. So much fun. Three times I was lying on the floor laughing and that did not count the time I fell on my ass at the pole, so four! The pictures pretty much tell the story. Pole dancing is a fitness craze now, with classes starting up in clubs but also available for home parties, bachelorette bashes etc. For us, it was just Kathy, Michele, me, and three ladies who worked at Curves, including the pole dancing teacher. We shimmied and sashayed and swung round the pole and hooted and stuffed money in each others' pants and, well, I guess you had to be there. I have a hoarse throat from laughing and yelling so that's the sign of a good time. Afterwards we went back to Kathy's and had supper and more wine, and presents, and we made crafts (I made a pot chick and Kathy and Michele made a leaf fairy and a bead fairy). Thank you Kathy and Michele. You are the best. That was too much fun.

question: how much fun can a birthday be?

mompoet - still discovering how much

Friday, November 25, 2005


It occurred to her that people were starting to look funny at her when they said thank you and it didn’t feel good. Like when the taste goes away from ice cream and music sounds inside-out.
But when she mailed herself a letter with a stamped self-addressed envelope enclosed, not counting on a reply, she understood.
The world is hungry, she said
But I have just two tits and they’re both spoken-for
And besides they’re empty
And besides I can’t find the key
Because she’d left it under the doormat which she didn’t want to be but ever since people had stopped looking funny to her when they said thank you she was no longer sure.

It occurred to her that she could stop for a minute or maybe a few
Stop hauling the rocks she was hauling from one side of the bridge to the other
And back again
Stop because she had lost count anyway, so even when the bridge did fall, her results would be inconclusive
And she said, the world is hungry
But we just used up the soup and I’m out of bowls
And who said I could cook anyway
And besides, nobody had anointed her the queen of philanthropy she’d just volunteered, written the job description herself
And her feet hurt from kicking broccoli under the doormat and from jumping on it to make sure it flattened down okay

It occurred to her that the list of people waiting for soup was not her list, and while her help with the stirring was welcome, nobody would mind if she ceded the ladle
That the rocks would eventually roll down the hill and land where they landed and nobody would notice when she stood up and said
Look! Rocks! They should not be so rocky like that. It’s unjust
Because most people were planting broccoli and washing out their doormats, or bleaching them and beating them on the rocks to get the dust out
And the dust was mixing in with the soup but that was okay
Because she had only one tit and it was on hiatus and the other one was a disguising itself as an elbow
So she stopped.

question: why

mompoet - why not

seismic activity?

Yesterday at 3pm the dog was trembling. Alex noticed it, so I suggested the "peanut butter spoon" approach. Boy and dog sat on the floor for about five minutes. By the time the spoon was licked clean the dog was feeling calm again, as reported by the boy.

The only things that scare Soleil are cameras, thunder and firecrackers. There were none apparent at the time. I remembered that there was a small earthquake on Wednesday, felt in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. I wonder if the dog was picking up on some lingering seismic activity. Or maybe she's figured it out, and she just wanted some peanut butter.

question: did the earth move?

mompoet - the only time I have ever noticed actual seismic activity was back in the 70s. I was home alone reading The Exorcist and wump! the house moved about a foot to the left. That was creepy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

sweet mysteries

My dear friends Kathy and Michele are planning a birthday celebration for me and they won't tell me what it is, which makes it delightful. I am instructed to arrive at Michele's office on Friday at 5:30 with no car, and dressed in "sweats and a tshirt - something loose and comfortable." When I asked about footwear I was told, "Don't worry, you're not going to do a workout." So now I'm wondering what they have planned.

The easy clothing suits me fine, no matter what the plan may be. A couple of years ago Michele cooked me a birthday supper at her house, and I showed up at 7pm in my pajamas.

One year, Michele picked me up at work (in warm clothes, not pajamas). She took me to a city park in the dark where her husband was cooking spaghetti on the Coleman stove. There was a tablecloth, candles, wine glasses and a campfire for marshmallows. That was my most memorable birthday surprise.

The other part of birthdays is that the birthday woman always gives gifts to the other two. I would say what I have planned but I know Kathy and Michele sometimes read this blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise. I'll just give a clue: It's cheap, I'm making it myself. You Can't Return It!!! Doesn't that sound nice?

For my gift to myself I am taking a few days off work with no definite plans. Ahhh, sweet mysteries of life.

question: can you remember a good surprise?

mompoet - glad to have friends who feed my love of play, mystery and suspense

ps Michele and Kathy think it's funny to wait until I am drunk then ask me to recite a poem

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

imagine this fog

from way up above - miles high in the sky
It probably looks like a lemon meringue pie on a sky blue tablecloth with the sun shining down ready to eat it. We are the lemon custard underneath.

question: did you ever think of it this way?

mompoet - relating everything to food, as usual

the twins are

Fred and George Weasley. Duhhh-ope! I saw the movie Friday night then dreamed of birthing twins on Saturday night. Could it be?

ps one more twin sighting on tv - watched tv a total of 5 minutes Monday evening and it was a mom going on about her two year old twins sneaking out of the house in their diapers.

question: can you say obsessive?

mompoet - kicking at cosmic clumps of silly synchonicity

Monday, November 21, 2005

if you're happy and you know it clap your rat

Nelson sent me another letter today. He's been home for 24 hours. This makes me very happy. Now I know what Nelson wants to do next.

question: does Whistler have a rat-pass special?

mompoet - imagining rat-ventures

more twinss

My first voicemail of the day at work on Monday morning was from a mother of twins asking about preschool registration. So now I'm thinking about twins. Could the twins be Jacob and Esau from the bible? hmmmm Surely they are not Mary-Kate and Ashley or those ghastly Bush girls. What twin reference is tugging at my sub-conscious enough to make actual twins dog my trivia-sticky detail-destractible psyche? hmmm???

question: who two is the two who pursue?

mompoet - cross-eyed

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Nelson is back

Some time late this afternoon, Nelson returned. He was waiting outside the door at supper time so I let him in. Now he is sitting on my kitchen counter. I'll wait for a clue from him about whether he wants to travel or stay home. He's pretty quiet about his adventure, but I think he liked Victoria.

I'm grateful that he got to go on this journey with a kindly neighbour. I am still working out the clues as to who it might have been. I think maybe that he found a family who has a dog, because Nelson does like dogs and also I noticed a blanket in the photo of the inside of the vehicle. I also think that he must have been hanging out with at least one vegetarian. As well, I think he found a family that is, like him (and me), left of centre politically. Now if I could just figure out why I hear rock and roll guitar echoes when I hold Nelson up to my ear, then I'd know for sure who he was with.

question: what next for Nelson?

mompoet - Oh, I have decided to call him by his middle name, as he did in his letter to me from Victoria. His full name is Not Nelson Ratzenwagger. Nelson for short.

dream and real

I had this dream last night. In the dream I was 43 years old (like I am in real life) and pregnant with twins. I dream that I am pregnant fairly frequently, but never before with twins. Also, I am always distressed in my dreams about being pregnant. Heck, I don't want to be pregnant. I'm finished with babies. In those dreams I always worry if I have what it takes to do a good job, and I regret the loss of freedom that a baby brings, and I feel guilty for feeling that way... Anyway, in this dream I was matter of fact and positively cheerful about it. "Twins?" I said, "Great! of course I'll have twins - what else would I have?"

Then at church this morning there was a baptism of twins. I had no idea that a baptism was planned, and I've never seen twins baptised. So it was probably just a coincidence, but I've dreamed real before it happened many times, so I think it probably wasn't.

My friend Helmi writes down all her dreams and thinks about what they mean. I think about what they mean, then I forget them, but I remember patterns and repetitions, and I remember when I dream something then it shows up in real life. I didn't remember the twin dream this morning until the twins came into church. Then it came back to me.

question: what does this dream mean?

mompoet - definitely not pregnant

Councillor Brent

Our friend Brent Asmundson was elected to Coquitlam City Council yesterday. We were at his house last night to watch the election results come in. That was very exciting, with a marvellous happy ending - or beginning, depending on how you look at it. Brent got a call about 15 minutes after the last poll was in. It was the City Manager advising him that he will be needed at City Hall all day Monday for orientation then for swearing in at a council meeting Monday night. "Plan on being here from 10am-9pm," he said.

Congratulations Brent, and thank you for your willingness to give your time, energy and talent to the community in this way.

question: didja vote?

mompoet - proud and grateful

more happy mail

The package that my parents mailed to my sister and her family in Africa finally arrived. We were sure that it had been lost or stolen by this time as weeks had gone by since it was posted at great expense. They are enjoying the goodies and practical things (a frisbee, powdered milk, plastic containers with lids, tank tops) and have requested chocolate. I can manage that!

Also, they sent a new blog installment which I posted on their blog for them to save them time waiting for dial-up connnection and a turn on a shared computer. If you are curious about their adventure you can read it here.

They say it never rains but it pours. The mail (and email) has been very good to us this week.

question: is there some physical law that explains why things cluster?

mompoet - if there isn't, I'm going to make one up

Friday, November 18, 2005

Is the goblet half full or half empty?

We just got home from watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I'll start by saying there's just not enough Hagrid in this movie. When Hagrid appeared, my daughter whispered in my ear, "There's your boyfriend." But the story about Hagrid and Madame Maxime, being a subplot, was almost completely skipped over. The Harry-Voldemort encounter was medium-good and the underwater sequence was stunning, especially knowing that there were no stunt swimmers for Daniel Radcliffe who had to learn how to swim underwater for the movie. The mer-people were beautiful and creepy. The third part of the tri-wizard tournament in the maze was technically cool but so disjointed that I just felt frustrated watching it. Mad-Eye Moody was neat, and it was great to see Moaning Myrtle in the bathtub with Harry. The new characters, Victor Krum, Fleur Delacourt and Cedric Digory were well-cast and engaging, but there was not time for development as the movie raced to fit the story in without being 22 hours long. The coming-of-age love story with Harry, Ron and Hermione getting dates to the Yule Ball felt like a different movie plunked into the middle of an adventure story and was edited in seeming random fashion. It's felt like somebody argued about putting more or fewer sequences in then they just gave up and walked away before getting it right short or long.

If you love Harry Potter I would still recommend that you see it in the theatre, but it's definitely a disappointment, especially after The Prisoner of Azkaban. We didn't even get to see the first 3 dragon fights! Which reminds me, with the exception of one dragon and the mermaids, a couple of brief owl snapshots and Draco being transfigured into a ferret, there were not enough creatures, magical or otherwise. But I guess that's just another way of saying, not enough Hagrid.

question: why do we always watch the movie when we know it can never be the book?

mompoet - heart still open to the Potter stuff, despite it all

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A letter from Nelson

question: who is happier? Nelson or mompoet?

mompoet - giddy as a thin-tailed squirrel

A letter from Eritrea

Hooray, hooray, hooray! Our very first letter from Africa arrived today. It's in one of those thin airmail mailers that you write on then seal up so the paper makes its own envelope. It was written on October 26. Here's a bit of what Barbara says:

The boys have....made some friends who want to hang out with them all the time. It's a huge relief as I was wondering if we'd make it to Christmas. It's nice to have kids playing around the house again! Kids play differently here - much rougher - and rock-throwing is a favourite pastime - but the boys have found some gentler friends who like to play soccer, basketball and Leggo (a big hit). Maya has one good friend and also likes to hang out with the VSO volunteers in their 20s who include her a lot. Our friend Saba is teaching her to make a purse. She's into crafts, so Maya likes to do things with her. Saba is also a famous poet. She's performed a couple of times for us. If you come, Sue, I'm sure you'll hit it off.

And this

A typical day in Keren: We're awakened throughout the night by Muslim prayers, which will hopefully tone down a bit after Ramadan. We're up at six to make tea and cut/fry bread (depending on how stale it its) for breakfast. The kids are off to school at 7:00, then Kim and I head off about 7:45 after tidying up (don't want food around for the bugs) and listening to BBC world service. We're off work around 12:00 then bike up the slow hill under the hot sun to our home at the top end of town. Sometimes we stop at the market on the way for fruit, vegis etc. Titi is our favourite vendor - our staples are onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, bananas (little ones), guava, hot peppers and pumpkin. We have rice, pasta and bread as our starches. You have to shop every few days as the fridge is small and things go bad fast.


New sights, nice people and everything being new makes every day an adventure. Today some goats got into the yard and started eating our guava tree.

It feels so good to hold a letter in my hand. I must write more often to them. I remember now: feeling and reading and smelling and carrying around something from someone you love who is far away is a powerful good feeling.

question: how soon will we see them again?

mompoet - loving long distance

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

there's this book in my hands

like a baby bird whose feathers have not yet grown in. it's white and plain and it's everything it will be when it is ready, only more exciting, because it is on the edge of becoming

I am the second pair of eyes, post copy-editing for My Mother and Other Lies, the sixth chapbook of the Shoreline Writers' Society. It will be printed soon. It will be beautiful, filled with stories and poems that are ready to take flight.

I will remember it like it is right now, naked and simple and just on the edge of becoming real.

question: why is "just before it happens" always the best part?

momopoet - incubating

ps Thank you Helmi, Thank You Fred

Lock Down

I got locked inside an elementary school Tuesday afternoon. I arrived at the school at 2:45 to start up an afterschool program. All of the doors were locked and the blinds shut. The janitor let me in, along with the program leader and a bunch of parents. We were made to wait in the gym. The principal came in and explained that there was an incident at the Lougheed Mall, just a few blocks away, and that 4 local schools were in "lockdown" procedure.

The children stayed in their classrooms with their teachers. Parents and miscellaneous other adults like me stayed in the gym. A district principal showed up pretty soon to help keep order and answer parents' questions. At 3:20 the police phoned the school and said it was okay to dismiss the kids.

I found out later that a man tried to use a bad credit card at the mall. When a security guard confronted him he ran outside and fired a gun back at the guard. The police tried to find him but they were unsuccessful. The schools were locked down to eliminate the risk of fleeing gunman and pursuing police encountering kids walking home from the 3 elementary schools and one secondary school near the mall.

By 3:40 the children had made it to the community room and they were beginning to assemble their treasure chests in Kids Construction. Our two volunteers had hurried over from the high school. Everything seemed to be back to normal.

question: what language do they speak in Thailand? Is it called Thai? There was a Thai Grandma who didn't speak English, but luckily one of the ESL teachers knew how to say "No problem" and that seemed to help her feel better...

mompoet - wondering about the world

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Laughter Yoga

Today at work we had a "trends" workshop for rec programmers. It was pretty interesting - presentations by Brian Johnston from PERC (Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants) and Suzanne Strutt of BCRPA (BC Recreation and Parks Association) and results of a customer preferences and participation survey. Okay, it was interesting but it was loooonnnnngggg. By 12:15 I was wiggling and yawning and I had already taken a couple of mental vacations to more interesting places. Then my friend Rhonda Jackson from Bonsor got up to do a presentation about hot new fitness activities. We heard about "nordic walking" (vigourous trailwalking with ski poles - aka dork-fit - I added that last part). We also tried drumming fitness aka Taiko-Fit, but that's copyrighted. We banged on giant rubber balls with drum sticks. That was fun and it make my arms and shoulders nice and warm. The best was laughter yoga. Rhonda got us to try a bit of it. She said we had to "fake it until we make it," or make ourselves laugh until we really started laughing. So we had to walk around the room and bow Asian-style to each person we met, maintain eye contact and bring up a belly laugh. Wow. That was easy. I was killing myself laughing from the first encounter. That made everything feel warm and good. Rhonda reminded us that children laugh 300 times a day and adults laugh 15 times a day. She said that adults often laugh little tiny chest laughs when belly laughs are the beneficial kind. She told us how it lowers stress and blood pressure and improves overall physical and mental health. Also, one hour of laughing burns 500 calories. Huhhh? Wow, I'd better keep laughing or I'm going to blimp out for sure. I told my friends, "See that's why I'm so skiiiinnnnnyyy." They laughed.

question: how often do you laugh each day?

mompoet - I don't need lessons but I enjoy practising anytime

Monday, November 14, 2005

yeti plays with his spam too

Yeah! Matthew Baldwin likes to play with spam too. I'm not the only one. Check out Defective Yeti for November 10 (you might have to scroll down).

question: doesn't it feel good when you find out that someone else is fixated on the same trivia that's got you distracted/obsessed/playing with your peas at supper?

mompoet - I know, I know, it's not all about me

Saturday, November 12, 2005

2 dozen jars done and I still have my fingerprints

The last time I made pickled garlic was just about a year ago at Myrna's house. The good part about it was that it was Myrna's house. Cathy and Kirsi and Karen were there too. There was wine and sushi and good cheese and we laughed and cooked together. The bad part was the burning off of the fingertips. A couple of the ladies had brought latex gloves - more for odor protection than anything else. It turned out that we all should have had them. We did not know how harsh garlic juice is. I've been cooking with garlic all my life - but only a couple of cloves at a time. Peeling a few hundred was a new and painful experience. I ended up wearing bandaids on all of my fingers to lessen the contact with skin-removing garlic juice. After the cooking session, my fingertips turned bright red, blistered and then peeled, all over the course of about a week. I swear I had no prints for at least 4 or 5 days. A couple of my freinds had the same bad experience.

We didn't get together this fall for a garlic-a-thon, partly I think because of our last year's trauma. I was missing pickled garlic a lot. It's expensive to buy, but so yummy. Then I found 3 pound jars of peeled garlic cloves at Costco. I bought two for $6 each and made a couple of dozen jars in record time this afternoon - and my fingers feel just fine.

The house is fragrant with brine and garlic. In a couple of weeks the pickles will be mellow and yummy. I like them best this way: smear a small cracker (like a wheat thin) with a gob of plain cream cheese. Top with one whole clove of pickled garlic. Gobble. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Mmmmmmmmm. I like to have a bunch of jars ready for holiday visits and entertaining. People who have never tried it may be reluctant, but once they start, they could eat it with a spoon it's so good.

I'm not sure if these jars of peeled cloves are year-round or seasonal. They list no additional ingredients and come with a dire warning to "refrigerate for safety."

So that's what I did today. Oh yeah, I also put the Halloween decorations in the attic and cleaned the toilets. It was a perfect day. Really.

question: have you tried it?

mompoet - can't wait until it's ready

How to survive the mall on a rainy day in November

A week ago I promised a gaggle of post-rehearsal girls "an afternoon at the mall on Friday November 11." So there I was yesterday, wringing myself out after huddling in the rain at the cenotaph and preparing for a Coquitlam Centre afternoon.

Daughter had coordinated an arrival time with her buddies and a rendezvous point. I had spoken to the moms and gained agreement on the level of security and supervision appropriate for the group. We met and lunched at the food court (a good way to become habituate one's self to the noise level of the mall) then we launched the girls and the other moms left the building, leaving me in charge of the gaggle.

The girls are 10 to 13 years old, 4 of them. The rules are: stay together at all times, make good choices, keep your cell phone in your pocket so you can hear if I call to check on you, be safe and meet me back at the big couches outside of The Gap in one hour. The girls had hardly any money and make a noisy enough phalanx to scare off any potential maurauders. The one hour check-in is a precaution and also a chance for me to gauge how things are going for them as a group. When it gets too late in the afternoon or they begin to show signs of exhaustion and/or bickering, we go home.

So here's what pre-and-just-teen girls do at the mall: ride the kiddie rides, buy stuff out of vending machines (bouncy balls today), do make-overs in clothing stores - each girl gets to prescribe an outfit for one other girl to try on - the more hideous the better, record a message at Speaker's Corner, shop for junk and candy at the dollar store, eat ice cream, buy a group squish photo in the photo booth. Here's what mompoet does at the mall: buy a coffee, find a big chair (the good thing about Coquitlam Centre for me is that there are lots of big cushy chairs and couches in the middle of the mall. There are also big screen tvs with zombies watching them, but I ignore all of that.) Sit in the big chair with the coffee and a good book and tune out the mall and enjoy the book.

My mall book on Friday was Andrea Levy's Small Island, loaned to me by my friend Louise. I'm just beginning it, and it seems very good indeed.

At 3:30 I made the mom-xecutive decision that it was going home time. The protests were pretty feeble so I knew it was a good call. The girls stopped for Yogen Fruz on the way out to we left the parking lot just before 4. I dropped giggling girls off at their homes and arrived back at our home around 5:15. Andy was cooking a turkey supper.

Did I mention I don't like to shop? I think this plan will work for the time being. I noticed a few other moms seemingly doing the same thing, so I guess I'm in good company. Oh well. A good book can get you through almost anything.

question: where do you wait while others romp?

mompoet - happy side-sitter

Friday, November 11, 2005

The anti-cheese now available for your workplace

I have always detested those cheesey framed photos of skydivers and mountain peaks and soaring eagles that are hung by the rah-rah police in places of employment. You know the kind I mean. If you don't, you are either unemployed or you work in the rare place that is blessed by the absence of these pithy platitudinal planks of plunkity-plink-plonk.

Now, thanks to a link sent to me by my dad, who is a mathematician and so a pessimist by nature (not really, but that sounds good and may start a lively discussion), I have discovered an alternative. I would like to hang one up and see how long it takes my co-workers to notice.

question: which is your favourite?

mompoet - really motivated (not pretending by hanging up a stupid sign) most of the time

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I am Elmo

Who are you? And where is the picture of Elmo? Oh well, it's a fun test...


You scored 47% Organization, 85% abstract, and 74% extroverted!

This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert.
By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an
extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was
somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more
about herself.

You are mostly organized, more abstract, and more extroverted.

Most people either love or hate Elmo. I hope you love Elmo, because that's who you are.

You are both somewhat organized. You have a good
idea where you put things and you probably keep your place reasonably
clean. You aren't totally obsessed with neatness though. Elmo has the
same basic approach. His place is pretty tidy, but he doesn't spend all
of his time cleaning it up.

You both are abstract thinkers. You definitely are not afraid to take
chances in life. You only live once. You may notice others around you
playing it safe, but you are more concerned with not compromising your
desires, and getting everything you can out of life. This is a very
romantic approach to life, but hopefully you are also grounded enough
to get by. Elmo's whole life is based on fantasy and his imagination.
In the beginning he was a regular character, but now he spends most of
his time in this fantasy world.

You are both extroverts. Elmo likes to talk talk talk. He'll talk with
people, goldfish, tables, whatever. Without interaction with others he
gets very sad. You definitely enjoy the company of others, and you
don't have problems meeting new people... in fact you probably look
forward to it. You are willing to take charge when necessary or work as
part of a team.

The other possible characters are

Oscar the Grouch

Big Bird

Cookie Monster



Kermit the Frog


The Count

Guy Smiley


If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also if you want
to tell me your favorite Sesame Street character, I can total them up
and post them here. Perhaps your choice will win!

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 18% on Organization
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on concrete-abstra
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 85% on intro-extrovert

Link: The Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

rat skedaddled

Not-Nelson is gone. I hope he finds his way to new adventures.

question: where do you think he went? who helped him?

mompoet - pleased and curious

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

his name is not Nelson

He wants to go to Nelson, and so far, no ride. But he's sitting on Andy's abandoned motorcyle looking roguish, so who knows? I will take a motorcyle photograph of him in the morning when it is only murky in the back of the carport, as opposed to pitch blank like it is right now. Not-Nelson blends in completely with pitch, except for his little red eyes.

And I'm back to blogging about nothing, after 4 computerless days (new power-supply needed). I do not blog at the office because I fear that it would be the first step towards total wastage of city work-time. I think of it like when I leave the trick-or-treat candy bag factory-sealed until the first knock on the door. If I don't start, I will be okay. Same rule applies for potato chips and donuts - just say no. Red wine, mind you, well, that's another story...

But more about Not-Nelson. I will have to get to work on helping him get out of town. My friend Cathy suggested I choose a random name from the City of Nelson phone directory and Canada Post him to that person with a request for a home, and maybe future travel. I think that's cool, but it would also be fun to take him to the Greyhound Station and leave him with a note attached, requesting a ride-along in someone's bag, or maybe abandon him at the airport - no - bad idea. I might get picked up by security cameras and get detained on suspicion of depositing an incendiary device. RAT BOMB!

Sometimes when I go for a walk I leave a penny where I think someone will surely find it, then I check it every time I pass. It is remarkable how long a penny will stay in one spot. Weeks sometimes, once for months in the winter. I wonder how long Not-Nelson would stay if I left him at the bus stop or West Coast Express station?

Poor Not-Nelson. He probably just wants to go sleep in the attic. But he can't tell me. He's a plastic rat-bomb and he can't talk.

question: how can Not-Nelson get out of town?

mompoet - wasting time on my own penny

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Rat hits the road

question: do you think someone will take him?

mompoet - gotta put the Halloween decorations away - better keep rat out of the attic

Friday, November 04, 2005

where in the world

I have been considering where in the world the rat should go:

He could go to Brazil but people would say he's nuts.
He could go to Turkey but he's too chicken.
He could go to Istanbul but we already talked about that.
He could go to Syria but he refuses to take anything seriously.
He could go to Venice but he's afraid of root canals.
He could go to Madrid, but he'd have to buy a bolero.
He could go to Hollywood but he'd have to buy botox.
He could go to Disneyland, but he'd end up in a turf war with that mouse.
He could go to China but it's just too darn big.
He could go to Monaco but it's just too darn small.
He could go to France. It's just right, and good cheese, but too hot in Paris in November.
He could go to Kenya but he's afraid of getting trapped in a Killing-man-jar-o.
He could go to Australia but he's afraid of being mistaken for an underachieving kangaroo.
He could go to Japan but he would get an inferiority complex.
He could go to Germany but he's too messy and unfocussed.
He could to to Holland but he just wouldn't get it.
He could go to Belgium but those hedgehogs...ewww.
He could go to Bolivia but he might get a nosebleed.
He could go to Antarctica, but it's been done.
He could go to Samoa but his ankles are too thin.
He could go to Egypt but he's afraid of the sphynx.
He could go to Scotland but he's still insecure about his pronunciation of the word "scone."
He could stay in Canada, but that's pretty predictable.
He could start close to home then branch out.
This week: Eritrea!

In the summertime, all of the hitchhikers in the interior have signs with the name of the BC counterculture mecca: Nelson. I'm going to send him to Nelson. If it works out, he'll hitch a ride somewhere else. If not, Nelson's a pretty good place for a rat.

question: where oh where?

mompoet - the untravelled

Thursday, November 03, 2005

the rat

is still at home. I will make him a sign tomorrow.

question: where should he go?

mompoet - check this space tomorrow for a photo of the rat with his hitch-hiking sign

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Congratulations New Canadians

My Mom and Dad will get their Canadian citizenship on November 16. Hurray and congratulations! Unfortunately, due to cutbacks, the ceremony is private with no guests or onlookers allowed. Too bad. When I became a Canadian my family came and cheered and I had my picture taken with a Mountie and some ladies from the IODE served cookies and waved little flags.

Guess we'll have to have a real hoser cheese-head party for Mom and Dad when they come home. We can watch the hockey game, talk about where to buy cheap gas and jump up and down and yell Gomery-goo-gah! Then we'll paint maple leaves on our foreheads and run up and down the street yelling them come home and drink beer until we pass out.

O Canada!

Congratulations Mom and Dad. Welcome to your second country. Vote!

question: ou est ma toque?

mompoet - 95% culturally identifiable

Port Moody Votes (a little)

Port Moody's mini civic election will happen on November 19, same as all the cities in the region. Compared to 2002, this election is small and quiet. Our mayor was acclaimed a week ago because nobody ran against him. There were 4 school trustee candidates but two dropped out, leaving the incumbents to return without having to campaign. We'll vote only for councillors. Ten candidates are running for 6 seats on council.

I went to an all-candidates meeting tonight at the Boat House at Rocky Point. There was a pretty good turnout - maybe 50 people in the audience. It was put on by Port Moody Chamber of Commerce, so it had the potential to be pretty stacked to business interests, but the questions were pretty well-balanced and the answers...uhh...boring. Everyone pretty much agreed with everyone else, so I guess we'll all have to decide who we like and trust the most to represent us responsibly and make good decisions. Issues include transportation, residential density, public safety, tax levels and social amenities.

It makes me wonder what an all-candidates meeting is like in Vancouver. Do they even have omnibus meetings there? We had Mayor/Council/Trustee meetings here in Moody in 2002. Somehow I don't think that would be possible in Vancouver. I heard that there are something like 90 candidates total when you combine mayor, council, school board and parks board. Twenty mayoral candidates alone. I wonder if they are boring too? Somehow I don't think so.

Anyway, at the Moody meeting I had a chance to say hello and good job to my friend Karen Rockwell who is running for re-election to city council. The Legislature's loss may well be Port Moody's gain. She did a good job answering questions, and did not look as nervous as she said she felt. In the audience were a bunch of familiar faces. The same 100 or so people must go to everything and do just about everything everywhere. I've heard somewhere that 8% of the population does 80% of all of the social action. In a small town like ours, that's a really small number. I guess I am one of them.

Now I have to do some reading and maybe phone-calling to decide who I will vote for. The next 3 years in our city will be anything but boring, so we'll need the ones who will be able to do the best job.

question: how do you decide how to vote?

mompoet - citizen mom

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The rat experiment

After trick-or-treating we put away the battery-operated disembodied hand and the Michael Jackson Frankenstein and my favourite Mr. and Mrs. Frank N. Stein bride and groom dolls, but I left the life-size plastic rat out beside the jack-o-lanterns. I am going to see if someone steals the rat. Maybe the rat will go to Europe or Antarctica like those lawn gnomes. I would like to think of the rat having a better life than just holing up in a box of Halloween decorations in my attic for a whole year.

question: if you were a plastic rat, which would you rather?

mompoet - rooting for the rodent