Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's starting to look like a bathroom

Kind of shiny and tiley and look, that's a cabinet - wrapped in plastic still but yup, it's starting to take shape. We are now in week four of no bath or shower in our house. We're getting along fine, but the bathroom, well it's beginning to look tantalizing. I know in a few weeks it will go back to being "just our bathroom," but right now we are very excited.

In other exciting news we have a new neighbour - little Nathan came home with Aaron and Christina last week - born 5 weeks early, robust and ready to rock the night away. Little baby ??? is due pretty much any day next door. On the other side next door, baby Tina is almost 14 months old. We are surrounded by babies, but we will have the youngest bathroom.

Also we have a new strata council for our townhouse complex, a new official board at the church (but not a new minister yet) and neighbour Shirley got a new puppy - a little whatzis named Sumi who barks and barks and runs 'round the mulberry bush day and night. But boy is she every cute.

I tried a new game at work this evening. We led a workshop for volunteer parents and students preparing to lead a lunch hour games program at a local school. The game is "Evolution." We all started out as eggs. I got up to the dinosaur level, but I kept getting knocked back down to egg. Maybe next time I'll be a ballerina, or a queen or even king. For now, being a dinosaur or an egg is okay, besides it's great exercise walking around like a chicken. Oh yeah, I was a chicken too.

question: what is this post supposed to be about?

mompoet - I forgot

Monday, February 27, 2006

the ultimate showdown

new from weebl and bob

question: ?

mompoet - I like Mr Rogers

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Face Off Broadcasts

Here's the scoop on broadcast time for the Vancouver CBC Poetry Face Off

All on CBC AM690 in Vancouver or on the internet click on 23 Vancouver.

One poem per day will be broadcast on "On the Coast" sometime between 3pm and 6pmPST:
Feb 27 through March 3
Monday: Elizabeth
Tuesday: Roger
Wednesday: Kim
Thursday: Sean
Friday: me

Then on Sunday March 5, all 5 poets will be broadcast on "North by Northwest" between 8 and 9amPST.

Voting isn't until some time in April. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for all of your support. I hope you can tune in.

mompoet - neglecting supper and spending way too much time at the computer

consciousness clusters

Did you ever notice that when you're thinking about something you see/hear/feel it everywhere? There's some kind of synchronicity to the major themes of living, at least in human perception. Maybe it's simply the power of suggestion, like when there's a lice epidemic at the elementary school, so you check your child and he/she is okay, but you can't stop itching and twitching, just thinking about it. Or maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but I don't think so...

For me, this week's theme is REDEMPTION.

I finished reading the deceptively simple and stunningly beautiful The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a redemption story with a capital "R." I Recommend it to anyone who has not read it yet, although I think most people have and I'm very late enjoying it. It's the story of a boy growing up in Afghanistan who feels he can never earn his father's love and respect, and so he makes choices and follows a path that leads him eventually to damn his own existence, even when he moves to the US, away from his past. Then an old friend gets in touch with him and tells him, "There is a way to be good again." That's what the story is about.

Saturday evening I watched Elizabethtown - yeah, I know, finally. We rented the dvd. The surrealism wasn't Andy's cup of tea, so I ended up clutching a blanket on the couch mesmerized by a redemption tale of another kind. In this one, a young man who has just created what he thinks is an irredeemable fiasco postpones suicide to attend to his father's unexpected death. Along the way he finds the opportunity to wake up from his sleepwalking existence and experience real sadness, joy and love.

Then in church on Sunday the sermon was about "lifting the veil" and receiving and giving out God's true light. One of the stories Mary told was of John Newton, the 18th century slave trader to whom God spoke during a storm at sea. He became a changed man, stopped his evil ways and wrote the well-loved hymn, Amazing Grace.

That's pretty much my clump of redemption references - enough to get me thinking about the idea of redemption and what it means. It occurred to me right away that in the case of Amir in The Kite Runner and Drew in Elizabethtown, redemption equalled life-saving relief from an unbearable state of existence. I don't know enough about John Newton but I wonder if it was the same for him. Was he stuck in a way of living that made him feel terrible, and grateful for the opportunity to make a change? And what about "Life after redemption?" Without giving away too much (for the 3 or 4 people who haven't read the book and/or seen the movie), both have happy endings. Predictably the movie is Hollywood-happy (Tom Cruise was one of the producers, and it was written by Cameron Crowe). The book's ending is much more satisfyingly real. In both cases "after" is much better than "before," and the stories are explorations of what's stopping the guy from changing, what it takes to make change possible, and what he has to do to get there. I think it's something everyone thinks about to greater and lesser degrees.

I think about my own small redemptions and how sometimes they are easy to accomplish and sometimes unexplainably impossible, and wonder if it's the same with great big ones? I want so much to depend less on attention and approval from external sources. I want to listen better and judge less. I want to be able to set aside my own comfort in a more genuine way and be more generous. I want to stop faking proficiency at some or all of the above and be more real about my own failings and insecurity. Not being able to do these things well (or to my own definition of "well") feels bad. I compare myself harshly to other people who I think are better, and I'm tempted to stop trying and just wallow in "that's the best I can do." But I can't because it feels too crummy when I even think about not trying.

So maybe redemption isn't the "after" it's the road you take toward it. The ending of the book or the movie, the historical tale and beloved song aren't the seal of accomplishment. They're just evidence of movement in the right direction. Maybe that's all there is. Maybe that's what is.

So I'll keep thinking about redemption. Now that I've tuned in to a cluster I'm sure more bits and pieces will come and stick to me like cat hairs. Let me know what you think.

question: what's your take on redemption?

mompoet - just thinking

Saturday, February 25, 2006

naked rumoli (names changed to protect the innocent)

We went over to Lucy and Ricky's place to play Rumoli with a few of the neighbours. One couple, Fred and Wilma, did not come because they were at Bam Bam's basketball game. Anyway. About 10pm, Fred calls to say they're home from the game. Wilma's staying home, but Fred will be over soon. By this time we have been playing (and shouting at each other) for about 2 hours. So we devise a plan to trick Fred.

We design a fetching tableau of "strip Rumoli." The men take off their shirts and tuck up to the table so they look naked. Lucy gets really bold and takes off her shirt, so she's playing Rumoli in her bra. I'm not so bold, but I decide to leave my shirt on and take off my bra. (All women know this skill by the way - how to keep our shirts on and take our bras off. My husband Rupert thinks it's the funniest thing he has ever seen - especially when I take off all my clothes and come to bed after doing the bra thing). Anyway, this time I just take off my bra, with the intention of hanging it outside on the front door knob. The plan is that Fred will show up, see a bra on the door knob, come inside and find us all playing "strip Rumoli," HA HA tricked you Fred!

So as I'm going up the stairs to the front door the door begins to open. Ooops! Fred just arrived before I could get the bra on the doorknob.

OOOOPPPPSSS!!! It's not Fred! It's Lucy and Ricky's two kids Little Ricky and Moon Unit, who are 8 and 12 years old, coming home earlier than we thought from a neighbour's where they were watching a video!!

I skedaddle back downstairs and run to the dining room to warn everyone to get their clothes on, but they are all laughing too hard at Lucy in her bra, and I am quasi-hysterical already at the thought of the boys walking in on our "strip Rumoli," so the best I can do is fall on the floor and scream and choke - no talking available.

The boys walk in to this charming scene and stand goggle-eyed for about 2 minutes before running out of the room to the safety of the basement. We all laugh for about 25 minutes. After that I couldn't talk because I think I ruptured a vocal cord. Oh yeah, after that, Ricky tried on my bra, but it doesn't suit him.

So now you know what we do for fun around here on a Friday night.

I am still laughing.

question: how would you explain this to the kids if it were your kids?

mompoet: I still haven't figured out how to put my bra back on without taking off my shirt

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dick Cheney's Got a Gun

If you haven't seen this cartoon already it's worth a look.

Not as technically pleasing as jib-jab but a perfect song pick for parody.

question: got shot?

mompoet - still finding a use for Aerosmith

what happened to just doing a good job?

BC Liberal Government fudge factory funding increased by more than 100% in the new provincial budget - The Tyee.

question: If we're so great why do we have to $hout?

mompoet - I'll pass on the fudge, thanks

thursday was plumbing day

The plumber was here all day Thursday. His name is Andrew. He and Mike worked together. Just to let you know how good they are, I didn't even notice when they maneuvered the tub into the house and fitted it into place. That's a big tub and a tight fit. It looks beautiful. I can hardly wait! They did set off multiple smoke alarms a couple times with welding (I think - I was staying out of the way). I had to protect Soleil, our dog, who is terrified of loud noises. I got her outside, of course, but that's not quite enough. We also had to do the peanut butter cure. We use this for firecrackers, smoke alarms and thunder. Poor dog trembles from head to toe, but if you hand-feed her a spoonful of peanut butter she gets all distracted enjoying it then licking her chops for about half an hour. So we made it through plumbing day.

question: what do you to to calm yourself down when you are scared?

mompoet - I hum. hmmmmm-mmmmm-hmmmmm

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Face Off Poem

The CBC Poetry Face Off will be broadcast on On the Coast (Friday, March 3) and North by Northwest (Sunday, March 5) - so it's next weekend, not this coming.

In the meantime, I have checked and found out it's okay to post the poem on my blog as long as I give credit:

This poem was commissioned by CBC Radio for the Vancouver Poetry Face Off. The theme of this year's event is "irresistible." All of the Face Off poems will be broadcast on CBC1 on the dates mentioned above. When I find out which segments I'll let you know what time to tune in. The poem will be re-broadcast in April in time for voting for the Canadian Face Off Champion.

Here it is:

Mother's Day

“What would you like?
Parched beard stubble whisper in tired ear
What would you like?”
A line from an old story, a good story, just a different page
“What would you like?”

He wants to please her
Or at least to wake her up
He’s longing for the girl who drank wine with him under the stars
The girl who licked butter and lemon juice from his elbow
Lay with him on the beach at midnight
Lightweight and alien as dandelion fluff in the sand
Oblivious to the rising tide
She was…..

touched/grabbed/clutched past the brink of exhaustion
An endless expanse of sticky limpet baby love and toddler-chasing
Her body a giant pair of shoulder blades clenched and aching
Cacophony-steeped soul now closed for the day
She does not want to play
She is the antithesis of desire
And yet, he sees…

the woman who sneaked with him on a Saturday
To the office of the boss at whom he was right pissed
The woman who swept pens and papers to the floor in one bold stroke
Pushed him down on the desk
Made a bed of oak
Creating between them their own private joke
A quickening of the heart at just the thought of it

She is a run-over grocery sack lying empty at the side of the road
A wound-down windup toy that will bite you if you wind it one more time
A slack-bellied bad hair day in a nursing bra and one of his old t-shirts
Diametrically opposed to beauty
He sees her…..

golden and lithe
Tastes her like cinnamon and electricity
Wants to please her or at least to wake her up
Craves her joy

She is stuck in the current chapter
The opposite of joy
Numbed fingers trace lines of instinct and obligation
Crave nothing but rest
Still, he wants her….

“Talk to me,”
He wants to hear the girl who once told him everything inside herself
Revealed spiral staircases and triangle closets full of quaint disguises
Stories to provoke and enchant
With the richness of shared hope and imagination

She talks
Spills a tale of diapers and blender jars, mastitis, teething pain, botched baby pictures and 3 year old sibling envy, cries about an article warning of a 4-week window for the development of hand-eye coordination – miss it and the child’s doomed to have someone else tie his shoes for him for the rest of his life
Tears and milk leak into the sheets
He waits, stays close, until torrents subside

With infinite patience, gentle persistence
Harbouring, perhaps, the hope of some affection in the wake of this storm of sadness
He holds her

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…
What would you like…to make you feel better I mean?”
Warm oatmeal muffin voice to weary heart
“Some time away?”

“Maybe,” she says
“Maybe if you take them, just part of a day…
I could read a book
Dig in the garden
Drink tea before it’s cold
Listen to the sound of my own thoughts
Feel my heart slowing
I will stand on the shelf like a jar of honey, refracting the afternoon light
Still and warm and quiet
Would you do that for me?”

“Anything,” he says
“Anything for you. Tomorrow -- your day.”

Now she holds him
“I would like that very much,” she says.
Words reassemble on the page
The old story, their story, new again
She finds him…

A new post from Keren

Guaza tree saga continued, dental adventures, middle school teachers and military service and Chez Lulu. Check out Barb's latest blog post..

question: do you like guaza?

mompoet - I like papaya

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

most interesting blog link (so far)

This must be the ingrown toenail of googling, but I was steered by Stephen's blog to Technorati where you can look up all of the blog links to your blog or any other site. Most of the people who have linked to mompoet I know, either in person or in the blog world. But here's the hidden treasure at the bottom of the list:

Ukulele Blue - The Ukulele Gossip Blog

Read to the bottom of the post and click on linked words: Ralph Shaw - The Ukulele King and you get to my blog about (among other things) Ralph Shaw the Ukulele King.


question: have you ever checked who is linked to you?

mompoet - feeling cosmic

Work in progress

I have not been boring you with bathroom reno details because the project has been on hold for a couple of weeks. Here are some photos (finally). We are now moving forward again.
Friends tell me that renos are always fraught with surprises, delays and setbacks. They also tell me that they tend to look like not much, not much, not much, then BOOM! they are complete. We are all keeping a sense of humour about it as we roll into week 3 of 4 people + 1 toilet and sink + no shower. We're hoping it will be mostly done by the middle of next week. It's going to be beautiful. It's going to be worth it. When we remember it, it will seem like a blink-worth of time.

question: what other things take longer than you think?

mompoet - waiting for BOOM!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I won

Last night I won the CBC Poetry Face Off. It was a very good contest. Cafe Deux Soleils was packed to the rafters. They turned people away at the door it was so full. My family and friends were there. The competition was friendly, with hugs and handshakes shared among the poets before and after.

I read first and I knew it went well, because nobody twitched/rustled/coughed. There's a special feeling when the audience is with you and you're almost breathing the poem together. I felt it last night. That's the best prize of all.

Five poets, all as different as you can imagine. Roger told about the irresistibility of Death, who visited him as a drag queen carrying an injection needle. Kim confessed an obsession for people who wear braces on their teeth. Sean told of a conversation with him mom, all around the topic "why?" Elizabeth proclaimed that her poem was free of graphicality and profanity then teased us with every sideways reference ever thought up, plus some new ones, including a very funny action song "fa la la la la." My poem was about overcoming resistance. I told about a pillow conversation between Andy and me when the kids were very little. I'll post it in a couple of days, and I'll find out when it will be on the radio next weekend and I'll let you know.

This CBC Poetry Face Off is a great deal. Seventy poets across Canada are showcased (and paid). In April the winners from each city will be posted on the CBC website so listeners may vote. The winner of that contest will be declared Canadian champion. I am so happy to see poetry getting this kind of attention. Poetry is fun and playful and dramatic and compelling. The Face Off celebrates this.

This morning I am tired, happy and still in a state of semi-disbelief.

question: did that really happen? or was it a dream?

mompoet - spinning (gratefully)

Monday, February 20, 2006

if you disapprove of swearing, genitals and blasphemy, don't look at this quiz

Weebl and Bob site has an amazing interactive quiz. Be careful.

question: what's your score

mompoet - laughing at icky stuff

Sunday, February 19, 2006

likes puns too much

Q: What do you call couch potatoes who get up on a winter Sunday and slide down the hill at Cypress Bowl?

A: Snow tubers

Question: aw shucks, will you forgive me?

mompoet - keeping my day job


Today is Sunday. I'm going to church this morning. I don't have to teach Sunday School so it's an easy morning. Actually, my teaching mornings have been a hoot these days because my class consists of 4 boys, ages 11 & 12 years. Last time I taught, they did a puppet show with me, starring "pretzel mouth Jesus." (That's the character that one of the boys made ups) And co-starring "really annoying Zaccheus" (That's another character developed by the actor who is truly not annoying in real life). They goof if up but in between they are so open and willing to talk about life and connect it to some of what the allegory means, and I always cut up in class when I was a kid, so I think it's funny. I just hope nobody walks in on us as pretzel mouth Jesus is spewing crumbs as he makes holy pronouncements.

So today I get to stay upstairs with the grownups so all I have to worry about is arriving a bit early to photocopy some notes from a meeting I was at on Wednesday. We're still working on hiring a new minister. Interviews will begin in a couple of weeks. It's a good committee, we are 8 people, ranging in age from 15 years up to 70-something. We are assisted by a minister from another church. We're doing a good job and they're all good to work with.

After church we are finally going snow-tubing. We've been trying to get a day together since mid-December. Today, all the stars are lined up, so at noon we head for Cypress Bowl to get hurled down the hill for a few hours. It's like swimming. I'm not looking forward to it right now, but after I dive in, I know I'll enjoy it. Alex and Fi are excited, and we're bringing a couple of friends along. It will be noisy and fun.

We have bought all of the big stuff for the bathroom now, thanks to Michele and Brent who loaned us their truck for the day on Saturday. The bathtub is even here, lurking in a corner of the carport, waiting to go upstairs. We have been on hold with renos for 2 weeks but we resume work tomorrow and should have a working and beautiful bathroom a few days after that. In the meantime, we have discovered the meaning of a good friend: someone who you feel comfortable asking, "May I please take a shower at your house?"

Tomorrow is a big day - The CBC Poetry Face Off is Monday evening. My poem is ready now. I love it. I really do. It's going to be a good show and I'm ready to be part of it. I just have to refrain, today, from breaking my leg snow-tubing (not likely) and also from screaming myself hoarse when they hurl me down the hill (probable).

Have a happy Sunday, anyone who reads this. And think of me Monday, 8pm PST. Send me good energy while I take my face off.

question: do you like to slide head-first or feet-first?

mompoet - found my snow pants so everything is good

Saturday, February 18, 2006

unhinged in burnaby

Last night, Mom, Robin and I saw Mom's the Word - Unhinged at the Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby. It was a celebration for us for a couple of reasons. First, we were celebrating Mom and Robin's birthdays. The evening at the show was my gift to them both. Second, we three saw the original Mom's the Word together when it first came out, about 14 years ago.

The play is hilarious and true and emotionally authentic. Four of the actors are from the original 6 who did the first show. It's a collaborative piece, with monologues, group scenes and hilarious musical numbers. And yes, the "naked mom" scene from Mom-1 is reprised, delightfully so.

Robin, Mom and I reflected about how we are in a very similar situation to where we were when we saw the first installment. At that time, Mom was a first time grandma who had "been there, done that." I was a dazed and crazed new mom. Robin was anticipating the day when she would be too. This time I'm the actual mom of teenagers, like the moms in the show. Robin has a 6 year old who will be a teenager (ready or not!). Mom has "been there, done that."

The play was better than most sequels. It was every bit as delightful and real as the first, but more polished and mature. Just like moms of teens, I guess. We are still dazed and crazed, but more at peace with being so, and able to articulate our experience better than when we were shell-shocked newcomers to motherhood. I guess we have a bit of perspective. That's how I felt about the evolution of the play from Part 1 to Part 2, anyhow.

The show is touring the 'burbs right now. If you get a chance to go, please do. Bring your mom, your sister, your "frister" (that's Robin). You will laugh your pants off and also cry a bit.

question: seen any good sequels lately?

mompoet - dazed and crazed but at peace with it

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Mohammed Cartoon and May-December Romance in Eritrea

A new post from the Eatburns in Eritrea, this time from my brother-in-law Kim.

question: why is it as soon as you think about someone, something comes to you from that person?

mompoet - maintaining confidence in the cosmic connection

Dear Cathy

Thank you for loaning me The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I am loving it very much, as do apparently many other readers. I was reading it yesterday while I made a blood donation, and 3 different people came up to me and told me what a good book it is. It is so good that I have stopped reading the newspaper, which is a real indicator. I must apologize that I got pomegranate juice on pages 91 and 92. Just wanted to let you know that's all it is. Also I cried shortly after, but I managed to keep the pages dry. I can see that this will be story of redemption (I hope). My emotional response so far is to love Amir and hope hope hope that things will get better for him. And also to hope hope hope they won't get worse for Hassan and Ali. That's all I'll say for now. I also began worrying about my sister and her family in Africa, even thought The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan. But just about everything makes me feel that way, only this story especially.

Thank you Cathy. I'm going to finish this book in the next 24 hours. It is spectacular.

question: what are you reading?

mompoet - novel-chomper

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Quiz

Welcome to the Kwizz Quiz. Answer these five easy questions and discover your KWIZZ personality!!!
  1. You are wandering randomly around the internet, and you find a quiz. What do you do?

  2. I read the introduction and scan the questions, then take the quiz if it interests me.
    I skip the quiz. Quizzes are evil.
    I call a friend and ask her if she's taken the quiz, then decide what to do.
    No question, TAKE THE QUIZ! TAKE THE QUIZ!

  3. When you were a kid, did you ever make up a quiz and ask your friends to take it?

  4. I didn't have any friends when I was a kid.
    Because of a rare learning disability, I communicated only by multiple choice.
    all of the above

  5. What is the most fun for you?

  6. quizzes

  7. Choose the statement that applies most accurately to you:

  8. I buy Cosmo magazine just to take the quiz then I throw the magazine away.
    I love filling out the census form. They don't do that often enough.
    My favourite part about donating blood is answering the donor questionnaire.
    all of the above

  9. If I had personal license plates on my car, they would most likely spell:

  10. SCNTRN

Kwizz Quiz Results - Your KWIZZ personality
Here's what your score means:
0-10 You are immune to quizzes. Why you took this one, we'll never know.
11-15 You enjoy a quiz now and then but you are trying to cut down.
16-21 You are a quiz dork. You can find another fine quiz at the "Give Me More" link below.
Thank you for taking the Kwizz Quiz

things are growing all around

Even on a frosty morning...

question: have you spied a crocus?

mompoet - wearing mittens and looking for spring

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Day

question: x?

mompoet - amateur food stylist

another dog-walking haiku

black cat named hugo
ambushed my dog this morning
dance bat scamper gone

question: howz yer vanlentinze going?

mompoet - eating chocolate at 8:23am

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2 second movie review from the "W" section of the video store

Wedding Crashers - don't fail to miss it
Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill - see it! see it! see it!

question: what does Owen Wilson's nose remind you of?

mompoet - drawn to people who demonstrate rare enthusiasm

the handy men of toilet sunday

A fine new toilet was installed at our house today. You will note from the pictures (if you are observant) that this is not the same bathroom shown in the "before" pictures of one week ago. In fact, installing a toilet was not in the plans for today. The upstairs bathroom that we are renovating still has no toilet. But due to unforseeable circumstances, the remaining toilet became inoperable today. After 6 hours of toilet-wrestling, 3 flange-seal assemblies and a couple of trips to the hardware store, the new toilet that we bought for upstairs is installed downstairs. It is a beautiful toilet that works whoosh-fully well. We will buy another new toilet for the upstairs bathroom this week. And now, we have two old toilets sitting in the back yard, wondering if they can be planters or fish bowls or if they really have to go to the dump. (They really have to go to the dump.) I am grateful to Andy and to our friend Tom, who came to the rescue. I am grateful that the swimming pool in our complex was open all day, so we could go and use the toilet in the changeroom there, and did not have to knock on neighbours' doors for the 6 hours that we had no toilet whatsoever. I am grateful that we just happened to have a spare toilet lying around that could be installed. Tomorrow is Monday. I hope nothing breaks. The washing machine is making a funny sound, but I'm just going to hope for the best.

question: did you ever flush something that you shouldna?

mompoet - flushed with relief

babblefish toilet flange label (english to italian and back again in honour of the Olympics)

The No-it Filters some Harvey No 1. The no-it sees of original No 1 appearance of cabinet of bowl of trim with the flangia of polietilene. For all the bowls of cabinet of taken of running of floor. The all measures 3" and 4" lines of I waste.

question - do you speak Italian?

mompoet - hoping we can install the flange and the attached toilet better than babblefish can translate

Saturday, February 11, 2006

minor moment of perfect joy

I'm at the liquor store yesterday buying a 12 pack of beer. I already have an Americano in hand, declared by the guy at the coffee shop to be "better than Pappagallo." On the counter at the liquor store, there's a box of little dark chocolate squares. Donate $1 to "Dry Grad" and you get a chocolate - ok! add one to my bill! Then I remember it's payday - cashback! I leave with beer, coffee, chocolate and $100. It doesn't get much better than that.

question: did you have a good day?

mompoet - not fraught no more

Friday, February 10, 2006


fraught with ferrets
fraught with parrots
fought with torrents of glottal cots
overwrought with a lot of thought
fraught with a snot blot
an awful lot of snot
enought to besot a hot pot plot
begot a possum's bottom
brought a motte bomb
and another blot of snot
hot snot
and badly fraught
that's all I got

question: got?

mompoet - not

Ed Conference

Tomorrow is the annual British Columbia Teachers' Federation conference for teachers, school staff, administrators, school board trustees, parents and other interested people about public education. I've been going to it for a few years, first as a presenter when we were fighting to keep our elementary school open, then as a delegate parent invited by the Coquitlam Teachers' Association. This year I'm presenting again. I will be on a panel called "Parents as Catalysts for Change." One of my heroes, Dawn Steele, will be on the panel too. She writes the best darned letter to the editor I have ever seen, and is a tireless advocate for public education.

All of the other years I have gone out on the Friday night and stayed over, enjoying the opening speaker and the reception, and hanging out with my friend Gwenda, with whom I have worked on funding issues in our district. This year Gwenda is not available. It doesn't feel quite the same, but I know I will see lots of people who I know and admire, and meet some new ones. I have decided not to go Friday night, but to just drive out early Saturday and spend the day. I'll get to go to the plenary and concluding sessions and schmooze through the lunch hour. For some strange reason, I always accidentally find the teacher from Cranbrook, the district where my sister and her husband teach.

It also feels different because the organization that Gwenda and I helped to form, Consortium 43, has wound down to a state of hibernation. It might re-activate, but at the moment, parents in our district aren't coming out to fight for better learning conditions for their kids, and without involvement, we don't have a mandate. Also, we're tired of fighting the government and shining the spotlight on what' s wrong and we've turned our energies to other things. It hasn't been all for nothing. We have accomplished a lot in terms of public awareness in our community and we like to think the voices we have encouraged to activate have helped to push the government towards some of the minor changes it has made.

Mostly, I'm glad for this three-year-run of "just doing something," because our kids have seen that that's what you do when something is not right. They know that you have to speak up, get out, disagree respectfully and persist in the face of opposition. That alone is worth all of the work and worry.

question: would you rather be catalyst? or cattle?

mompoet - old gal on the back of the battle lines

Thursday, February 09, 2006

hating my face off

I am learning my poem for the Poetry Face Off. To prepare, I memorize my poem and do my best to bring it to life with my voice, face and guestures, embodying and expressing what the poem is about. When I'm really prepared, and on top of a poem or really inside it, I love taking the poem onto the stage. I feel excited and alive. I perform the poem and the people in the audience laugh or cheer, or (even better) they are completely silent. It's just about the best feeling I know. It's a kind of total communication that is fleeting and unusual and very potent.

Along the way to that very good feeling is a period of awkwardness and confusion bordering on despair. This happens when I have the words just barely memorized. I practise out loud, usually while I'm driving in the car. While I'm practising I lose track of my original excitement about the concept and shape and sounds of the poem. The words sound bumpy, the rhythm goes all askew. I mispronounce phrases. I stutter and spit. I get parts of the poem out of order and find redundancy and repetition all over the place. Ideas that seemed strong and true go flat. I think to myself, "This is the stupidest poem I have ever written and it sounds like a bucket of whistling flounders." Parts that I thought were original are suddenly painfully derivative. I have even called up friends to say, "I think I took this part from someone else's poem but I don't know whose. Can you help me figure out where I got it?" I lose faith in the poem and hate it for a while, but I keep working on it even though I hate it.

At some point I get past the bumbles. I either fix them or make peace with them. I play and play with the sounds until I discover the way I want to say them. The poem comes back up out of the muck and I love it again.

In a few days that's where I'll be. I hope I'll merge happily with this poem in time for the Poetry Face Off. I want to do a wonderful job. I want to feel connected and luminous and worthy of the attention. I want to come across with this poem, and go home after saying, "Yes. That's a good poem and I made it."

So back I go to practise and practise and practise. I can't wait to find that poem again.

question: how soon will I love this poem again?

mompoet - been down this road before

News from Keren

My sister posted her blog from Eritrea again this week. There's lots of interesting news including an opportunity to help improve the school where she works, and some insight into the "cartoons of Mohammed" issue.

question - have you checked it out?

mompoet - always happy to hear from people far away, especially ones who I love

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

this magazine is not about eating sarcophagi

I was at the rec centre today when I found this on the free magazine rack. I will now breathe deeply and restrain myself from ranting.......................................................
Nope, I'm not ready yet.......................................................................
Well, uh, no. Not yet..........................................................


What's inside this lovely magazine? (actual article titles, ads and quotes)

(under "What does a Yummy Mummy mean to you?)
"I did see one that was coming out of Canada Games pool the other day with four young kids and she was dressed fashionable, the kids were dressed fashionable and they all just looked 'cool' and 'with it.' - Rosa, Momof of 2 - Burnaby"

Chances are, You're wearing the Wrong Bra

Tight Tummy for a Yummy Mummy - Certified fitness trainer T'ai Erasmus answers you!

My Adventure boot camp for women (ad)

Sex Toys: The New Tupperware Party

Secrets to Successful Single Parent Dating

ethicbaby - organic baby clothes and bedding - stylish bamboo baby products for your little love (ad)

Yummy Mummy by Smart Ass. Funkie undies for the hip Mom.

Take a Vitamin C Shower - The Vitamin filter gives you Chlorine Free shower water! (ad)

The Ultimate Self-care for Moms: Life Coaching (as in get one - mompoet's comment)

Okay, it's just a freebie designed to distribute ads. And there is one relatively down-to-earth (though shallow) article about radio host Tara McGuire. And I know it's just marketing, but sheeeeshhh, who the heck is this for. The thought that there are enough women who would read this seriously to make it worthwhile to publish gives me the shivers.

I guess we'll next be seeing Cougar Digest (for the older woman on the make) and maybe even MILFMag for the mom who knows what she's got and isn't afraid to go to town with it.


question: don't people have anything better to do? (sorry mom)

mompoet - bugged

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Flo says go

This is my friend Flo who goes to cycle class with me at the rec centre. Flo is the spirit of cycle class. She is the inspiration for the new fitness craze: cycle karaoke. Flo can dance and pedal at the same time. Flo has a big smile and a bigger heart.

question: Hey Flo, wanna race me?

mompoet - photo credits to Pete

Tomorrow is Irene's Birthday

If you see Irene Livingston tomorrow (Wednesday, February 8), say "Happy Birthday Irene!" Or call or email her. Happy Birthday Irene!

question: do you like people to remember your birthday?

mompoet - birthdays R fun

When dogs write haiku

saturday blowdown
squirrel pee from heaven makes
compelling smelling

question: what fell out of the sky at your house?

mompoet - examining pieces of tree

Sunday, February 05, 2006

you know when you are determined not to like a movie

then you like it after all?

Andy brought home Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore on dvd. I like Drew Barrymore, sure, but I had never heard of this movie (I am a review snob!) and it just looked like a stupid romantic comedy (I am a dvd cover art snob!) But I watched it with the family. And I loved it more than I was prepared to admit, until the credits rolled and I saw it's a Farrelly Brothers movie. Then I was happy to admit it (I am a credits snob!)

So I guess it's time I get around to watching The Ringer, which I will probably love too. I should know by now but I fight it. I am a sucker for a big simple-looking dork of a movie that turns out to have a heart and a brain. I just like to pretend I don't like it until I am sure. And the credits still validate it for me.

question: how old do I have to be to just like something because I like it?

mompoet - struggling to overcome my something-or-other

for the record

The "before" photos. You'll have to take my word that there was a toilet. I just forgot to take a photo before its disassembly and removal.

Bye bye old bathroom!

question: have you ever felt a spider plant growing as you sat quietly?

mompoet - moving toward "after."

bust it, break it, wreck it, ruin it

Andy is upstairs bashing and smashing the bathroom to bits. The shopping is done


Well, we still need a big mirror with a maple frame for over the sink, but that will be found or built and it's part of the finishing touches.

Mike will come tomorrow morning and wreak further destruction before beginning the bathroom re-build. I will be at work when the worst of that happens. Today I'll finish "clearing the path" so that pieces may be carried in and out without tripping over ice skates, library books, stuffed anteaters and other miscellaneous clutter. Then I'm getting out of here! We're picking up a few friends, then there's a 75% chance we're going to go up to Cypress Bowl and let the madmen fling us down the hill on snow tubes. 25% I'm dropping miscellaneous kids off at various degrees of movies and going to watch one myself. Meantime:

BANG, CRASH! (drilling noise) SMASH! Well, it's still not as bad a shopping.

question: watcha doing today?

mompoet - getting ready for lavatory transformation

Friday, February 03, 2006

so happy

My friend Pete just emailed me this picture that he took at cycle class. My friend Flo is in the picture too, but I don't have her permission to blog her image just yet so she is temporarily invisible. I hope you'll see her too in a couple of days. Thanks Pete! I've been trying to take a picture of myself at cycle class, but I keep dropping the camera because it's all sweaty.

Right now I feel exactly like I look in the picture. I just found out that the CBC Poetry Face Off website is up. Here's a link to the Vancouver page. I'll be competing in the Face Off this year which is mighty exciting. The theme is "irresistible," so the poem was easy to write. The Face Off takes place Monday, February 20 at Cafe Deux Soleils in Vancouver. The winner is declared by audience ballot, and goes on to compete with poets in 13 other Canadian Cities.

I feel like I have won already, just being chosen to be part of the show. When I look at the 4 other poets with whom I'll be performing (they are all spectacularly wonderful), I think, "Wow, I'm with them? Wow!"

That face in the picture, that's me, with joy popping out and energy to burn. That's a good feeling, yeah.

question: what's good for you today?

mompoet - lucky beyond comprehension

There's a hole, there's a hole

There's a hole in the floor in the bathroom in the house on the street in the middle of the town.
Mike brought his saw and cut the hole. The wood is damp but the floor and bottom of the wall have done a fine job all these years of absorbing the damp, leaving the joists dry and strong. YEAH!

On Monday the real fun begins. Mike will tear out part of the floor and part of the wall and rebuild it, and install a new tub (that has a capacity just slightly exceeding that of our hot water heater...hmmm), cabinets etc., tile the walls and floor and make ready for the plumber who will hook things up at the correct intervals. We'll finally have a toilet with oomph, an exhaust fan that really sucks and water going only in all the right places. It will be nice.

In the meantime, we'll have a few days of "brother, can you spare a shower?" but that will be fine. Andy will take a couple of days off work while Alex writes exams, then Alex is home on semester break, so the timing is perfect. The dog and cat will be kept out of the way of the destruction/reconstructions and there'll be a pair of helping hands (I hear that putting in the new tub is like threading and eggplant through they eye of a darning needle).

A little more shopping needs to be done. Tiles and countertops R us this weekend. Luckily I have my camera, and you can buy one tile and bring it home and hold it up against the wall or beside the new cabinet and say, "see? maroon does go with puce." (not really) We have almost agreed that white sink, toilet and tub are the best and put colours elsewhere, but not quite. We are still touring neighbours bathrooms ("Hello, May we please come in and look at your tub-surround?) for ideas. Please call us if you're in walking distance and you would like us to visit.

I'll take some photos of the work in progress and post them. Looking into the guts of your house is almost as interesting as looking into your own guts. I have seen my own bones, veins and tendons. Now I'll get to ogle my joists. I like doing stuff like that.

question: do you like to look behind the walls?

mompoet - I see a saw in the hole on the bottom of the floor

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Friendly Friday Potluck's Ready!

A poem for the Friendlies

I thought I was alone in this world
But you posted a comment
That burst my black bandaid bagpipes
With a theological dissection of
The Battle of the Boyne and its role in the invention
Of English Toffee band hats.
Just when I was thinking
I was the only dolt who didn't know
The difference between
You sent cotton candy kazoos and butterfly kisses
And posted your photograph of a strawberry
That looked exactly like Robert Preston
Only a little less juicy
And you told me
So I knew
I was not alone.

I imagined my existence as an Alaskan Wasteland
Ecologically unique, sure...
But who'd want to live there?
Then you linked my post about the crucifixion
And my theory that the Bowron Lakes
Are actually named for a Celtic drum
(partly because of the shape and partly because of the goats)
To your post about a song medley:
Babaloo, Seventy-Six Trombones, and Light My Fire
And the pivotal place these pieces played
In the dismantling of the Berlin Wall.
I don't know how to describe
The adrenalin rush
Of finding my
Bubbly fictitious ruminations seriously associated
With the work
Of the esteemed former Chancellor
Of Barbara Pepper University.
I mean, I practically had a
Vanilla fudge ripple wind chime moment
Right there in front of the french fries and hot chocolate
And I actually said (out loud)
"Yeah! that's me there. That's my life...YEAH!"

I thought I was blogging into the void
Hullabaloo-wanking to beat the oblivion band.
Sure, I knew
Jesus Christ wrote a song for everyone
But I was certain
My song had been done before
With more compelling references and a superior template.
I was a somebody to nobody
And a nobody to somebody
Who really didn't give two figs
Or one persimmon
(depending on the hemisphere)
So much that it hardly bothered me
That all I had in my flickr foldr
Was a picture of an empty paper bag.

Because of you
I'm re-writing my profile in the present tense.
I'm posting stream of consciousness
Who cares if it makes any sense?
You led me up the cyclone pathway
To the top of Blueberry Hill
Told me the secret of Sargent Pepper
Welcomed me to the Green Charlotte Islands
And licked the yellow sticky off all of my envelopes
Before I could seal myself up
To hide away from you.

You are my friends
My band of brothers
Salutation of sisters.
You put the flunder in Fridays
The scrabble in eggs
With the gs on a triple letter score.
All of those things that I thought before
Now I know they're not true.
But I don't take any of it for granted
Because it's once in a blue moon
That a person like me
Is blessed
To hang out on Fridays
With friendlies like you.

By and For my Friends of the Friendless Marching Band Brothers and Sisters
mompoet 2006

instead of working on the poem this morning

(like I told myself I would), I posted a new blog entry for my sister Barb and her family. Read all about their winter holiday to border territory...

question: what do you do when you're leaving things to the last minute?

mompoet - perfecting the dubious art of procrastination

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Next time I invite you guys to a potluck

I'll just bring napkins and plates. There's enough here for 10 poems! But I am drawn to excess, challenged by absurdity and pleased by enthusiasm, so this is exactly my cup (er, bucket) of tea.

Thank you everyone, for your contributions. Now I have to do some moulding and shaping of words and ideas. I will try to steer away from hash or stew and make something delicious and distinctive. Or maybe I will make some very yummy stew. Who knows.

Thanks for your trust and playfulness.

Look out for the poem on Friday.

question: why, when we go to a potluck, do we make enough for everyone, even when we know that everyone else is doing the same?

mompoet - gulp