Thursday, March 31, 2005

Almost April Fool

Tomorrow is the next best thing to Halloween when it comes to legalized anarchy and least for the kids, and before noon (who made that rule anyway?)

I am hoping that I will not be too badly tricked tomorrow morning. I will sip my coffee carefully and not open any doors without paying attention. I also look forward to spotting the bogus stories in the morning news. I especially like the fake names they make up for sources like Professer U.N. Likely and Finnish Scientist Fulja Didnii.

I have not thought of any April Fools pranks to play on my family or friends. Maybe something will occur to me and I will do it spontaneously (that's my usual creative approach, otherwise known as "the big blurt"). I did try to focus and imagine what I might do, but all I could think of was stuff involving gasoline, nudity and explosions. This is probably because I am reading This is Burning Man by Brian Doherty. It's about the Burning Man festival in Nevada. I have heard about it through the grapevine and in the news, but I don't know if I know anyone who has been there. Reading about how it started and some of the things that have happened over the years is fascinating. I couldn't begin to summarize it, and I'm tired, so I'll just quote the teaser on the book jacket:

"changing the world through art cars, bone towers, Danger Ranger, smut shacks, fire cannons, Glitter Camp, fighting robots, exploding men, princess warriors, pulsing soundscapes, neon skies, metal dragons, and Dr. Megavolt -- the rise of a new American underground."

If you want to know more, you can also check the Burning Man website.

Watch out on Friday for salt in your coffee, buckets on doors, lies in the newspaper, phoney experts and flaming 40 foot neon icons. You never know.

Question: is there anything left that has not been done?

mompoet - not foolin' just now

British Columbia Voters - Make sure you are on the list

Check here to make sure you are on the list.

Forty-six days until we vote. Please check it out, and encourage friends and family to do so too.

Question: got vote?

mompoet - hoping for better this time

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What we do for fun in Port Moody

I was on my way to a meeting after work, when my cell phone rang. It was my daughter, honestly frantic. When I got her to slow down so I could understand, she told me that my husband was torturing her with shaving.

Before you assume something really reprehensible, here's what happened. My husband stopped shaving during the week that he took off to stay home with the kids over spring break. He hates shaving. Most of the time, to look really good, he has to do it twice a day. I am not exaggerating when I say he can grow a full beard in a week, which is what he did. He is also creative, so he played around with the shape of it as the week went by, and shaved it into the boring, predictable goatee that about 99% of the beard-growing male population ages 30 and older is sporting these days. I wasn't crazy about it, but I knew not to worry. For my husband, a beard is for fun, and for torturing anyone who is easily ruffled, like our 11 year old girl.

I remember when we were first married. My husband had a full beard at the time. A 1970s beard. Never mind it was 1984, he had one. I think he grew it one day on his lunch hour. Anyway, I was having a nap one Sunday afternoon and I woke up to find him sitting beside me, waiting for me to wake up. He looked at me and said, "Which side do you like?" He had shaved one side of his beard and mustache off completely and left the other intact. He had one clean-face profile and one beard and mustache profile. I told him I liked the beard side just to bug him. "Okay," he replied, "It'll grow back pretty quick."

So tonight he pulled the same kind of thing on our daughter, whose worst fear is that we will embarass her. He shaved the boring goatee into a very exciting and awful looking fu manchu mustache. She was begging him to shave it, so he went outside and talked to all the neighbours. You can imagine her horror. He also promised that he would drive her and her 3 friends to rehearsals tomorrow with the fu manchu mustache. That's about when she called me. "MAKE HIM SHAVE IT OFF!" All I could do was laugh and tell her that it would get worse before it got better. She made him get on the phone and we discussed how to further horrify her, including promising to grow long handlebars and twirl them with wax. I suggested mutton chops as a follow-up. Then I turned off my phone.

By the time I got home I had a clean-faced man and a relieved daughter. Sometime between the phone call and 9pm, he shaved off the top half of one side and the bottom half of the other side of the fu manchu to make an asymmetrical bonsai face of some sort. I think our daughter eventually caught on that he was playing with her, and relaxed.

I pointed out that she missed a golden opportunity to take pictures of the various stages and make them into an animated short with the computer. She's really good at that kind of thing. Now she wants him to grow it again and start over with the shaving so she can make her own face hair art movie.

So now you know what we do for fun in Port Moody on a Tuesday night.

Question - does it get any better?

mompoet - bride of wolfman

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday

Hanging out with all of these aetheists I skipped both Good Friday and Easter Sunday church services. I feel somewhat guilty. Cranbrook United Church is walking distance from the house. Every year I mean to go, but I do not. I guess part of worship for me is being surrounded by my familiar community of church people. I know everyone is welcome at any church. Maybe next year. Or if we're not here, maybe we'll be in Costa Rica, and participate in whatever that community does for Easter.

In the meantime, my son and nephews spotted the photographs of female stars in bikinis on the cover of People Magazine and started yakking about anorexia and "skin and bones." The conversation continued at home, with my daughter doing her amazing "Britney Spears is destructive to pre-adolescent girls' self images" speech. Then all of the kids got into a conversation about which starlet they would most like to be or marry. In preparation for tonight's hootenany I have re-written a favourite folk song:

Little Women
(inspired by "Little boxes" by Malvina Reynolds)

All the women who are beautiful on the TV and the movies
Little women in the magazines and they all look just the same
There's a Britney and Beyonce and a Jennifer and a Jennifer
and they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Oh they all got plastic surgery and maybe they slept with somebody
They're bulimic, anorexic and they all look just the same
And they're Gwyneth and there's Jessica and there's even Paris Hilton
And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

So they tell us they don't diet and they don't get liposuction
They give birth to pretty babies and wear bikinis the next day
And I know they must be hurting, what they do it can't be easy
And to think that they must do this to be loved is such a shame.

Oh the men who make the money from the women who are beautiful
Don't know what they do to women so I guess they're not to blame
Men and women, we are fat ones and we're pretty, ugly, skinny, funny ones
See we're all just real people and we need love all the same.

Question - how many Hershey's kisses does it take to tip a teeter-totter with Lara Flynn Boyle on the other side? (more, I think than the number of real kisses required to make the teeter-totter not matter at all)

mompoet - cream of corn soup, but that's okay. It's Easter. Happy Day.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

You putchyer left foot in....

I got to drive my old Subaru today. My sister and brother in law have owned it for a couple of years. It's even rustier than when I had it, but it still runs fine. Just turned over 400 thousand kilometres. good car!

We decided to run up to Fairmont Hotsprings after breakfast at BJs in Kimberley. Barb and I were the only adults interested in steamy soaking, but all 5 kids were clamouring, so we took two cars, and I found out I can still drive a car with a standard transmission like it was yesterday. I did not stall, roll or otherwise embarass myself. The hotsprings were gorgeous. They look like something out of the 1950s and they feel like heaven. There's a valley on one side, mountains on the other and hot hot hot water all around. Just as we wished, the wind blew and the snow fell and we felt all safe and warm up to our necks for a couple of hours.

On the way home we found CBC radio's "50 Tracks" countdown, this time featuring the country's favourite 50 Canadian popular song, as voted on by listeners. When we got home they were listening here, so we kept it on through supper. Mom made pizzas (the best was asparagus, mushrooms and swiss cheese - soy cheese for the vegans). The power went out just before baking time, so Kim cooked the first one in the barbeque, then the power came back on again so the rest went into the oven. Luckily we had a battery radio, so we didn't miss any Canadian songs.

Last night's Ice game was a wonderful people-watching opportunity. All the more interesting because our seats were in the Kamloops Blazers' booster section and they were ringing cowbells all around us. The Ice led 3-0 until the last 15 minutes of the game, then lost 30 seconds into the overtime period. Blegggg. That's what the Canucks do all the time, isn't it? Watching those hockey boys was fun though, win or lose. Most of them could be my kid, they're so young, and they can skate. I hope they make it to paying hockey careers. I imagine it has been their whole life, to make it to this level of play. I wish I wish I wish I could skate like that.

Kim and the boys are at the game again tonight. I hope Ice wins. The roof will come off the Rec Plex I'm sure.

So the house is totally quiet now because the girls are making Ukranian Easter eggs. Somebody turned off the radio, and the adults are all reading. I'm going to join them.

Question - how does the brain remember things?

mompoet - toasty, well-fed, hushed and quietly approaching that end of the couch with the nice light

ps If you forget your bathing suit you can buy a paper one. We had a fun time discussing what it might look like. We all remembered ours, so we did not find out. I forgot my towel, so I danced under the hair dryer, which I guess made up for not embarassing myself with the car.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Message from the Valley of the Nerds

I didn't think I'd post this weekend, but there's a quiet moment while the runners run before we eat the samosas that we shaped together in the little kitchen from which all good things originate. The ride up was our best ever from about 12 years of doing this. The kids were mellow, my mom knit socks in the front seat, and Dad drives like a bat out of hell, so it took us just over 12 hours even though we skipped the Salmo Creston snowstorm by dropping down to Seattle, driving through Spokane and shootiing back up via the Idaho panhandle. The highlight of the trip was Dad explaining to us the math proof for .9999999(to infinity)=1.0 Believe me, I didn't believe it until he proved it in about 25 seconds, so now I believe it. That was about George (Washington - as in the place where you find the Gorge Amphitheatre). The rest of the way the kids broke out into periodic and spontaneous chants of "point-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine..." When we asked them to stop they'd yell, "We're not finished, we'll never be finished! nine-nine-nine.." You can see why a lot of people just don't get us, and why our family just needs a few days a couple of times a year to wallow in our other-ness. I didn't drive a stitch. Just sat in the back seat and napped and chanted the nine song along with the kids.

Speaking of nine, that's how many hours we all slept. It was delicious. I hardly ever do that. Of course, the cats from Mars woke me up a couple of times. But they're grown up now, so they don't run across your face so much when you're sleeping. When they were kittens they combined to make a cyclone with claws. I'm grateful for the cats, who are comforting homesick son, who doesn't like a change in routine, even if it's fun.

Tonight we're going to a Kootenay Ice hockey game at the Rec. Plex. Mom and Kim (brother in law) and the three boy-children. They boys have made signs that say "Go Ice' and "Camploops is under the Ice". Spelling Kamloops with a C is deemed an insult, apparently. Too bad the playoffs didn't shape up different or we'd have to decide whether to cheer for Ice or Vancouver. As it is, they're playing against the Kamloops Blazers. Should be fun. Sister, daughter, niece and my Dad will stay home and watch a chick flick.

This is a vegan house with ice cream (no explanation asked or required). They relax the rules a bit when we visit, mostly so my kids will be comfortable (we are carnivores). For example, we had lox and bagels for breakfast. My nephew Simon put my homemade strawberry jam on the bagel instead of creamcheese, then loaded on the lox. It must have been good. He had 3. Barb and Kim are the best home cooks I know. We all pitch in so nobody works too much. As it is, Section K, rows 4&5, seats 11,12,13 and 10,11,12 will be reeking of curry. And we'll be a happy lot for sure. Tomorrow we go to our favourite breakfast spot in Kimberley, which also has an excellent and intriguing second-hand everything store, then we'll spend the afternoon in the hotsprings at Fairmont. If we're lucky it will snow while we're up to our necks. That's so much fun.

That's all I guess....

Question - how many zeroes after the decimal, before you get to the one, if the zeroes go on forever?

mompoet - slowing down, hanging around, digging my roots and waiting for the hootenany Saturday night

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Road Trip

We're leaving Thursday morning to drive up to Cranbrook with my Mom and Dad. The kids and I will squeeze into the back seat of the Subaru for this 12 hour trip. We'll visit my sister and her family.

It's our Annual Easter Nerd-o-Rama. My husband is staying home. Technically, it's because he has to work Monday, and we drive home Monday. Really, five days with 10 of us is just too much for his normal self. Highlights will include:

  • Non-stop performance preparating and shows by 5 cross-dressing, Arrogant Worms-loving kids, ages 9-14 years. Perennial hit: George W on the toilet and nobody will bring him toilet paper.
  • Loud, home-made balderdash games.
  • Vegan feast after feast after feast with assorted neighbours and friends joining in.
  • Cats from Mars.
I won't be posting while I'm away. Hope everyone has a happy Easter. I will, I know!

Question: What's a yurt?

Mompoet - rolling

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Pennies from Heaven

So I talked on the phone some more to some more nice people in Victoria. I got them to send me a fax verifying what happened (just so if I get audited at some later date I have some documentation to explain what happened, and demonstrate that it's not income or something shady). A cheque for $5,000 is now on its way back to the provincial government, who will pay the correct person, who indeed shares my name.

But the really funny part it, I got home tonight and my husband told me he got a call this afternoon to say I won $500 in a minor hockey raffle. Go figure! This is the kind of coincidence I like! And being a fan of number patterns I reckon I have pass along the happiness with at least $50 to someone else... to keep the goodness going on.

End of the story of the money for nothing.

Question: is it raining again?

mompoet - fit to burst

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Free Money from the Government

I just got $5 thousand from the Provincial Government for no reason. Well, for someone else's reason anyhow. I was paying the bills online on Sunday and noticed that my balance was, well, HUGE! I phoned the bank and they couldn't help me. I phoned the government, got bounced around less than I expected, then a nice lady in some accounting department told me it's a grant for Sexual Exploitation Awareness. In their accounting log it's for me, with my name and address (and obviously my bank account number). But I never applied for a grant. There's some mixup. The person who is expecting $5 thousand didn't get it because it got deposited to my account.

I was out of the office for the afternoon, so I missed the follow-up call, but a nice lady named Elizabeth said she wants to talk to me and arrange for me to mail them a cheque (!!!!) I am so tempted to blast, smash and have a general spittle fest about this but I will be nice.

I will talk to Elizabeth tomorrow and find out what she wants me to do. I hope the real alternate identity of me gets the grant money soon. It's a worthy cause. I also want someone to explain to me how money can be accidentally deposited in my account. I know the province had my account number from 6 or 7 years ago when they were direct depositing subsidy cheques from my daycare clients. So maybe I'm still in their system. I really want to know how they can be so careless with money. That's their job, after all.

part 2 as soon as I know it...

Question: Wouldn't you notice if you put that in the wrong place?

mompoet - temporarily solvent

Sista'Hood Yeah!

The Sista'Hood Slam was too much fun! Twelve amazing woman poets, a capacity audience and the best feeling I've ever felt at the cafe - a little less competitive and oozing with enthooziazm. What an honour to be part of this show!

Irene did a rendition of "Chick-a-Boom" that had everyone eating out of her hand, even though she was drawn to go first. I pulled out my old "I Love my Thighs" and turned it into a call and response poem. The audience was spectacular. They shouted "I love my thighs" so loud I thought the windows were going to break. That happy noise is better than 5 10-scores I'm sure and certain! Say, that's one of my poetry fantasies:

I want to be like you
Shock couples in the back row
Rattle the windows
Jolt pictures off the walls
Make the earth turn off kilter for just 3 minutes
I want to be sublime
And I may, some day
Given patient attention and time

Well, I think I have a way to go yet before I could say I'm sublime. I sure felt sublime.

On the break we comandeered the men's room so all of the women could get a chance to pee. Everyone told everyone else how wonderful she is. The feature, Jennifer Cendana Armas was excellent. The winner, Christa Bell was magnificent. I hope she features at the Van Slam next time she's in town.

Rachel Flood, RC Weslowski and Graham Olds made this happen. They are good people. So good that I think RC and Graham can be called honorary women for the rest of this Women's History Month. At the end, I got a free t-shirt even. Also, I bought Matthew Glick's chapbook.

Got home at midnight. Got up at 6, still grinning.

Question - How many wonderful women does it take to make the world spin happy happy happy?

mompoet - loving my thighs and everything they stand for

Sunday, March 20, 2005

campaign meeting

I made it to my first meeting with the Karen Rockwell election team. The whole picture is just totally bewildering to me right now but there are good people who seem unfazed by the gigantic amount of work that needs to be done in a little less than 2 months.

I met Karen during the civic election almost 4 years ago. She's now a Port Moody city councillor. I like her a lot, and I look forward to helping her get elected. This constituency has been Liberal since 1996, but before that it has pretty much alternated between liberal and NDP MLAs. I admire Karen's calm and confident demeanor and her solid record on city council.

I feel unqualified for anything to do with this campaign, but I guess I'll learn along the way. There's not a single job I could say, "Yeah, I can do that!" So I'll help wherever I'm needed. Probably phoning and canvassing and organizing volunteers. But we'll see where the gaps are.

We sat in the just-rented campaign office - no chairs, patched walls. I had to turn the water on to fill the toilet in the washroom (hey, my first contribution to the campaign - maybe they need a scullery maid?) Except for one student in his 20s I was among the youngest in the room. Everyone looked to be 45 or older, everyone with union affiliations. Full-time spots will probably be taken by vital retirees with knowledge and energy to make things happen. I'll bring 14 year old son in to drop leaflets and stuff envelopes, which should lower the mean age a bit. Where are the university students and young working people who need change? Probably too busy and tired to help. Maybe supporting the Green Party? Or maybe they take the bus to celebrate in Vancouver with the Work Less Party? I guess this is the situation. I'm 43 so I'm a newcomer and a baby. By the time we're working on Karen's re-election I'll be closer to 50 than 40, and I'll know something about something. In the meantime I feel welcomed, and I know there will be plenty of work.

Good thing I like the outside perimeter of my comfort zone. I won't look down. Just push off now and find out what happens.


Question: what's this world going to look like?

mompoet - can't afford a vacation, so I'm taking an election instead

Saturday, March 19, 2005

mompoet sound journal #7

By the Way
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Warner, 2002
*****1/2 (out of 5)

This cd is my favourite so far. I absolutely love it. It is the best.

My friend Vicky loaned my the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She says:

I chose By the Way for your sound journal because I thought it might be something you would not ordinarily choose to listen to for yourself, and I hoped that it would expose you to a style of music you might not have heard before. Plus, knowing your personality, I thought thay you too would appreciate a strong energetic sound.

Vic and I have known each other since we were 12 years old. We met in Grade 7 at Parkcrest Elementary School in Burnaby. We walked to school together every day through high school and I was her best lady at her wedding. We ended up both moving to Port Moody. She's married and has daughters 13 and 11 years old. Her younger daughter is in the same homeroom as mine at middle school.

Vic likes all kinds of music: pop, rock, jazz, alternative, Latin, classical, opera, zydeco, celtic, gregorian chants, world beat etc. She says:

I am drawn to songs that are raw, acoustic, original and convey a strong energy or emotion. I don't like anything that is too polished, "scanned" or copied and I tend to have a predilection for all songs dark, intense and romantic; nothing perky or Pollyannaish for me.

Her elder daughter takes guitar lessons and has learned songs by Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, so Vic has been able to share her knowledge and love of rock music with both girls. She does not enjoy their taste for popular radio station, The Beat 94.5

All I can do is voice my concerns with what I find objectionable, or distasteful about certain songs. In other words I point out the lack of originality, the poor messages regarding body image, respect of women, materialism and generall, the poor values they convey. Hopefully, they can hear me through the repeating, pounding beats.

So I listened to By the Way about 3 times through before I caught on. At first I was bugged by the hip/hop sounds but then I read about the band on its official website (which is significantly hard to navigate and to read on a screen without wearing magnifying goggles) and also looked at the more concise and larger-print version on the mtv website, where you can also view music videos. I found out that this band released its first album in 1984. Its "sound" is funk/rock. It's been a revolving door for musicians but is now made up of Anthony Kiedis, Michael Balzary (called Flea), John Frusciante and Chad Smith. I also listened to a "best 10" compilation that my husband had in his collection and got a bit of a feel for the evolution of their music. When I made the connection with the funk/new wave sound that we used to listen to in the 80s, Red Hot Chili Peppers started making sense. By the Way has more of a rock sound than the songs I heard from previous albums. The reviews call it the most commercial album so far, but also the most mature. By listen number 4 I was hooked. I love the lush sound, beautiful harmonies, driving rhythms and intelligent and surreal lyrics. Can you wear out a cd? If so, maybe I'd better buy Vic a new copy. I have been listening to it constantly for about three weeks.

The lyrics are great throughout, but here are some, to give you an idea, here are some from "This is the Place":

I saw you out there yesterday
What did you want to say
A master piece of DNA
Caught in a flashing ray

And from "Can't Stop":

Kick start the golden generator
Sweet talk but don't intimidate her
Can't stop the gods from engineering
Feel no need for any interfering
Your image in the dictionary
This life is more than ordinary
Can I get two maybe even three of these
Come from space
To teach you of the Pliedes
Can's stop the spirits when they need you
This life is more than just a read thru

There are so many good and different songs on this album. The title song "By the Way," and the very well-known "Can't Stop" are catchy and powerful with strong guitar sound and hip-hop parts that just stick in your head. I especially like "This is the Place," a song about family abuse through generations and "Tear," a Beach Boys tribute. There are lots of different sounds on this album: ska, latin, orchestral, funk with a distinctive sweetness that Vic pointed out to me. This is different from the torch-osterone that I noticed on the Green Day album. The lyrics and harmonies on songs like "Dosed," "The Zephyr Song," and "I Could Die for You" are very compelling and sincere. The band's videos are great fun - mini-movies of the best kind. The one for the song "By the Way" has Anthony trapped by a crazy taxi driver who races him all over town until he is rescued by his band mates. I think the taxi driver looks like the convenience store ninja in the movie Ghost World. I wonder?

Red Hot Chili Peppers were famous in the 80s for performing almost naked. Well, they wore tube socks. Unfortunately I couldn't find a concert video that showed this. They still like to perform without shirts, and concert videos indicate that many of their fans emulate this look.

Thank you thank you thank you Vic, for choosing this contribution to my sound journal. I have found a new favourite.

Question: Where'd all this good stuff come from?

mompoet - say it now because you never know

Friday, March 18, 2005

I thought everyone did this

Everyone at cycle class laughed their heads off this morning and the teacher gave me that "be quiet now so I can teach" look. I think I released too much information again.

We were talking about Easter chocolate during the warmup, and the teacher was promising to bring some for us next week (most of us work out so we can eat, after all). I mentioned how I had read that chocolate containes a compound called theobromine which is very nutritious, so we should all have a small amount of good quality dark chocolate every day. Then I mentioned how I have a chocolate bar in my underwear drawer all the time, and I just eat a little bit every day. That's when everyone laughed their heads off.

Geeezz. It's clean underwear! And if I had a chocolate bar anywhere else in the house the teenagers would gobble it in no time! Oh well, a couple of the moms looked at me with understanding eyes while they were falling off their bikes laughing.

By the way, I keep these items in my underwear drawer as well:
  • an exchangeable-head screwdriver
  • scissors
  • scotch tape
  • underwear
Nobody takes anything from there. Nobody even looks. If I wanted to hide a gold bar or a fugitive, that's where I'd put it/him/her. Safe place.

Question: Where do you put stuff you don't want anyone to steal?

mompoet - please tell me I'm not the only one.

Dog Butt Part 2

It's a "hot spot" all right. The vet shaved the fur surrounding the area and showed me how to bathe the wound with hibitane and apply antibiotic ointment twice each day for ten days. She also gave Sol her shots for all of the things that dogs can get from other dogs and from eating dead stuff and drinking ditch water. Now she's safe from the plague and whooping cough I guess. The hot spot business cost only $45, which is mostly covered by our pet insurance. The shots and "annual wellness consultation" cost $155. Good thing we love her (the dog, not the vet - well, we like the vet just fine too).

Our vet doesn't believe in cone-heads (too stressful for the dog and they can still rub the area on furniture or scratch it with a paw.) To keep the dog from licking the wound, we have fashioned a diaper out of one of my old Sun Run t-shirts. I cut off the sleeves and slit the back. Sol's hind legs go through the sleeve holes. Her tail goes through the neck hole. Then I knot the shirt on her back, just above her waist. It really looks like a diaper. Daughter made me promise not to take her out in public wearing it. I promise.

Question: arf?

mompoet - aka akela

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dog Butt Anxiety

The dog is chewing a patch on her butt. The fur is gone and it's just raw skin. It looks like it hurts a lot, and like she can't leave it alone. It's growing.

I'll take her to the vet tomorrow. When I phoned, the assistant made an appointment right away and said, "Oh yes. A hot spot." In a cheerful voice. So I don't think it's serious but I bet it's expensive. Good thing we love her (the dog, not the assistant).

Question: Am I anxious bout the dog chewing her butt, or is the dog chewing her butt because she's anxious?

mompoet - contemplating low-grade koan

ps Riddle: What's a good name for a buddhist dog?

Answer: Dog only knows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Push Up Report

In the unlikely event that anyone is curious about my project to learn to do real soldier pushups. I can now do 3 sets of 10. That's 30. I feel like a dork, but I can do them.

Question: who cares anyway?

mompoet - boasting and swaggering

Television for Breakfast

Irene and Ms Spelt and I will be on CityTV on Wednesday morning between 8 and 9, performing a couple of limericks and talking about the Celtic Fest. Ms Spelt is the host of Vancouver's two limerick slams. Irene (aka Dirty Irene) is the reigning Limerick Queen of Vancouver. I offered to be Irene's chauffeur and bodyguard, so I am invited on the show too. I will bring muffins. TV station coffee is okay, but I wouldn't touch their muffins.

I have never been to Irene's place at 6:30 in the morning before.

This will be fun.

Question: will you tune in?

mompoet - driving, guarding and baking my way into the Celtic who's who

Bette Davis Eyes

It's time for new glasses. Mostly because my extended health benefits will buy me a new pair now that 2 years have gone by since last time. The opthamologist says my eyes are actually a bit better than last time, and no, I don't need bifocals yet, although it's now okay if I need to take my glasses off to read. Not that I needed permission to do that, but my opthamologist is a sweetie pie, so there.

I love wearing glasses because it's fashion on your face and it's changeable, but I also like wearing contact lenses. I have not worn contacts in about 2 years. This is 100% because of vanity.

I have Graves Disease, an autoimmune disease that causes my thyroid glad to over-produce. When I got sick about 3 1/2 years ago, I got hot, lost weight and was very jittery. If you know me you will know that I am exuberant by nature (that's a polite word for manic a lot of the time). So for a while I couldn't tell if I was just more like me, or sick. A blood test and a visit to the endocrinologist clinched it. I'm fortunate. I got well. I'm off medication for 16 months now, and my levels are normal, which is very unusual. Most of the time you have to get your thyroid gland zapped with radioactive iodine to kill most of it, a primitive but effective cure. I bullied my thyroid into behaving, using a combination of yoga, nutrition, sleep, positive attitude and prayer. Or probably it was just random, but that's okay too.

Anyway, during the time I was sick I developed an eye disease that 5-10% of hyperthyroid patiens get, called thyroid eye disease. You can see a picture of it here.

I didn't get that bad, but I did get so that you could see the white all around my irises all the time. Even when I was about to nod off, I looked astonished. I am used to being beautiful. That's not vain, that's positive self image. We are all beautiful. Everyone. This change disrupted my sense of my own beauty. I practised, and taught myself to have "sleepy eyes." (Try softening your face up and letting your eyelids drift, like you are pretending to be sleepy.) By doing this I overcame a lot of the "just got poked in the but with a live electrical wire" look. It was like learning to ride a bike. It became automatic. While it was bad, I also felt like I had sand in my eyes, worst every afternoon for about an hour. I got used to having weepy, horrible eyes that couldn't look at anything for a few minutes everyday at 3pm. My appointment with frailty.

Now the eye disease has pretty much gone away. The opthamologist confirmed it last week. What remains is evidence of the disruption, where my eyeballs bulged out and insulted the surrounding skin. I have extra skin around my eyes and puffy fat deposits, particularly underneath, which makes me look like did not get enough sleep, ever. I know, everyone gets this anyway when they are older, but I'm not ready for it. Wearing glasses is my solution. I got me a pair of "Clark Kents" which effectively hide the bad spots. I quit wearing contacts because whenever I did, people would say, "You look tired. Are you okay?" Which is not what any beautiful person wants to hear.

The doctors have offered to arrange for plastic surgery to fix it. It would be covered by BC Med because technically it's a disfigurement. My husband and close friends with whom I have discussed it say "go for it." But I have decided not to. It's an unnecessary risk just for looks, and I have teenage kids. I know they learn from what we do, not what we say, and I don't want them to see me saying "beauty is who you are and what you do," then go off and act like the people on Extreme Makeover. (doctor, doctor, fix me, I'm not perfect) Mostly I know it wouldn't make me any happier about myself.

I do want to get contact lenses again and enjoy spontaneous swimming, eliminate the sunglasses/glasses juggle in summer and basically get over this vain obsession with baggy under-eyes. I am healthy and loved and yes, beautiful dammit! NO MATTER WHAT.

So that's my plan. I'm going to go bare-faced again this spring. If you think I look tired, please help me out. Say Hiya Mompoet. Nice hat, or something like that. It will help. I will be grateful, even if I'm not wearing a hat.

Question: why should such a thing matter?

mompoet - eyeful of real

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Vee Vee Boutique

Yesterday we went to "the store where mom never says no." Valloo Village, Vee Vee Boutique, whatever you call it, I love going there. This time the girls (daughter plus 2 friends) wanted to find costumes for a video they are making for extra credit in science. I set them free and looked around for myself.

I always find something I like. This time I hit the jackpot: brand new $125 Jones of New York skirt in my size for $19.99. YES! Also a really cute silk blouse, also Jones, previously worn, $5.99. Now if I can just get over my compulsion to blurt it out when people say, "You look nice today," and just smile and say, "Thanks." Instead I am prone to say - "Oh, it's nothing, VV Boutique, $25 plus tax." Sometimes people are happy when I say this, mostly people who also shop there but are not so brazen about it. Often people give me a blank look or a weak smile and back away slowly.

Shhh, mompoet, you don't need to tell everyone everything.

Anyway, the girls found what they wanted, then tried on some eveningwear for entertainment. I had to loan them $2.15 because the $10 they brought did not completely cover their needs. I took them for Subway on the way home and everyone was happy.

By the way, I did say "NO." Just once. It was about 2 years ago, so my daughter was 9, her friend 8. I took them to VV after church, just for fun. That's when they found the hooker boots. Thigh high on their little legs, shoe-size about a size 6, so they weren't a bad fit. But 3 inch platforms on the front and 6 inch spike heels. Each girl put on one boot (on the outside foot) , then they linked arms and limped around the store laughing and begging me to "please, buy them Mom!" I had to say no. Whether I was protecting them from physical injury or loss of innocence, I'm not sure. I was sure that I did not one or both of those boots inside my house.

Question: where does a mom draw the line?

mompoet - practising short thank yous

Saturday, March 12, 2005


yes, i have lost weight
soon i will disappear - poof!
then i'll be perfect

question: ?

mompoet - ku

Summer of the Coaster

We just bought season passes for Playland. They're only $50 before March 15. The kids suggested it, and offered to share the cost. This summer I will make it my personal goal to ride the coaster 100 times.

Question: all in one day?

mompoet - corn dog of the yukon

Conception Night

Don't freak. It's a book, not a baby. But it feels like a baby with 11 parents.

Shoreline Publication Committee held its first meeting Friday night out at Helmi and Fred's artists' haven home in Whonnock. For the first time in several years we had two carloads of writers. Ten in all, counting Gale who is contributing by email and phone from Saskatoon.

These are my kind of people. Jodi is leaving for 9 weeks in Guatamala next week, so we spent most of supper discussing vaccinations and horrible tropical diseases. This conversation continued on the drive home, with the invention of a set of collector cards about "bad things that might happen to you, with actual illustrations." I'll trade you 2 denge fevers for a vampire bat bite...yeah!

Like a baby, it takes about nine months to make our book. We select pieces together, edit in triads (each person chooses two editors from the group and edits two other writers' work). Helmi copy-edits. Fred does the layout. Someone contributes original art for the cover. We usually make about 300 copies so we get a good price. It's ready for Christmas to give to families and friends, and we launch in January. Along the way we meet, eat, email, phone and generally build each other up. It's also the opportunity to get a deeper level of writing help than we are able to provide in our monthly workshop meetings. Lots of trust and love is shared, and sometimes we argue and get upset. In the end, there's a baby, er a book.

I'm thinking about what to contribute this time. I have a short story that's okay, or maybe poetry. I think if I can I will contribute a story. I am frightened to write and share adult fiction. I have written a ton of memoir stories, but I lack confidence about making something up. Poetry is always and option, but I'm very confident about that, and I always prefer to try the option about which I feel the least sure. It's a good stretch. Anyway, my friends are honest. If the story doesn't cut it, they'll tell me, or better, help me get it to where it does.

Helmi, Fred, Jodi, Jim, Michael, Deirdre, Gale, Elvira, Bryan, Kristene... here we go!

Question: How'd I get so lucky?

mompoet - participating in group gestation

Thursday, March 10, 2005

brain where?

I took the cordless phone to work today by accident. I thought I'd call home and talk to myself, but I was out of range.

Question: duh?

mompoet - huh?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

O Beloved Words...

More language slaughter witnessed today. "Destinate" was used as a verb in a meeting today. Twice.

Close you eyes and try this one for size:

You're in big trouble if you destinate before you get to the place where you're supposed to go.

I just made that up, by the way. In the meeting it was used as a verb for going somewhere important.

Question: why? why? why?

mompoet - destinating to bed now

Sad Dipt

Remember that river that I think runs under everything and everybody all the time? Well, I took a bit of a bath in it yesterday and this morning. Auntie Anne's service was beautiful and very sad. We haven't seen Andy's grown cousins in years so it was a bit of a reunion, but such a sad occasion. Uncle Walt and the cousins and grandchildren were tired and sad and worn-looking. Andy's mom did okay. We stayed close to her the whole time. Andy and his brother aren't very huggy so I made sure to wrap her up in my arms when she needed it. She talked to a lot of people who she hasn't seen in some time - cousins and old friends. I also stayed close to Andy who didn't seem overcome, but you need someone close by whether your sadness is showing or not.

But that's not what made me sad, although I was sad, especially when I saw Anne's family. I was more focussed on helping and standing by.

So afterwards I went out to the Cafe for the Poetry Show and before the show started I found out that I haven't yet qualified for the semi-finals as I thought I had. Most years just coming in second place once is enough, but there are lots of good poets who came in first, and the best I have done is second-place. So fair and square, I'm not on the list. There are two qualifying slams left, so I'll have to do my best at both. There's a significant chance I just won't be in the semis this year, and that will be okay. But last night and this morning I felt mighty discouraged.

It's just a little thing really, but it's what made me dip into the river. And when I dip, I can't just take a tablespoon-ful of sad. Somehow I get a scoop that has bits of everything that's in there. Stuff I've been skimming over and now I have to take a big gulp and acknowledge it.

Nothing tragic or major - just the cargo of a pretty intense couple of weeks when I look back on them. Interpersonal stuff, work pressures, anxiety about kids and health. Each time I come across one I toss it into the river, but it doesn't really go away. It bobs along in the current until I dip, then gulp! I get it all.

So I emailed my friend Irene and spilled it. I also reassured her (and myself) that I was already getting over it. I even used the word, "BOING" to describe bouncing up again. She's a sympathetic listener. She also had a good suggestion:

Give yourself a chance to grieve a little over your disappointment then do
your usual rise to the surface. I used to know someone who gave herself about 10 minutes to really bewail and grieve about the circumstances before giving herself the good talking.

So I tried it. I put a sad song on the cd player in the car on the way to a meeting, thought about how sorry I felt for myself, and I cried. It feels great to cry. I actually do it a lot in the car. Good thing I don't ride transit to work. Now that would be inconvenient and embarrassing. Not that I cry every day, but when I need to, the car's a pretty good place. Got to my meeting, mopped up and felt a lot better.

That sad river is always there, but most of the time I fly high over it. When I have to, I go for a swim.

Thanks Irene, for your wise words.

Question: got a tissue?

mompoet - BOING (really!)

ps Mom and Dad, I am not hinting for another sushi lunch. My Spring Sad sushi lunch last week was lovely. I want you to come over for a happy supper at my house this weekend. I will phone you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bye bye Auntie Anne

Andy's Mom's sister Anne died on February 27. She had lung cancer, diagnosed about a year and a half ago. She was at home the whole time with family all around. She leaves a husband, 3 children, 9 grandchildren and one great grandchild oh, and a silky terrier named Missy. Today is the memorial service. Andy and I will go with his Mom and brother.

Bye bye Auntie Anne. Fluff up the pillows for us all, huh?

Question: none

mompoet - thinking about softness

Monday, March 07, 2005

More Pepper please

Andy gave me a cd with some pre 94 Red Hot Chili Peppers hits. I can hear the funk sound more on these songs, which is helping me piece together what it means in the band bio that's on every website that calls them "a unique blend of funk and punk rock that has been imitated but never equalled blar blar blar ...."

By the Way sounds more like rock crossed with hip hop (I think). I'm still learning what all of these labels are supposed to convey. I remember listening to some funk-influenced music in the 80s and I kind of liked it at the time. I have not figured out hip hop yet. At first I dislike the hip hop sounding parts of The Red Hot Chili Peppers but now I like them, especially after I looked up the words. Maybe I would even like hip hop if...nahhhh. Still sounds like funk without the music to me.

I also realised that I know nothing about punk rock. So I guess I had better find someone to loan me some of that. Meantime I am overdosing on this one CD. I even like the song "Can't Stop" which I previously thought was the province of 9 year old boys.

I know I have just peeled back the corner of something gigantic that I could have fun exploring for about a million years and still not hear everything. I'm going slower than I thought, but faced with a smorgasbord, that's my typical reaction. This is the most fun I have ever got from a new year's resolution.

Question: who's got punk rock?

mompoet - still know nuthin about nuthin but I'm having fun

Sunday, March 06, 2005

We Can't be THAT Gullible...Can We?

Interesting article by Bill Tielman in this week's Georgia Straight about "push polling," basically diguising political propaganda as a pre-election poll. Read the questions though. I think anyone who was called would see through it, or are we really that dumb?

Question: We aren't, are we?

mompoet - maintaining faith in the intelligence of the citizenry

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Universe of the Lispy King

I am listening to The Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Way. Vicky loaned it to me for my sound project. I love it. Especially when they put the emPHASis on the wrong sylLABle.

Truly, it's very good. And that's a noness topinion. Review soonaz eyecan. Thanks Vic.

question: huh?

mompoet - what's thatcha sayn????

Friday, March 04, 2005


So except for going to visit my new doctor (who is two years younger than my little brother which is still hard to get used to) all I have been doing today is sending out promo emails about the Port Moody Poetry Slam. So while I'm in the mood, and to prevent myself from boring you with personal health information....

Port Moody Arts Festival 4th Annual Poetry Slam
A rambunctious evening of spoken word performance and competition. Cash prizes, open mic and delicious tapas. Feature poet: Fernando Raguero.
Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Time: 7:00pm (Sign up for competition or open mic at 6:30)
Location: Charlie's Cafe, 2414 St Johns Street, Port Moody
(Just over 30 minutes by transit from Commercial Skytrain Station. Transfer at Lougheed Skytrain Station to #97 or #148 bus. Get off at St Johns and Queens Street.)
Admission: $5 at the door (includes $5 voucher towards food)
Contact: Sue McIntyre or Port Moody Arts Centre 604 931-2008.
This event is hosted by the Shoreline Writers' Society and Port Moody Arts Centre Society.

okay okay I just cut and pasted but there it is.

But this is the most fun you will have in Port Moody on a Wednesday night, I GUARANTEE IT!

So I hope you will come.


Tuesday March 8, Fundraiser for Canadian Festival of Spoken Word at Cafe Deux Soleils 2096 Commercial - a whole lineup of fabulous spoken word artists including Coquitlam/The World's own Barbara Adler.

Monday March 21, 9pm (doors at 8) Sistahood Slam at Cafe Deux Soleils also. Irene and I are in the lineup of invited poets to celebrate the Sistahood Festival with an evening of spoken word.

Okay, now I gotta go type a bunch of minutes. But I did have roti and ginger beer for lunch (burp).

Question: is this really a day off?

mompoet - communing with my computer

Why I like to walk the dog in the morning

There were purple crocuses clamped tight in early shadow and forsythia yellow and snowdrops swaying low. There was moss and grass and lichen rocks all shiny wet and jewels on the nose of the dog. And the light fell at an obtuse angle but not as much as yesterday. The back path looked like an Easter basket waiting for eggs.

Question: did you see it too?

mompoet - startled by beauty

Thursday, March 03, 2005


for Finklehopper Frog!

My friend Irene Livingston has just published her second Finklehopper book. Finklehopper is a friendly frog. He is bubbling with optimism and insecurity (like most of us). In her first book, Finklehopper Frog, Irene tells the story of Finklehopper learning to jog. He loves it, but feels awful when Yowlareen the Cat and Itchy Flea the Dog tease him about his exercise outfit and his unconventional running style. His friend Ruby Rabbit helps him understand that hopping is just as joyous as jogging. Finklehopper Frog was awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, a Children's Book Council Children's Choice Award for 2004 and is a Scholastic NY Selection.

In the new book, Finklehopper Frog Cheers, it's Fink's turn to help Ruby. Finklehopper gets over his anxiety about going to the picnic and encourages Ruby to hop in a race against the powerful and speedy Sue Kangaroo.

Irene's rhythm and rhyme make these stories addictive to read aloud. And she knows how to encourage and inspire with humour and zest. Story and spirit come first, never sacrificed to the message they convey.

If you have someone in your life who is 1-7 years old, get both books and read them. If you don't, read these books to the part of yourself that still needs to hop and laugh and wear a pork pie hat and have a pizza picnic delivered by a stork served next to two picnicking earthworms in a park by the water.

Finklehopper Frog Cheers is at Vancouver KidsBooks now, and selling fast. Get your copy right away!

HOOOOOOOORRRRRRAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY Irene! (I love Finklehopper - thanks for sending me my very own copy of the new book.)

Question: hopped lately?

mompoet - not the kangaroo, in case you were wondering

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day. I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. We sat and we wished we had something to do. But all we could do was to sit sit sit sit. No we did not like it. Not one little bit. Too cold to go out. Too wet to play ball. So we sat in the house and did nothing at all. Then something went BUMP. How that BUMP made us jump....We looked and we saw him step in on the mat. We looked and we saw him....

Theodor Geisel's words take a fair bit of my own personal hard drive. If he was alive he would be 101 years old today. How many of us were first turned onto poetry by Green Eggs and Ham? or Hop on Pop? The kids don't ask me to read Seuss to them anymore, but we've kept his books on our shelf. He is good stuff. Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!

Question: Would you eat them in a tree?

mompoet - partial to all varieties of sneetches

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Cardio Compulsion

We started using heart rate monitors in the studio cycling class this week. It's a new experience for me, dangerously attractive to the compulsive counting and testing aspects of my personality.

Here's how it works. You get thing that looks like a sport watch strap, only it has a sensor inside it. You fasten it around your chest underneath your shirt, with an elastic strap. It's pretty small and sleek, so once it's on you barely notice it. It picks up your heart rate and transmits it to a watch that gets connected onto the handlebars of the bike.

As you pedal, it displays how fast your heart is beating. As you work out, you try to get into and stay in a training range of 65-85% of your maximal heart rate. I took a bunch of kinesiology in university, where I always volunteered to be the experimental subject, so I have done an actual VO2 max test (where you run to exhaustion on a treadmill with a machine collecting and measuring all of the air that you breathe out) so I know that maximal heart-rate is really a complicated thing, dependent on a number of factors. For estimation's sake we calculated our heart rate for the cycle class like this: 220-age = maximum heart rate. That puts my max at 177. Target range is 115-150. I got into and beyond it very easily. Most of the time, hard "hill" pedalling pushes it higher than sprinting, which is a surprise. But at the end of the class I went up to 180 in an all out, I think I might puke sprint.

I think I should not use the heart rate monitor all the time. It's interesting, but now I know that I'm working hard enough for sure. I also know that my recovery is speedy, which is a sign that my fitness level is pretty good. Maybe I'll just do it once a month or so. I guess I'd rather enjoy the physical sensation of the exercise and not be concerned about the numbers.

Actually, I'd like to sneak the monitor into the weight room one morning. My training program in there pushes my heart rate waaaayyyy up momentarily when I push against heavy loads. I wonder how high?

I have also been underwater weighed in that kinesiology lab, which was also interesting. Sit on a little metal swing attached to a weight scale, inside a cylinder of water full to the top and let all of your air out, then wait and wait and wait until they get a measurement and signal that you can come up and breathe again. I'm very glad that they don't do that one at the studio cycling class. Some things are best left to scientific abstraction.

Question: how many heartbeats in one lifetime?

mompoet - maximizing oxygen uptake