Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Have you heard this one?

I am re-booting my OOS (Ovarian Operating System).

I just love that.

question: got any good ones?

mompoet - calling a spade a ergonomically proportioned excavation device

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

love cascade

So I've been wondering why I have not written any poetry all summer and I think maybe I know the reason (er excuse?)...It's love and worry. I think if I wrote a poem I might explode or just cry for a few days or laugh hysterically so I'm holding back until I'm feeling less intensely everything about everything then I'll write. I'll write buckets. It's in there - just way to much to let out at the moment.

My major concern is that my sister and her family are leaving for Africa in just one week. They'll come into town tomorrow for "final shopping for appropriate clothing to wear in a Muslim country," and some visiting before they go. Then they will be in Africa for 1 or 2 years, depending on how it goes. I'm happy that they are doing something that they want to do, but I will miss them so much I don't even want to think about it right now. I know I'll get used to it, and we'll all learn how to write letters again but...mmmph.

And the other thing is Andy's work stress. Big huge gigantic busy movie summer, lots of wear and tear on everyone at work and wacky scheduling. He missed our camping trip and I miss him and when he's here he's tired and preoccupied, and I know it's like this when work gets busy and I'm not always sweet, serene, available and focussed myself but....mmmmmmphhh!

Also the end of the summer at my day camp and working with the best team of leaders I've had around in a long time. They've been so good at their work of course but what I've appreciated the most is how much joy they have taken in the children this summer, and in working with each other. Heck, they were leg-wrestling in Robson Square on Saturday night after the staff dinner and before the bowling. It's not always like that, you know. So I said good-bye and good luck to them on Monday and we locked up the shed and put the bows and arrows in safe storage for the winter, and I'm going to miss them too. At work, summer is important and intense then it's over. I served them up a picnic lunch at the park with a tablecloth and home-made pickles and I made them all cards, then they gave me a huge bouquet of flowers and an even nicer and funnier card with a photograph of me doing my Cousin It impersonation, and also a gift certificate for the Hart House. I felt overwhelmed by these expressions of their regard for me and for our summer together. And I'm going to miss them...mmmmmph!

And it's a bunch of other stuff too - daughter's anticipation and wonderful performance in the PNE talent show, school starting, festival and other events approaching, all good but challenging, surely too much transition for the tablespoon-sized coping centre of my brain.

Then I won the poetry slam Monday night and everyone said nice things to me and I get to be in the finals next week to try out for the second Vancouver team at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and it's just about more than I know what to do with at this particular time.

Oh, also, the gym is closed for maintenance. I know, I can go to another gym or go for a walk, but right now I would really like to kick my very own bike #29 into orbit for about an hour or so. Gym re-opens on Tuesday. I'll be there.

So, I am not going to have a drink or eat a bunch of chocolate, and I will not watch stupid tv and I will not bake or clean something (all typical panic responses when I feel overwhelmed). I will try to reflect and let it all wash over me, this over-the-top happy and over-the-top sad. I will go to church on Sunday (I've been in summer mode, sleeping in or going away on weekends) because I always find courage there.

And I will not write a poem. Not right away. But when I do, later, watch out. It might be a tsunami.

question: ever had some sum that's too much more than its parts?

mompoet - exceeding my limit and trusting that I won't tip over

I'm back (you're front)

Our computer had a virus. Now it is better. It's way too late for me to post anything but this announcement. I will have lots to say tomorrow. I will say some of it. Probably too much.

i'll be bach
you be beethoven

dumm dumm da dummmm

ps I won the poetry slam tonight (I mean yesterday) I mean yeeesshhh.

Good nougat and dreet sweams


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

does it matter what a poet looks like?

This is not a rhetorical question. Seriously. I want to know.

I have been thinking a lot about poets and what they look like. At the Vancouver Poetry Slam, I always try to find a picture of the feature poet on the web before I go to the show, so I can say hi before the show, and also so I know that's the poet. My observation so far is that woman poets look all kinds of different ways, but more often than not, the visiting poet from another city, if he's a man, is usually the weirdest looking person in the place. Sorry,sorry,sorry to all of the visiting man poets who I have met and who I now think look just fine. It's just before I know them, they look weird to me. Once I see/hear them perform and introduce myself and say hi, then they all look spectacularly beautiful and brilliant. I am not exaggerating. I am that easily swayed.

Which is why I was very surprised when I first saw George Bowering. I had seen photographs of him like this and this and this. So I had a certain expectation. (actually, not weird, but pretty much "literary" looking.)

Then he came to the West Coast Poetry Festival in July, and he looked like this. Yup. George Bowering looked like Hank Hill on King of the Hill.

I know it should not matter at all what a poet looks like (to answer my own question, rhetorical or not). But it may be distracting, at least for a while. Until the poet reads or recites his work then it doesn't matter. The impression made by the words overwhelms that first, shallow one.

I wonder what I look like when I perform as a poet. A Homemaker Mom, I suspect. Like this, or this, or this. That can be overcome somewhat by my words, but I think they mostly reinforce the mom-ness of me.

question: Were you ever surprised by someone's appearance?

mompoet - trying not to look, only to listen

strange days

transition means leggy petunias more stem than flower, back-to-school haircuts, stacks of duo tangs empty and expectant, cold in the morning - hot at noon, last blast of corn and tomatoes and first new apples at the produce store, emailing a friend in the final days of a year off teaching to be with the baby, nobody in the high school parking lot but probably next week, a letter from the middle school, shopping for running shoes, PNE, ice back in at the arena, spider webs outside the back door, damp lawn at night, ripe blackberries on menacing vines, planning events for September...October...summer's end

question: how do you fall?

mompoet - falling, definitely

Monday, August 22, 2005

the dark is creeping in

Now it's dark when I let the dog out first thing in the morning, and dark when I walk her in the evening. I love summer and will continue to love it for a few more weeks. But I feel sad to know from day one it is a continual process of decline, from the longest day downward.

Oh well, there is one consolation...the shortest day is on its way. I like that even better.

question: what's your favourite time of year?

mompoet - liking the uphill trek better than the downhill slide

Sunday, August 21, 2005

new weebl and bob cartoon (about cats)

Believe me, I don't link every new weebl and bob cartoon to my blog - just a select few. Most of them, if you knew I liked them, you wouldn't like me anymore. But this one is charming. Well, er, funny.... to some people.

question: do you iron your cat?

mompoet - immature

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Damn Spamn

I've just received my second spam comment on my blog. When it happens I'll just shut off the comments to that post but what a nuisance. I thought nobody read these anyway, but now I know some horrible computer programs is locked in with a tractor beam and advertising anatomical enhancements, payday loans, instant university degrees and cheap prescription drugs in the comments section of


mompoet - zorching spam on my barbeque and feeding it to the wolves

the thing about overbites

I have always been a sucker for overbites. I think they are cute. Here are my two favourite celebrity overbites.

overbite man
overbite woman
(she's the one on the left. Edward Norton is cute too, but he doesn't have an overbite)

I had one too when I was twelve (still do, just a little). Without a good orthodontist I would have grown up looking like this.

question: why is imperfect better than just perfect?

mompoet - biting my lip

bruschetta night

Friday, August 19, 2005

my husband is a tech wiz

He fixed the camera. First of all he was super nice about my splashing and smashing it, then he fixed it. That's me and Kirsi having a drink and laughing about smashed up stuff and how husbands take photographs. He wanted to stand right in front of us. As if!

Now I've got some tomatoes to chop and can. House is cooler. Husband and daughter are out buying school supplies. Son is shouting at the football game on tv. Neighbours are shouting too. With the windows open it sounds like stereo.

Life is good.
Kirsi, I am glad you are home after 3 weeks in Ontario. I had no one to drink with on the road.

question: what's your best side?

mompoet - going to smash some tomatoes and crush some cilantro

mama don't play no ukulele

Yesterday I got dog poo on my shoe while I was at work. I grabbed my spare pair out of the car only to discover they already had dog poo on them. Then I dunked the digital camera under the tap at camp and dropped it on the gravel. The guy at Van Cam says it's not worth fixing. Drats.

Today is much better. I took the day off work, which is always delicious. Andy took the boy-teen to Playland to ride the PNE rides with no lineups. The day before the fair opens all of the extra rides are operating, and included in your Playland pass.

Drama girl and I went to the musical theatre teacher's house for a choreography session in preparation for the PNE Star Discovery Kids Talent Show. Yup, our daughter is in the semi-finals next weekend. Then we went to Granville Island for the day. We had a great time - a little bit of poking in stores (she bought beads and hemp for bracelets), and some lunching and sitting out in the square watching the boats and the people. Ralph Shaw, the Ukulele King was playing, which delighted me. I asked my daughter if she remembered when we saw him on New Year's Day and she did.

When the kids were little, our New Year's Eve tradition included lunch with friends and a visit to Burnaby Village Museum on New Year's Eve Day. The village is all dressed for Christmas, with musicians and storytellers throughout the day. Daughter first saw Ralph Shaw in Brookfield Hall (the village's vaudeville theatre) when she was 4 years old. I remember he played a nose flute which she found totally enchanting.

So we were back there again when she was 6, and she read on the schedule that Ralph Shaw would perform on New Year's Day at noon. I agreed to bring her back (it was the very next day, but what else did we have to do?) Nobody else in the family wanted a repeat visit so soon, so we went on our own. Well, it turned out that nobody else in the world thought of going to Burnaby Village Museum at noon on New Year's Day. We had the place, and Ralph, to ourselves. Another entertainer came and sat down to listen to his set, because there was literally nobody else there. We sat outside on the porch of the ice cream parlour and enjoyed all kinds of old songs and a bit of chat. Daughter was too old to dance, but young enough not to shy away at this exclusive performance.

The only other time I can remember being the only one in the audience was at a performance of Haunted House Hamlet at Presentation House in North Vancouver. The show was staged in all of the back rooms and corridors of the theatre and on the stage, with scenes taking place simultaneously. It was a sparse house that night, and I found myself in the bowels of the theatre, with three actors performing a scene (I can't remember which). It felt weird be outnumbered, but I liked it.

Today, twelve year old daughter made sure we didn't get too close to Ralph Shaw, and declined to take the coins up to the ukulele case at the end of the show. Of course she didn't dance, but we enjoyed watching a three-year old girl spinning joyfully across the square.

She asked how buskers make enough money to live and I said I thought they also did paid shows like at the village and maybe taught music lessons. I asked her if she thought I might take ukulele lessons one day and she said, "You would!" Then I suggested that if I did I might just haul that ukulele along to parties and family gatherings and yank it out after supper and say, "Who's for a hootenany?" That earned an eye-roll, a nose-wrinkle and a brow-scrunch. I guess she's a normal teenager.

It was a much better day today. When we got home, daughter helped make supper. Husband and son came home tired and happy from Playland. Best of all, Andy's not on night shift for a while so our family gets right-side-up again. I love the movies, but not when they take my husband away all night.

Now I'm going to clean my shoes, load the dishwasher and make some bruschetta (I bought 20 pounds of Okanagan tomatoes just perfect). Ooops! Kirsi just phoned. I'm going to go sit by the side of the road and drink a beer instead.

The shoes (and the poo) will be there later.
The tomatoes will keep.
Too bad about the camera.
I will never play the ukulele.

question: have you ever showed up for a show and you were the only one?

mompoet - maybe the nose flute?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why I love my job

Well, here's one example anyway:

On Wednesday one of the day camp leaders phoned in sick and there was no sub available, so I was the craft leader for the day, while the other leaders took groups nature-hiking and canoeing. The craft was picture frames. Each camper brought "treasures" from home to stick onto his/her picture frame using a hot glue gun. They brought beads and buttons and seashells and pretty rocks and get the idea.

So the youngest group (6 and 7 year olds) comes to the table. I show them the craft and they get started...

mp: Hey Josh, what treasures did you bring?

J: (emptying his ziplok bag) Look, I got a wolf spider. I found it at home and nobody wants it!

mp: That's a very beautiful spider. Did you bring it to show your friends?

J: I brought it for my picture frame.

mp: Oh. Are you going to glue it on there with those pretty rocks you brought?

J: They're not rocks. They're diamonds.

mp: Oh yes, I can see that!

So he made a beautiful picture frame, decorated with 6 mineral samples and a dead wolf spider, all stuck on with a glue gun. The spider really was beautiful. It was pretty much intact, with 7 remaining legs stuck on pretty good, especially with the application of a glue gun.

It's good to see kids just liking what they like. The other 6 and 7 year olds liked the wolf spider picture frame too.

So that was my day. Oh, I also got to do storytelling. Haven't done that in over a year since our daughter (the younger of the two) decided that she is old enough that Mom may no longer come tell stories to her class. It was fun.

question: what do you like about your job?

mompoet - lucky

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

nature is nature

Tonight it rains on my house.
I will sleep by 11 and rise again at 5.
We sorted school supplies and marked the list.
More movies are being made in Vancouver, but not so many that the people in the lab can't drive home in the rain in the morning.
The movies will still not all be good.
Soon we will return to the bluff trail and forget about the movies.

question: does anyone hear the pillow's song?

mompoet - zzz

At least he knew the right thing to say...

I got bit by a parrot this morning. One like this. I was feeding my neighbour's bird and he stuck his beak out through the bars (I did not put my finger in the cage) and he bit me. I let out a little gasp when he let go, and he gasped back, "ooooomph." Then he tried to bite me again so I distracted him by jingling my keys over the top of the cage while I tried to reconnect and padlock the food dish back into place. But he was too smart. He turned around and headed back for my fingers saying, "Ouch! Ouch!" as he came after me. I was quick and just kept holding different things over the cage for him to go look at and I got the food and water dish back in and padlocked in place.

Nice of him to say ouch though. Do you think he felt my pain?

question: is Fritz related to Kanzi?

mompoet - ouch

nature is pretty good a lot of the time

Summer is ending.
The kids are growing up.
I came in third in the poetry slam tonight.
My sister leaves for Africa in 3 weeks.
I have been up since 5am. It is now 1am all over again.
The spiders are back.
The corn is ripe.
My son's jeans are too short again and he needs another haircut.
About a million movies are being made in Vancouver as we speak.
2 of them will be good.
Somewhere it is raining

question: how does it all fit?

mompoet - going to sleep on it

Sunday, August 14, 2005

nature imperfect part too

Bats now.

question: where? why?

mompoet - I know, that's two questions

Fort Ebey

What a great weekend. We camped two nights in Fort Ebey on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Usually this time of year we go to Deception Pass, but it was full. Turns out we had an even better time. It was hot in the afternoon but cool enough at night for sweatpants and zipped up sleeping bags. We heard foghorns and bouy-bells and walked on a spectacular bluff trail. I accidentally caught the sunset when I sneaked out of dishwashing time to stretch the dog. A big mango disc slipping remarkably quickly behind on of the San Juan Islands with the water and sky all around it just like old hydrangeas. I thought I was by myself, but then I heard applause and cheers for the sunset from twos and threes of fellow sky-watchers perched on the bluffs and parked on the trails here and there. That's the goodness of camping, you can just stand there and watch the sky and it's the best show there is.

Speaking of the dog, she suspended her morbid camera fear on the beach one day and we got some good shots which is wonderful. She's been with us 2 1/2 years, and I think I have one photograph that isn't of her butt in frightened retreat.

We had a campfire both nights with enough s'mores to keep the kids all sticky and happy and saying things like "shmellow time!" It's so damp there from the morning ocean fog that they rarely ban fires. My friends Louise and Robin and Ralph and my parents were there too. We shared the cooking and washing up and the kid-watching and did a bit of exploring and some sitting and relaxing. My big triumph is learning to park the trailer (with a little help from Louise).

Now there's laundry and gear stowing. We won't camp again this summer, so I'll transfer the stuff like the stove and the little tent into our emergency bin in our shed. We're already talking about where to go next year. Summer is so short.

question: is marshmallow liking/not liking genetically determined?

mompoet - not liking

Back to work is busy and BLUE

Forgot to mention. This photo's a little dark, but the walls are blueberry ice cream and the trim is a Canuck jersey.

The hallways are biological beige like walking around inside a big pair of panty-hose. Yowza!

question: what's your favourite colour?

mompoet - cool

Friday, August 12, 2005

nature imperfect

I'm going to sleep in the woods this weekend and listen to the supper song of the barred owl as he chows down on platefuls of spotted owls, and contemplate beluga autoimmune hemochromatosis. I still think, all in all, nature works, but sometimes you have to wonder.

question: who cooks for yoooooooo!

mompoet - owlish AND leviathan

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bonobo Review the longer version

Well, not too much longer because now I have to go pack the trailer for our weekend camping trip before I get too tired to see straight. Oh yeah, I don't see straight ever anyway. Never mind, I have lots of time.

The Leaky Heaven Circus in Bonobo
is at the Russian Hall in Strathcona until August 22.

We got down to the Russian Hall about at 7pm last night to get "2 for 1 at the door" preview tickets. I drove my sister and brother-in-law's other car (by the way, the Sub is taken, in case you got that email that I sent out that they are giving it away). Their other car is a Taurus station wagon that seats 6, so I could fit five kids and me inside. It had all of their camping gear in it too, and I'm pretty sure I sat on my sister's hat all the way to Vancouver.

Anyway, we got there, and there's this Happyland Carnival happening on the street outside the theatre. There are carnival booths with jarred oddities to look at, and a dog-girl, and lots of orphans and other weird characters and games of course and a Russian insulter who you can throw a pie at for a loonie. The kids took a look around and asked if they could wait in the car. They were so afraid to be embarrassed or associated with weirdness or something, but I pocketed and keys and told them we were going to the carnival. I had to play a bit to get them going, but they came around. They shot super-hero toys off of shelves with an air gun and popped balloons with darts and even won the shell game (I got tricked) but they wouldn't dance in the parade. Our son threw a pie and missed. It was lovely and weird and good.

Then the show started. It's based on the ape-language research that was done in the 80s in the States. What I liked most about it was how it captured the simulatneous earnest good-intention and total otherness of research about human beings talking to chimpanzees. I remember feeling a prickly thrill back then, when I read about an ape making up a sentence to ask the scientist to chase him and tickle him. This moment is in the play. But at the same time it's off-the-wall silly and irreverent and philosophical and smart and acrobatic. There are children in it and a dog. The actors are all wonderful. Costumes, sets, lighting very effective. I got prickles again but I was also falling over laughing and groaning at lame jokes and marvelling at the acrobatic skill of the actors and the wonderful musicians who played at the side of the stage.

The kids were all stiff and tense at first, wouldn't sit in the first row (they've been to Leaky Heaven shows before) but they wished they had sat there when Matata, the Mommy ape, simultaneously mused in french about the meaning of life and made a banana split which she then fed to the kids who were still immune enough to embarassment to sit in the first row.

This week my children and their cousins have been feeling like they are too old for things that they loved just a little while ago: campfire night at my daycamp, the Granville Island water park. It's sad to see them rush up to something with that same joy then back away and close up into a shell of self-protection. I know I have a short time to chase and tickle them back to child-like silliness before they just refuse, and act way too grown up for a few years. Luckily they have my genes, so they'll likely start acting like silly babies again before they are 25, but in the meantime....

So if you have a 12 year old, or a 15 year old, maybe you should take him or her to Bonobo. Go early and experience a full hour of Happyland too. Bring quarters and loonies for the insulter and the balloon pop and go feel prickly about people connecting with apes and with themselves. Or go for some other reason. I know you'll like it no matter what.

question: how come I still don't feel grown up?

mompoet - I can still get them to play Balderdash all night, and that's a good thing

what kind of birthday present do you buy your sister when she's leaving soon to live in eritrea for 2 years?


question: do you think that's okay?

mompoet - the kids are still screaming with laughter

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Go to Bonobo

I just saw Leaky Heaven Circus in Bonobo. It's very good. It was fun watching the kids curl up at the weirdness of the Happyland Carnival and slowly breathe out and allow themselves to have fun. They are growing up too fast.

I'm too tired to tell about the show tonight, and also hoping to get up and make it to the 6:15 cycle class in the morning so I'll post about it tomorrow. Just get tickets, go. It's a good show.

Bonobo - ooooh ooooh oooh eeeeeeeee!!!!! ah!ah!ah! (fart)

question: ooooh?

mompoet - ba-nana

Sunday, August 07, 2005

almost monday

If you are bored at work tomorrow you could make one of these. And I thought I was behaving outrageously with that oreo-middle goo-ball that I keep in my desk drawer.

question: did you have a good weekend?

mompoet - going to pack lunch now

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I am not a neatnick by any means but this drives me crazy

The entrance hallway in our house makes your average telephone booth look like a grand ballroom, so there's not much space for abandoned footwear. We do take our shoes off when we come in, but geeeezzz...there's a place for them in the closet. I put one of those multi-level wooden shoe shelves in there and they do fit neatly and easily. Especially now that we have 6 extra feet living in the house for a few days we have way too many shoes.

I love every single person who wears these shoes, and I'm grateful that I don't come home to only my own lonely shoes, but I wish that all the people who I love would put their shoes away. When I put the shoes away myself, it backfires. First, the shoe-wearers get annoyed, because they can't find their shoes. "Where are my shoes?" "I can't find my shoes!!!!" "I'm in a hurry...Where are my shoes?" Then they complain "You put my shoes away. Why can't you just leave them out where I can find them?"

I could understand this if they were firefighters who had to jump into their shoes and get out the door to save lives, or if we had snakes and scorpions in the closet, so it was unsafe to put their shoes in there. But really...why can't they reach into the closet and get their shoes when they need them, and put them back in there when they do not?

Picture this: two kids coming in the door from the water park, taking off their wet flip-flops and leading a wet dog, who has waited to come into the house to give herself a good shakey-shake-shake, one husband going out the door and trying to find his shoes, and me, with a leaky bagful of drippy potato peels trying to get out to the trash (I know, I should compost, but I'm too busy rearranging shoes to compost) and the phone is ringing, but we can't find it because it's inside a shoe...Maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I maintain that our shoe proliferation problem exacerbates domestic chaos.

The second problem that happens when I put the shoes away is that I feel resentment. Heck yeah, I do. And I try not to do things that cause me to feel resentment, because that means I'm making a choice to feel miserable and it's my own responsibity to choose another path. So what path? I've talked to the shoe-wearers and requested that we each keep one pair of shoes only "ready for immediate use" and put the others away. They agree but don't follow through. I could live with the pile of shoes but that bugs me too. But it doesn't bug me as much astidying them and having my loved-ones get annoyed and being resentful myself, so I guess that's what I'll do.

Maybe I'll start hanging my bras on doorknobs all around the house and insist that I need them there so I can find them when I have to put on a bra and run out the door. But they probably wouldn't get it. Also, I do have my own junkpiles in other parts of the house that probably bug them like the shoes bug me. Actually, I don't think so, but I can pretend because it makes me feel better.

question: any suggestions for eliminating this shoe-phoria?

mompoet - bitch, bitch, bitch (sigh)

Friday, August 05, 2005

listening to myself

The other night I said:

"When you all go to bed, it's okay to talk quiety with your cousin or cousins in your own room but THERE WILL BE NO:
  • shouting between bedrooms
  • running up and down the hall
  • knocky-nine-doors
  • notes stuffed under bedroom doors
  • talking through the heating vent
  • yelling out the window
  • tin cans with strings
  • morse code wall-banging
  • mental telepathy
The kids thought I was nuts, but they were quiet.

question: did you ever listen to yourself and hear your mom?

mompoet - doing it all the time

Playland Survival Tips

I booked off work today and took the penta-gaggle to Playland. We planned to take transit, but it's a 3-zone fare on a weekday, so would have cost us $19.50 each way (gadzooks). My dad kindly shuttled some of the kids in his car and I drove too. So much for sustainable transportation alternatives. I know if we were regular transit users we'd have passes or faresavers and it would have been cheaper, but I can't think it would have been that much cheaper. When we were finished, two of the boys bused home and got back before we did, so Translink did make its contribution to our day.

The kids had a blast of course. They're old enough to take off and keep an eye on their watches. As long as they show up for our pre-agreed rendezvous and accept the food/water/sunscreen/check-in upon which I insist, they are free to explore and have fun and I stay out of their way. I brought a book in case they wanted to stay longer than I did, but I ended up riding the Coaster the whole time. I know I am verging on obsession with this ride, but it's harmless. They shut the ride down for 30 minutes mid-morning and I stuck around and watched them climb up to the middle of the second hill and fix something on the track. I got two front seat solo rides, which I love, and 6 rides in all, bringing me to 37 this season. I'm resigned to not making my target of 100, but 50 is definitely reachable. Every time I ride it I notice something that I have not noticed before, and every ride is different, with burps and bumps in different spots every time around. It's almost like it's alive. Good people-watching in the line-up too.

So here are my survival tips for Playland, in case you haven't taken your kids yet this summer:

1) Get a locker. It's $5 for the day with unlimited access. You rent a key at guest services and you can leave jackets, sunscreen, food, water, sleeping babies (well, maybe not). Ask for a big one if you need it. It will save you a ton of money on food and beverages and you won't have to haul your stuff around.

2) Bring lunch and water. There's nothing to eat at Playland unless you you like over-priced burgers and fries and pop or expensive bottled water. You can fit a couple of small cooler bags into the big locker. Take sandwiches and fruit in one, water bottles and/or juice in another. Bring some chips and pretzels and some cookies in a backpack and you might even get away without buying cotton candy and candy apples. The price of food can more than double your expenses if you buy on site. Bring real food and focus on the fun.

3) If you're planning to ride the Coaster, go to it first while the lineups are short and ride on the front car whenever the lineup for that seat is fewer than 5 rides. It's less than 2 minutes for a complete circuit, so you'll be on in just 10 minutes once you get into the "shed." Same for the back car.

4) If you don't care which car you're in on the Coaster, you can get on faster by grabbing the extra seat. There are 8 seats in every train, but only 7 slots for loading. Somewhere in the middle of the train there will be an extra seat "between slots." Most times nobody gets in because they have been queueing and are pretty much robot-brains. Everyone stands and stares at the empty seat. Be ready and take the extra seat, you can ride twice as much if you do this.

5) Get free ice-water. There's a big spout-jug of it by the rear door of the White Spot concession near the entrance to the park. If you're on the run, they have paper cups. If you have a water bottle, fill it up. The water is cold and lovely and free, and it will keep your kids from fainting and getting heat stroke and you from getting a headache and hating everything. Did I mention it's free?

6) Talk to people. I have good conversations in the lineup. People are there to have fun and they like to compare kid stories or ride stories. If they look like they don't want to talk, eavesdrop. It's great entertainment while you wait.

7) Find shade. There are trees and grass in the Southeast corner of the park, between the Coaster and the mini-golf. You can sit on the ground or at a picnic table to rest, re-hydrate, eat lunch. This is also a good rendezvous point.

8) Leave when you have had enough. Whether you have a day pass or a season's pass, the worst half hour is the last if you should have left already. The best is when you leave laughing and talking about the fun you had.

I had a great time. The kids were all ready to leave at the same time. Dad treated us all to Szechuan supper, so we are now full and tired and happy. Good day.

question: do you know any Playland secrets?

mompoet - still afraid of the haunted house ( and I don't like the Wild Mouse either)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

weird cousinosophy

My sister and I know things about each other in ways that defy science and logic. No matter where we are, we just know things about each other. Like when she was cycle-touring South America and I dreamed that I flew to Brazil to give her maternity clothes that would be comfortable on a bike, and she phoned the next day to say she was unexpectedly pregnant.

Then there was/were our second children. We each phoned our mom on the same day (from different cities) to tell her the good news that we were pregnant again. Mom laughed her head off when I phoned. I said, "Mom, this is happy news, not funny news." She said, "phone your sister." Then we gave birth the very same day, Barb in Cranbrook, me in Burnaby. So we have twin cousins who are uncannily alike. I just heard my daugher arguing with my son in the basement, then I realised it was my nephew, he just sounds like my daughter. And they have similar personalities, tastes in food, etc.

Barb's husband once claimed he is the father of both of them. Actually, he told an old lady at the bus stop who was fussing over the babies. "Yeah, they're sisters. They gave birth on the same day. I'm the father." Well, I can tell you, it ain't so. But I didn't tell the lady. I just smiled like a good plural wife because it was fun to rattle her and I was still pretty wacked out from giving birth. Anyway. The twin cousins get reunited a few times every year, and I'm always delighted how they are growing up so different and so similar all at once.

Tomorrow the girl twin, who has just overcome her fear of the Hellevator at Playland, is going to get the boy twin to go on it too. I can hardly wait. One day they will appear in the same Broadway play. Barb and I will be in the audience, laughing our heads off in a happy AND funny way.

question: I don't know, ask the kids

mompoet - surrounded by stinky sneakers and walking miracles

we don't have to go to starbucks any more....

Finally we have an independent, family owned coffee place back within dog-walking distance of home. Il Mercante opened a few weeks ago at 50 Queens Street - spitting distance from the Bluck. It fronts onto the new Port Moody Square at the blocked-off bottom of Queens. It's a good place.

Fred Soofi (owner of Pasta Polo) owns this place too. He is good stuff, a real community-active guy who supports local political candidates, contributes to community festivals and events and fundraises big-time whenever there's a disaster somewhere in the world and help is needed. The new restaurant is smaller and more casual, and will include a deli soon, but you could go there for lunch or supper - not just coffee. They have pizzas, pastas, paninis and additional foods that do not begin with the letter p, but I can't think of them. The coffee? Goooooooooooooooood. Prices beat Blah-bucks too. Opens early and stays open weeknights until 10 at least. Dog friendly patio not dominated by smokers. good, good, good. This is our new place.

question: why would you eat cardboard with a plastic fork when the real cannoli is right across the street?

mompoet - la la la liking it

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


My sister and her family just arrived at our house this evening. Barb and Kim will leave the kids with us while they go to Ottawa for a week's training for their year (or two) in Eritrea. Until Sunday night we'll have 5 children, ages 9-15 years. It will be noisy and fun. Thank goodness for Costco, I think we'll have enough food.

I'm tired and busy and will try to post some photos and thoughts. For tonight, a mixture of offerings from previous posts. This is my clip-show blog:

Today in a final burst of pre-return-to-work productivity I help in shelter an escaped mental patient in a cave and prepare his bedroom for painting. My only complaint is thanks to Andy's green thumb the wizards are in the thick of puberty. JK Rowling got this one right, although I half-wish we called them "thongs." I had planned to sit with coffee and the newspaper and wear pajamas as long as possible. But that was not to be. My husband likes to have all of the latest electronic gadetry. We were in a a giant industrial building now full of artists' studios. At the front of the class, our endorphin-pusher urges us to go faster, pedal harder, INCREASE THE TENSION!!!! Why do things always happen in weird clusters? AROOOOOOOOOO!

That was fun.

question: what is the square root of happy?

mompoet - fractal pterodactyl

Monday, August 01, 2005

of course they didn't do that...

Remember last week's news item about the sign on the London Subway urging passenger to walk, not run, especially if they were carrying rucksacks or "looked foreign." It was on the TV news - maybe the newspapers, I don't know, I haven't read them during my holidays.

Anyway, I emails snopes, the Urban Legends Website, and they've just posted an item about this story.

question: is it that easy to fool the news?

mompoet - I know, I know...

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

question: whatcha reading?

mompoet - happy and relaxed


That header is for my niece Maya, who wrote a hilarious poem that uses only one word, "pickles," over and over and over. I think it also includes eating and throwing pickles which are stored loose in pants and jacket pockets. She wants me to perform it at the bad poetry slam, but I said it's her poem so I'd be disqualified. She'll have to come and do it herself. I'll provide the pickles and do the laundry after.

Today in a final burst of pre-return-to-work productivity I canned 20 pounds of dill cukes. I'm on the list at the produce store so the guy will call me when the good stuff comes in. These are definitely good. The dog and me crunched quite a few just raw and fresh as I worked. Yum.

Jamming, pickling, canning, wine-making...these things all make me feel happy. Good stuff for my family and to give as gifts. Food that is totally pure and nutritious and sometimes cheaper than the store bought alternative, and always tastier, well, except for the wine, but it's cheaper for sure.

So I'm ready to go back to work, yes I am. I'll take some pickles with me.

question: did you ever listen for jar lids to make that happy sNaP!!!?

mompoet - dome-estic