Sunday, December 31, 2006

me 'n' the schnuzzle OR rhinovirus woman celebrates the new year with her family

I slept in this morning and skipped church. I just couldn't drag my snotty coughing self out of bed in time to shower, press and dress for Sunday service. Besides, I feared a coughing fit that might rival "hacking in tongues" during the first hymn. So I slept until just before church time then got up because I was bored with sleeping. Everyone else slept for another hour at least, including the dog and cat who ate their breakfast and went back to sleep. I turned on the Christmas tree lights, made some coffee and zoned out with my schnuzzle. Schnuzzle is a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. A Ravensburger for those who know puzzles. It is deliciously intricate and perverse in its design - a "Christmas Fair" with people, buildings, dogs, birds, trees, snowbanks and sign-boards that are almost all identical to at least one other same element somewhere else in the puzzle. By the time I finish this puzzle I will have named all of them. As it is, I have named the different puzzle piece shapes. Looking for the right shape is just as important as looking for the right piece of the picture. Schnuzzle and me happily stuck together pretty much all day. People got up, showered, dressed and ate. Dog was walked (not by me). Friends of daughter arrived. Errands were run (not by me). About 2:30 I showered and changed out of my cozy pajamas into some cozy sweats (aka daytime pajamas). My toes stayed inside fuzzy slippers. Schnuzzle oh Schnuzzle, I have conquered about 500 of your 1,000 pieces. When the light failed (I like to do Schnuzzle by natural light) I quit and made everyone something to eat for lupper (that's late lunch early supper). The girls were scrapbooking their summer Disneyland adventure and singing warped Elton John lyrics (my fault) so I was entertained. Andy was playing poker online for play money so he was distracted. Alex was programming his new cell phone and watching sports on tv. The dog and cat were sleeping, having eaten their lupper too. Then Andy took the girls to the theatre and Alex laid low (I think he does not want me to ask him to help me with Schnuzzle - although he did agree to read MacBeth with me this coming week, in preparation for his final English 11 assignment). After Andy and the girls left I loaded the dishwasher and put together some foods for the potluck New Year Party we'll go to tonight at Myrna's house. I made a lovely big citrus salad with grapefruit and oranges and mango and pomegranate. I'm also bringing lots of pickled garlic. So I think I have a fighting chance to make it to midnight without coughing. Then again, if I'm feeling crummy I can come home early. Schnuzzle will be here.

question: what are you doing/did you do for New Year's Eve?

mompoet - schnuzzzzzllllle

Friday, December 29, 2006

too funny to let slip by

My dad chased all the links on Matthew Baldwin's Holiday Guide for Slackers. Especially funny is this Sports Illustrated article about a real life experience with "The Beer Belly."

question: did you every sneak something in somewhere where you shouldn't oughta?

mompoet - illicit peanut butter sandwich and carrot stick smuggler from way back

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I got it too

Despite a minimum of smooching, careful direction of coughs and sneezes, conscientious hand-washing and a last-ditch defensive series of echinacia and zinc missile-lobs I have got the cold. Andy was sick with it right through Christmas - sick on the couch and in bed with a headache and coughing his head off every fifteen minutes kind of sick. I am hoping and hoping I won't be sick. I'll settle for scratchy, snotty and sexy-voiced (the only good thing about this bug that I can figure) . I will now go work on a jigsaw puzzle and drink hot water with honey and lemon.

Merry Chrissshhh-blzzzl-snchitz!

bobpoed - that's how I say id wid by node blugged

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

more movies at home for winter break

Last week I watched Scared Sacred, which I missed in the movie theatre. I watched it twice, the second time with Fi. In this documentary, the film-maker, Velcrow Ripper, visits the scenes of humanity's worst atrocities to humanity. He goes to Bosnia, Cambodia, Hiroshima, Israel and Bhopal India. In the middle of making the film, the World Trade Centre bombings happened, so he went to New York too. In each place he talks to survivors about how they find light in the darkness. They tell him how they made it through the worst and darkest days and how they are able to trust, love and find meaning in life after what they have lived through. The answers are what I might have expected - people find the will to live and to keep believing that life is good through art, faith, societal reform, love for one another, helping with the healing of others and making the world safer for the people who survive - but the immediacy of the personal narratives blew me away. I keep playing the interview with Aki from Cambodia over and over in my head. This man was captured by the Khmer Rouge as a young boy. His parents were murdered. He was forced to be a child soldier and plant landmines all over the countryside. He was tortured. He was not allowed to cry. It was a rule that everyone had to smile and laugh, despite their pain and fear. As I watched him smiling through the interview I thought, "This is a broken person. How can he ever be well and whole again?" But then there he is, digging up and disarming landmines - sometimes 50 in one day, to make his country safe again. In the film, he finds a landmine and cheerfully demonstrates where it's safe to touch it and where one must not touch it. He casually slaps it with his hand and his stick before turning it over to remove the fuse. Something about that scene makes me cry even thinking about it. The narrator explains that he has disarmed thousands of these landmines. This is what he does. The film makes a convincing case. It says that for survivors, telling the story of what happened, and contributing to the healing of their place and people is a healing experience for themselves.

Today I watched Elephant. It's the story of high school massacre, shown from the point of view of individual students. As I watched it, I knew where it was leading, and I was dreading it. I was also fascinated by the portrayal of student lives. The camera mostly followed each of the actors around, often just 2 steps behind as they moved from one place to another, and interacted with one another, their parents and teachers. Each character became more intensely human but also surreally robot-like as situations were viewed from 2 or three different perspectives with slightly varied time-frames. The effect was to put me inside what might be the thinking of someone preparing to go into the school and start shooting. As the people in the story looked more and more like Sims characters, the idea of planning and executing a massacre became more intellectual and less real. The climax of the movie makes it all real again, brutally so. This isn't an easy movie to watch, but it is excellent for what it is and does.

Finally, we watched Oliver the 1968 Academy Award winning musical. Well, I watched the first half of the 150 minute movie then went to bed. Fi watched all of it. She'll be in her school production of it this Spring. Holy smokes, that's a good musical. The production numbers are hard to fathom, especially given the age of the film, and no special effects to make the scenery look more grand. The song "Consider Yourself" must have employed 200 dancers, spanned 4 city blocks of studio space with roads, buildings, houses, horses etc and it is over-the-top with creativity. There's a whole section in which butchers are chopping meat and dancing with pieces of it and they become part of the music. It sounds macabre, but it's beautiful! I missed most of the dramatic part of it, quitting at intermission. I'll have to try act 2 some time this week.

question: documentary, drama or musical? which would you choose for your next view?

mompoet - some of each, please

end-of-year-brain haiku

ankle deep in leaves
I peer at bare limbs and think
maple or oak - which?

question: do you ever wonder what you're wondering?

mompoet - duh

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas images

which was the real gift?

If you haven't read my quiz (posted Dec 24), please go there first, or reading this will spoil the fun. If you've been waiting for two days to find out which is the real gift, thank you very much! The answer is right here. If you want to pick one up today. There were tons on the shelf at London Drugs Lougheed Mall in Burnaby on the 23rd. Bet they're on sale now.

question: did you give or receive anything preposterous this Christmas?

mompoet - recycling the wrapping paper and trying to prevent the cat from ingesting ribbons

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Sour Pickle Christmas Treat (because I like bad things)

Of all the songs of Christmastime, the one most often slaughtered by under-qualified singers is O Holy Night. Last night at church our music director sang it beautifully, with power, subtlety and skill, and it was like all of the almost-there and really awful versions I have endured this season were cleansed from the music part of my brain. Thank you Carlan!

That was last night. This morning, I read Matthew Baldwin's Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers. The entire article is great. At the end there's a link to what I think must be the worst O Holy Night I have ever heard. If you listen, please hang in there to the end. I guarantee it will curl your hair and cause your toenails to fall off.

question: how is it that the truly terrible borders on the sublime?

mompoet - delighting in the freakish vulnerability of humanity

Sunday, December 24, 2006

4 lies and 1 silly but true

Which of these five Christmas gifts is real? (the other 4 are made-up)

1. Sassy Hoe-Down Barbeque Pants - double-insulated front and back for 360 degree body protection. Choice of boot cut, clamdigger or stirrup pant styles. Men's and Women's XXS to XXXL. $79.89 ($89.89 or XL and XXXL)US.

2. The Jerky GunTM - Just load up your Jerky Gun with raw ground meat, press the plunger and extrude ribbons of real homestyle beef, pork, salmon, or turkey jerky. Now available - The Jerkey GunTM with spice caddy - add your own mesquite or cajun flavour 19.99CD

3. Auto-Glow Car and Truck Tint - Transform your white, grey or even black automobile with this semi-permanent auto-rinse. Makes a subtle but impressive change to your car's shade for up to 12 shampoos and/or rainshowers. Available in peakcock blue, mango orange, rocket red and key lime. $14.99/gallon (1 gallon will do 1 pickup truck or SUV or 2 small cars).

4. Math-pro Sudoko Helmet - Wear this aerodynamic beauty, and you'll shave minutes from your fastest sudoko times. Made with .02% titanium alloy for maximum synaptic optimization. Sizes: baby genius, child prodigy, smart daddy and fat-head. $234.56 or $789.01 for two.

5. Breast-Max Turkey Conversion Kit - This breakthrough product converts your ordinary turkey from white and dark meat to all white meat with only an 18 hour soak. Includes 1 pint miracle anabolizing enzyme brine mix with measuring beaker and teflon-lined turkey bath to fit up to a 22 pound bird. $7.99US

question: guess which one is an actual product that you could buy someone for Christmas!

mompoet - answer available on Boxing Day (when it will be on sale for half price, no doubt)

today's news

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and the family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke, Chapter 2, verses 1-7

question: have you heard the news?

mompoet - remembering Christmas

Friday, December 22, 2006

me and lyrics

When my parents moved my family to Canada just in time for me to begin kindergarten, one of the first things I learned at school was our country's national anthem. I was so proud to be part of "O Canada, our homo-native land!" This was 1966. To me, "homo-native" was akin to "homogenized" as in milk. I had some hazy idea of all of the people in Canada being shook up together real hard so we'd make a nice uniform consistency - or something like that. I guess I was a word-hound already. I'm sure I knew what homogenized and pateurized meant by that time (and what the difference was between the two).

Even before kindergarten, when I learned the ABC song, I decided that my favourite letter was ala-mano. You know, the letter just before pee.

A little later I was in grade 8 (or thereabouts) at the height of Elton John's popularity. At some point I owned a copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but mostly I listened to Elton on CKLG AM Radio, with my tiny, tinny transistor and an earphone for listening in bed. I know Yellow Brick Road came with lyrics - I remember a story-book format with illustrations? But mostly I sang along to slightly fractured versions of his song lyrics. Here are some that I can remember:

Daniel's arriving tonight on a plane
I can see the red-tealed eyes, heading for Spain


Rocket man burning up the sleeves of error-gone


I remember when rock was young
Me and Suzy had so much fun
Holding hands and skimming stones
Had an Ogo-Shebbee and a fez of my own


What do you think you'll do then
I bet they'll shoot down your plane
And it took you a couple of actors in town
To get you on your feet again


Even on a Friday that's all right
Evil-astic on a Sa-day night

I know, I was a dork. But remember, there was no internet with instant searchable lyrics, just us 12 year olds, hunched around crummy little radios speculating about "what's he saying anyway?"

Makes me think of one more - also from kindergarten which was in a church because they didn't have them in public schools when I was in kindergarten (this is not Elton John by the way):

Our farmer, who art in heaven
Hal Owen be thine aim.

question: what did you hear wrong?

mompoet - hearing wrong all the time, and sometimes preferring it

Gym 0, Cookies 1

I skipped my manic pedal workout today in favour of baking. I have made almond shortbread and some amazing chocolate chip cookies using a Terry's chocolate orange and some pecans. There's a whole wheat banana loaf too. I'm listening to Elton John and remembering some of the things I thought he was singing when I was a girl, listening to his music on AM radio. I'll post some of my favourite mis-interpretations later today. Right now, the house smells heavenly, the dog is happy because I fed her some pecans, and soon I'll go over to Mom and Dad's for lunch, then Mom and I will make wreaths.

question: do you bake?

mompoet - when I was in a real grump-funk as a teenager, my sweetie would ask me to bake him some cookies because he knew that would cheer me up

Thursday, December 21, 2006

some good things about today

or how I spent my winter solstice day...

1. Dusk was about 4:25 near as I could tell.
2. I remembered to turn on the bread machine.
3. I watched Fellini's 8 1/2 after the kids left for school. I fell asleep a couple of times, but I think I got the general idea. I especially liked the scene where Guido's wife gets mad at him when he's considering an actor to play her part. She's angry that he portrays intimate details of their life in his movies, but slants them so everyone will think he's wonderful.
4. I cleaned up my bedroom and found the theatre tickets that the Poltergeist took away and hid for a few weeks (phew).
5. I washed my new hair and it didn't fall off.
6. I love my new scarf (thanks Laurie!)
7. I got to hold baby Bowen (thanks Rhonda!)
8. We had Thai food for supper.
9. We had supper with Bill and Linda (in town from Calgary), Richard, Chantal and Bernie (Thank you friends!)
10. I have not caught Andy's awful snotty cold (yet).
11. I have almost talked myself into not going to the gym in the morning, and instead baking some Christmas cookies.
12. It's Maya's birthday Friday - Happy Eritrean birthday! I hope you get to paste an "L" on a camel's butt and drive it down the street in celebration of your 16th!

question: how was your solstice day?

mompoet - just deep enough into vacation to be not sure what day of the week it is anymore

solstice morning images

The dawn came just a few minutes before 8am. Welcome to the shortest day of the year.

question: do you feel the solstice?

mompoet - loving the plain beauty and bones of things today

The camel has been put out to pasture

The panto Aladdin previews tonight and opens tomorrow. My half-role as part of a camel has been eliminated. There will be rhinoceros in the camel's place, but I declined a part time rhinoceros role (typecasting?). The show is looking good, and it's actually a relief for me to be just a mom, driver and audience member. I hadn't spent much time preparing, if you don't count my visits to the sauna with a bag of sand, and my trying to drink water only every 6 or 7 days. On the bright side, my hump is shrinking already, and I have almost eliminated my cud-chewing and spitting habit.

Tonight's show (Thursday, December 21) is free for friends and family - all you need to do is say "I'm a friend" when you arrive at the theatre and they'll let you in for free. As it's the first full technical and costumed run-through, there might be a glitch or two. But it's panto so you probably won't know that it wasn't planned that way. Besides, that's the excitement of live theatre!

question: If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be?

mompoet - I got my wishes already

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That question

They're asking it again and I'm still flummoxed for what to say:


This is a question that irritates me on many levels, although I know it is asked in innocence and a spirit of friendly, tired cameraderie. I suppose the correct response is, "No, I still have lots to do." The perfect reply to this is, "Good! I'm not ready either. I'm glad I'm not the only one." But I can't get past the implications within this question. What is ready for Christmas? My evil elf imagination wants to shoot back snarky mean answers to equalize the flummoxing:

  • YES! I am ready for the birth of our Lord and Saviour! Are you?

  • NO! But I'm ready for Easter! For which holiday are you ready?

  • (Sob) We haven't celebrated Christmas since Aunt Gertrude died on Christmas Eve two years ago.

  • Well, I have purchased gifts for my children, except that I can't find a size large blue pair of wool socks for my son, who needs them for curling practice, and I'm still wondering whether my husband would prefer a pair of binoculars or a can opener for Christmas. I have baked 3 kinds of Christmas cookies and put them into seventeen boxes, but I ran out of wax paper after I lined the 11th box. NO make that the 10th box. So I used aluminum foil and I wonder if that will be okay. The tree is 3 or 4 centimeters shorter than I usually like but I guess that will have to do. I have been having difficulty finding the specific kind of ornament hook that I bla bla bla bla bla bla (well, he/she asked)

  • Yup.
I know I should just lighten up, read between the lines and appreciate that people hurry around this time of year, buying gifts, decorating homes, preparing feasts, doing good and charitable acts. That's what's on their minds, so that's what they use in greeting or small talk. But every year it bugs me. Christmas comes at the same time each year. Sometimes some of us buy perfect gifts for lots of people. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes some of us prepare homes and hearths for a warm, gracious family time together. Some years we are smooth, shiny and abundant. Some years we are raggedy. Whatever kind of year and wherever we are in our preparations, Christmas comes. So without dissecting the question and all of the possible meanings and responses any further I'd like to propose that we give this particular question up once and for all.

Some alternatives:

  • Are you ready for a hug?

  • What day is it anyway?

  • Don't you love solstice?

  • Would you like to join us at our house for Christmas?

  • What's your spiritual practice this time of year?

  • Where'd you get that sparkle in your eye?

  • I'm going to Costco this afternoon. Can I pick anything up for you?

  • Would you mind sharing your recipe for eggnog?

  • Have you seen my mitten?

Any of these would be a lovely way to check in with a friend or acquaintance at holiday time, and much less loaded that the "Are you ready..." question.

question: Have you seen my mitten?

mompoet - ready for anything whatever that means

ps - After Christmas, please don't ask, "Was Santa good to you?"

Monday, December 18, 2006

the syllable diet

You have to eat food only with a certain number of syllables each day:

Mon/Wed/Friday - four syllable foods only
(examples - amaretto, pomegranate, arugula, capuccino)

Tuesday/Thursday - three syllable foods
(examples - pineapple, bruschetta, artichokes)

Saturday/Sunday - freestyle add-up day - the food on your plate must add up to count out a prime number of syllables
(example - ham and eggs - 3 syllables - OKAY)
(example - soy sauce - 2 syllable - OKAY)
(example - ham and eggs and soy sauce - 6 syllables - NOT ALLOWED)
(example - ham and eggs and mayonnaise - 7 syllables - OKAY)

question: have you tried it?

mompoet - I think I just made it up. I'm not going to try it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Good show, Okay show

Saturday afternoon I went with my mom and dad to see A Christmas Carol at the Vancouver Playhouse. It was breathtaking. It was a musical, but not the holly jolly type. More like a kind of semi-macabre light opera with a huge focus on death and ample black comedy but also several definite crying places. The set was minimalist - a bare stage with what looked like a huge paper scroll coming down from the back wall and rolled out across the floor. The lighting changed to convey various settings and moods in an abstract surreal way. Musicians played and sound effects were made on stage, as the actors used their bodies for set pieces and mimed all of the props. (If you saw No Great Mischief a couple of years ago, it was the same sort of approach to set and props). People were beds, chairs, carriages and doors when they weren't being people, and everyone except the actor who played Scrooge played more than one character, including a boy Scrooge and a young man Scrooge. The Ghost of Christmas past was hijacked from a Leaky Heaven Circus Show. Christmas Present came from a beer commercial. Christmas Future was downright ghoulish. Aside from the ghosts, the characters dressed in Dickens-period mourning costumes, but they spoke modern vernacular, with a few key phrases from the story woven in to their dialogue and the songs. I won't say any more but that you must go if you have the chance. Oooo oooo oooo - much better than I expected.

Saturday evening I went with Andy and Alex to see The Pursuit of Happyness. I'm not a Will Smith movie fan, preferring small stories with big heart to special effects battles and chase scenes. This movie promised to be something else, a serious, dramatic break from the typical Will Smith. It was pretty good, but basically exhausting. Will Smith literally runs through this whole movie, which chronicles six months in the (true) life of a failed small businessman who gets an internship at a big financial company. He has to be the best of 20 interns and take care of his young son single-handedly and he has the worst luck. So we see him running for coffee for his boss, running for the bus, running to the daycare, running to get a place to live... you get the idea. In one scene he is hit by a car but he doesn't have time to be injured. He just gets up and goes back to work, minus the shoe that was knocked off his foot in the collision. The storyline was relentless. Even the tender moments with his son were fraught with anxiety about what had just happened and what might happen next. It was just too much like some of my bad dreams to be entertaining. I needed a shift in pace or focus. Instead I felt like I'd just run a marathon right beside Will. Maybe just a different kind of chase scene without special effects?

So I can't recommend it, unless you are searching for something to raise your stress level vicariously for a couple of hours. Maybe you'll like it better than I did. I just don't like running movies. I didn't like Back to the Future either for the same reason - fever pitch panic from start to finish. Ugg.

That's all for now. The kids took over decorating the tree this year and they want me to come in and see their work.

question: Have you seen any good plays or movies lately?

mompoet - two shows in one day - pretty darn lucky!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A day without electricity is quiet and nice

Big windstorms knocked out our electrical power overnight Thursday. Andy left for work Friday morning in the dark just after 4am, and nearly took the lid off his car rounding a bend on the Barnet Highway driving under a fallen tree that lay across the road, thankfully a few inches higher than the top of our car. I awoke at 6:30 to light candles and hand out the flashlights that Andy had lined up for us before he left.

The schools were closed, so the kids and I ate cold cereal for breakfast and marvelled at the quiet. No furnace, fridge, tv, toaster, dishwasher, washing machine, computer! I figured out that I could heat water for coffee on the side burner of our barbeque outside, so we had hot coffee. Then we bundled up in the chilly house and were quiet. I did my usually end of the week tidy up, returning the distributed evidence of our week to its proper drawers, closets and bedrooms and took out the trash and recycling. Alex read 2 newspapers and the latest MAD magazine. Fi made Christmas cards. Then we all played a game of Simpson's Clue (it was Bart, in the Springfield Retirement Village, with the plutonium rod).

When it became evident that there would be no power for lunch, the kids informed me that mac and cheese on the barbeque burner was not what they had in mind, and besides, there was Christmas shopping to do. So we drove to the mall, which had power. I helped Fi buy all her presents. Alex bought a couple then bused home, not being one for marathons in crowds. We ate lunch at the food court. Later we found out that Lougheed Mall was closed, so that explained why absolutely everybody was at Coquitlam Centre. I think I'm done with mall shopping, which makes me happy.

On the way back home we discovered that some neighbourhoods still had no power. We also found out that evening dance class and rehearsal were cancelled, but power was back at our house. So Andy cooked a yummy supper, and we enjoyed a family movie evening. I was asleep before 10.

It was a bit inconvenient, and slightly dangerous in one part, but I liked this day. It was like a gift of time stopped and an opportunity to listen to quiet for a few hours. The mall part was raucous but necessary, as it took allowed us to get some crucial business done in a lot less of a hurry than otherwise, and there was a very nice ending.

question: were you electrical or non-electrical on Friday?

mompoet - did you notice it snowed?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Almost on vacation

I have about 29 minutes more worth of work to do before I am on vacation. I almost finished up today, by going back to the office after suppertime, but I had to leave to pick up Fi from rehearsal before I did one last bit of essential office stuff. So I'll sneak back in wearing sweats and a smile on Friday morning and do the last bit of work on my first day of break, then head on out. Fi says I should do something extra Christmassy for myself on the way home just because.

One great thing (among many, really when I think about my work). When I logged back on to my computer this evening I got an email from the wellness committee with an ad for a new round of subsidized massages. About once a year, students from the local massage school come in and do employee wellness massages. We attend on our lunch hour, and we pay, but just $15 for a 55 minute ahhhhhhhhh! Once, I went in with a bad head cold and the masseuse massaged my face and scalp for the whole time. When I got up I could breathe again and I felt so much better. Another time I had just a back/shoulder/arm massage that made me feel about 4 inches taller when we were done.

The weird part is the setup - about 8 massage tables in one big room with low lights and warm temperature. You can stay fully clothed, but most everyone unwraps a bit. With just a sheet between me and my bra and a bunch of brothers and sisters from city hall, I'm always surprised that it doesn't feel more intimidating. But everyone's just into their own experience and there's no ogling that I've ever noticed. Once you lie down on the massage table you forget everything else.

Oooo I can hardly wait.

question - Did you find any unanticipated treats today?

mompoet - uncurling

ps - Three WEEKS. Yes! I have 3 weeks off work. three three three!!!

Elf You-self!

My friend Irene Livingston just showed me how to make myself into an elf.

question: If you could be a small magical creature, which kind would you be?

mompoet - elf for now

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

haiku from my car

right case - wrong music
random aural daisy chain
CD surprise me

question: where'd I put the...?

mompoet - frequently surprised, frequently delighted

wordless wednesday

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006


We had the most amazingly slow-motion love-ly weekend on the Sunshine Coast, Andy and I. And now we are home and I do love our home. I will post photos (but not the ones we took in the hot tub) on Monday. In the meantime, we're home, and there's no place like home.

question: why is home even sweeter when you come back to it after a few days away?

mompoet - hugging my kids, petting my dog, looking for the cat

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

rock you

Dooce just pointed me at this rock video starring Arlo.

question: rock you?

mompoet - shoutin in the street I gonna take on the world some day

This sound that I love

I arrived 30 minutes early to pick our daughter up from rehearsal. I was pooped from not enough sleep Monday night, and here it was 9:30pm on a work/school night. I sat down on the stairs just inside the rehearsal room door and opened my book. Then I heard it: a small group walk-through/talk-through of dance steps - counting, stepping, repeating; intermittent blasts of Rockin' the Casbah from a portable stereo; excited chatter on the sidelines; choreographer's coaching voice teaching a bit of business to two girls in the front, a half-dozen female voices raised in a capella union - improbably beauty amidst this happy din. I closed my eyes, but not because I was tired. I just let it wash over me, this mish-mash of sounds of people doing just what they want to do. I heard the nervous, excited buzz of a room full of actors each doing his or her own thing but all pointed in the same direction, getting ready, a show about to gel, Aladdin about to be born.

question: what did you hear today?

mompoet - finding treasure wherever I stop

2 more sleeps

More to love about this time of year: a small cabin at the bottom of a cliff (there are stairs). Inside the cabin, a fireplace, small kitchen, no phone, no tv. A porch so close to the ocean that you can't see the land at the edge of the sea. A hot tub on the deck. Three days, two nights. Just Andy and me.

It's time for us to take our Fall trip to a not-too-far-away getaway. We'll leave Friday afternoon and come back Sunday evening. ahhhh

question: now do you see why I love this time of year?

mompoet - better book the ferry

Monday, December 04, 2006


Here's a poem I wrote a couple of years ago. I've posted it before, but this is a slight revision, and it's time again, and I still feel the same way I felt when I wrote this.



Slicing crusty rolls for late fall supper
Serrated slip splits open palm
Bread absorbs crimson and she
Flushes with heated riptide
Compelled by shock of recognition
Of one thing, she is sure:
Hurt’s the friend who never lets you down.
As she cleans the counter
Discards buns, rinses the blade,
Gently lifts a tattered corner and slides
Under the carpet
Stays stuck, insisting
There is more.


Sipping coffee as the dishwasher hums she reads
New York Times online
Glazes over grim stories of places she can
Barely picture
Skips to an article comparing
Relative merits of $50 fruitcakes.
Downstairs, children bicker over Nintendo.
Is there no moment of quiet?
Not here, unless…
Draining her cup she
Goes to join their game.
As they unite in enjoyment of her
Joystick ineptitude
She finds that moment
Amid gales of laughter
When she asks if Zelda is one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.
Is possible.


She hates the market
Beelines for milk, macaroni, broccoli
Remembers eggs. Doubles back.
Wonders at slow-shopping lovers selecting artichokes and brie.
At the deli counter the usual
Four hundred grams of black forest
“Would she like anything else today?
Only to break free and run into the night shouting
Plastic handle finger cuts
Misplaced key
She rumbles home, grapefruits rolling in the trunk.
He’s parked his car on the road
Left the carport for her
And at the door, a happy shout
Smiling dog follows her downstairs.
Nothing else matters.
Is here.


There is no umbrella for
It falls in silly fat droplets
Splashing, drenching.
Music teacher plays bongo rhythms as the choir
Sings a Caribbean carol.
Believing isn’t a choice.
It washes her with giddy, reckless, gladness. She
Lifts her voice with the congregation
On this, the shortest
And happiest of days
All that is solitary and sad
Can be turned right-side-up in
The fourth candle flares,
She is aflame
With wakening light.

question: what do you do this time of year?

mompoet - one candle burning

Double As (Maybe Triple) Movie Reviews

In a hurry at the video store I abandoned my list and just plunged into the "foreign" section beginning with the letter A. I took the first 3 movies that were interesting and in the store.

At Five O'Clock in the Afternoon is a movie about a young woman named Nogreh in post-Taliban Afghanistan. She sneaks away from the traditional Islamic school that her father takes her to every day and attends a modern school where her teacher encourages the girls and women to discuss politics and debate the place of women in Afghan Society. Nogreh decides that she would like to be the president of Afghanistan. We see her exploring this idea in conversation with people she meets. We also see her family's desperate struggle to survive. Finding a place to live and food to eat, searching for lost loved ones and trying to make sense of what has happened to her country seem outside of the realm of possibility for Nogreh and her family. Like the other movies about Afghan life that I have seen, this one is sad, brave, hopeful and ironic. The words of a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca run through it.

I haven't seen Federico Fellini's Amarcord since I was a teenager. At the time I didn't get it. I loved it this time. It reminded me of the movie A Christmas Story in many ways. This movie of boyhood remembrance of life in fascist Italy is funny and sad and enigmatic. I love the characters and the situations and its seeming simplicity and mish-mash juxtaposition of scenes. I especially love the scene where Titta's uncle climbs a tree, refuses to come down and shouts "I want a woman!" and the scene where Titta pursues the sexy Grandisca through a maze of snow in the town square. Everything seems exaggerated and overplayed, but I think that's how it must have seemed to a teenage boy at the time. Oh yes! there's a scene where a giant Mussolini-head made of flowers performs a fantasy wedding ceremony for one of Titta's friends. I would like to watch this again very soon.

The third A is a Japanese movie called Afterlife, about a waiting/processing place between life and death. I will watch it some time this week. So far I'm liking the A section.

question: seen any good movies lately?

mompoet - random, exaggerated and realistic

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I love advent

We lit our first advent candle at church this morning. I did the reading and Alex lit the candle. We began singing the carols at the front of the hymn book, the ones meant for the season of advent and Christmas. The colours of the cloths and Tim's stole changed to blue (my favourite). The church was warm and bright and filled with love and expectation. There was even a baptism and communion (which we have only on special days in our church). It was a wonderful, wonderful morning.

I'm beginning to piece together some more reasons why I love this time of year, and I think advent is part of it. Longing for joy and spiritual awakening, and expecting with confidence that it will come are at the heart and soul of this time of year. It's linked to the change of seasons for sure, and the associated changes in social life, body chemistry, work cycles, sleep and waking.

I think what I'm discovering is that all of the things that are happening are connected to reinforce each other in all realms of reality - our physical life, society, nature, intellect, and the spirit. When all of those forces come together the experience is deep and powerful.

And maybe that explains why I love the colour blue, and why I'm so delighted to have my birthday at this time of year, and why I am an optimist, but also restless, curious and inventive, especially now. It has be more than a coincidence. It is a coinciding of things bigger than all of us and I am blessed to have my heart opened just a bit more to what it means.

question: do you feel it?

mompoet - happy

dreams caused by a second quilt or otherwise

It's cold enough I put quilt #2 on the bed last night, which resulted (I think) in strange dreams.

I am going somehwere important but my horse is sick. The vet comes and does surgery to fix my horse. The horse has an incision running the length of her body, now stitched up, but the vet says she'll be okay. She's resting. I think about the important place I'm going. I must have an offering for the important people so I decide I will bring them marijuana (?) I'm conscious in my dream that I have never smoked marijuana in my life (true in real life) but it will be good for me to bring some. The vet - who has morphed into a familiar friend from daytime life - gives me some. Before I visit the important ones, I go to the bank machine to get money to pay for the marijuana and the vet's services. When I get back I am concerned about the horse, who is still resting. I pry open the incision with my hands to look inside. The vet returns and stitches the horse back up again, all the while explaining that everything will be okay. I am upset with myself for just about everything, but my friend/the vet reassures me.

There are about 25 people in my kitchen. I am having a party. Suddenly I remember I must bake a treat for the Parent Advisory Council meeting at the high school, and make a casserole for the church supper. I begin cooking, but the people are getting in my way. Despite it all I bake a batch of brownies but then I realise that I have to rudely tell my friends they may not eat them, and also that I made brownies last time for the PAC meeting and it wouldn't be cool to repeat. Then I remember - NO! Last time I made biscotti so it's okay.

I am now making the casserole. Alex, our 16 year old, helps. I get upset with him for the way he is cooking the rice so I dump the half-cooked rice in the sink. Then I find out we have no more rice to start over again, so I'm scooping half cooked rice out of the sink and dumping it back in the pot and washing it, and trying to figure out how much water to add to make it work.

Question: what causes vivid dreams?

mompoet - more than tv or books or radio, almost all of the time

Saturday, December 02, 2006

saturday afternoon haiku

each tiny hair-death
one pluck closer to beauty
office party brows

question: do you think anyone really notices?

mompoet - never a "uni" but often well-canopied (not today!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

They're closing our schools again

Here's the story.

Six years ago we neighbours fought to keep our little elementary school open. With fewer than 200 students and a yawning quarter-empty bigger school a couple of blocks away, it was a tough sell. We held meetings, got kids to make art, posted lawn signs, had a pajama party on the radio, got testimonials from realtors and educators, parents and kids and successfully made our case to the Board of School Trustees. The victory was bittersweet as 3 other schools were closed, at least one in a neighbourhood where I think the impact on families was worse, due to its comparitive isolation. We also realised that money to run a greater number of partly-full schools took away from funds for teaching and other resources.

When the decision was announced to keep our school open a few years ago, the Trustees cautioned us that they would not re-open the issue every year, but that it would be re-visited in the future. The tentative plan was to leave it open for at least one whole student cycle. A child in kindergarten at the time of the decision would be able to carry on through grade 5 before closure would be re-considered. We have almost made it. The re-opening of the issue is no surprise.

Here's our little school.

A school is more than a place where kids go from 9-3 to learn academic subjects. As we clarified to ourselves last time, it's the heart of a community for families with children. Our social and volunteer lives are anchored in the school, as is a big part of our sense of security in guiding our children and our growing up families. It's hard to imagine letting our school go, and moving into a new, unknown school with people we don't know.

Alex and Fi have left that little school for the middle and secondary schools, but many of our friends still have children there. I'll do my best to support the efforts underway to try to keep it open, but it doesn't look as hopeful this time.

question: what have you loved and feared losing?

mompoet - sad about this