Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

so many movies

I have been gorging on movies this holiday. Here are my haiku reviews for a few of them

The Savages Synopsis:

we'll all die some day
in the meantime, life is hard
but worth the effort

The Savages Review

comedies about
dementia are rare but
this one is damn good

The Golden Compass Review

in a parallel
universe movies don't have
truncated plot lines

The Golden Compass Synopsis

a girl, a witch, an
armoured bear, a bad woman
and Sam Elliott

The Kite Runner

Afghani boy's life
betrayal, loss, then a chance
to be good again

The Kite Runner Review

real people walk from
page to screen in this finely
spun redemption tale

Juno Synopsis

Juno is sixteen
not yet ready to parent
can she know who is?

Juno Review

frank and funny as
boysenberry-flavoured junk
this film rocked my heart

So far so good. One more week to go. Lots more movies to see.

question: seen anything good lately?

mompoet - glug glug glug... ahhhh

This time next year there may be a new hole in Mars

Astronomers funded by NASA have spotted an asteroid headed for Mars. The possible collision is predicted for January 30, 2008. Here's an article.

question: do you think it will hit Mars?

mompoet - wondering what it would feel like to know something is going to knock you in the face one year from today (maybe)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

one I like from the viral videos list

Pop culture/current events blog Yes but No but Yes is doing lists all this week. Check out their list of top 10 viral videos for 2007. You can vote for your favourite if you like. I like this one a lot.

question: which is your favourite?

mompoet - music/video jambalaya is fun

spam I am

We have a yahoo account for Vancouver Poetry House. Mostly I use it to send group emails with announcements of events. I do this by emailing the announcement to our own yahoo address, with blind copies to recipients.

Yesterday I sent out an announcement, but didn't see the message come back to yahoo. I began to wonder if it was actually sent, and if so, if anyone received it.

I found it this morning, in the SPAM folder.

If yahoo can't figure out that the sender is not spamming herself, what can it figure out? Or maybe it was commenting on my pattern of use - probably more likely.

question: do you spam?

mompoet - spam I am (I guess)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Like my Dad, I don't tire of a gag easily (Part 3)

Okay - this is all, I promise, but this one has some artistry/trickery/surprise endings. Then that's enough Human Tetris. I promise. (for the best effect, scroll down and start with part 1 and work upwards)

I still get my sense of humour from my Dad (part 2)

More human tetris? I thought. But I still thought it was funny when I watched it (more shrieking).

I get my sense of humour from my Dad - part 1

My father pointed me to the YouTube post. I shouted with laughter when I viewed it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This Christmas - some good

Good about Christmas this year:
  • Everyone has a nice long break from school and work. Andy, the kids and I are all home for many days.
  • Not too much stress leading up to Christmas - not a lot of shopping or cleaning or decorating - just enough of each thing.
  • A WHITE CHRISTMAS! Just enough snow to be beautiful but walking and driving was unimpeded.
  • Beautiful Christmas supper at Andy's Mom's house. She's such a good host and cook. We all helped with the serving and cleanup. She was surprised and delighted to go into her kitchen after and see everything washed and put away.
  • Lots of dark chocolate.
  • Lots of good movies.
  • Christmas Eve Service at our church was inspiring. A new arrangement of O Holy Night by our friend and sympony viola-player Steve. He and Shelley played (viola and organ) while Carlan sang - a new sound to a Christmas tradition at our church.
  • The kids love the Wii. So does Andy. I love reading while they play with the Wii.
  • Cozy, warm, peaceful, yummy, safe, happy, together.
Not as good about Christmas this year:
  • My mom expected to be home from the hospital in time for Christmas but is not. She had hip replacement surgery on the 21st and should have been turfed out on Christmas Eve, but the surgery was more complicated than planned, so she's still in. Christmas without her at home was just not as bright. She will be fine. Recovery will be longer, but she'll have all of her mobility once she's healed. She is also tough, stubborn, determined and energetic. If anything, we'll have to tell her to slow down and accept our help. Still, we wish it was different.
  • We're not even halfway through our days off. Lots more time for treats and togetherness, to welcome Mom home, to see more movies, eat more chocolate, play some board games, do the giant crossword puzzle in Christmas Eve's Vancouver Sun (I promise not to peek at the answers if you promise not to tell me the answers), read to Alex, not shop.
question: what are the highlights and valleys of your Christmas this year?

mompoet - doing great in the balance

santa baby

Pearl linked this wonderful YouTube vid of Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby, performed in sign language.

question: how are you doing, post-Christmas?

mompoet - at home, enjoying friends' blogs

Monday, December 24, 2007


Fiona made a portrait of her mum out of cookie. She and her friends sat at the dining room table yesterday, and painted with potatoes and poster paint, then made cookies and frosted them. They were at it all afternoon, very happy and contented and peaceful (and silly). I like my portrait very much. She has no explanation for "I AM CAT." It just is.

question: what are you?

mompoet - Merry Christmas to all of my blog friends

another little project

Kirsi's husband Allan is a landscaper. Every December he brings a big bundle of greens to their carport. Kirsi generously shares these with me. Some years I go crazy and staple-gun cedar all over the front of my house, then ask Andy to light it up. This year I just made my usual monster-shaggy cedar wreath for the front door. I think it is very huggable, like a big grizzly bear who likes you very much. It smells good (even I can smell it) and stays green for weeks. I re-use the same wreath form, bow and bauble every year. It's kind of a tradition.

question: do you craft anything for Christmas?

mompoet - west coast happy

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Little projects

While I have some time, I'm chipping away at a few things that need doing. Yesterday it was my car trunk.

These are the before, after and re-loaded photos:

1) before (speaks for itself)
2) after (see note below)
3) loaded (with towels and mugs brought to me by a friend at the gym - these will go to our church's downtown east side mission where they need an endless supply of towels and mugs)

Note re: After

So what is okay to carry around in your trunk? It struck me that if I did not have a car I would have only that shoulder bag in which to carry the essentials. But because I have a car, I have an extra large metal purse and I can port some things around with me all the time. Here's what I keep in the car, even when it is cleaned out:

  • a first aid kit
  • boots, a coat, an extra t shirt
  • umbrella
  • motor oil, small took kit, ice scrapers
  • flash light
  • blanket
  • plastic table cloth (good ground cover for a picnic or otherwise)
  • a couple of plastic grocery bags
  • reusable cloth grocery bags
  • shoulder bag with work papers - I have weaned myself off actually carrying this every day in and out of the office, but keep it in my car in case I need any of the contents (I don't usually need any of it)
question: what do you keep in your car/shoulder bag/other means of hauling stuff around?

mompoet - encumbered but happily so

A festive coffee table centre

I like stuff like this at Christmas.

question: what's your Christmas decorating preference: traditional? eclectic? natural? red? silver? blue?

mompoet - red, definitely - and eclectic I think

Friday, December 21, 2007

A beautiful blog

Do you read "The Daily Coyote?" If not, please check it out.

question: what creatures reside in your habitat?

mompoet - liking the furry things very much

a cooked book and a new job - all one story, I promise

Recently, I have become aware of a change of mood and memory. I have been more stressed, more forgetful, and less able to find the deliciousness of every day. I attribute this to busy times, lots of responsibility, hectic pace etc. But I also worry: Am I losing my capacity to multi-task? Is my grip on the spirit of fun and adventure slipping? Will I forget something crucially important and endanger someone? let someone down in a big way? screw up in a way that I will regret? Will I begin collecting regrets? I don't want those!

An illustration: when the phone rings, I usually think - HEY! The phone! that might be someone interesting. I'll go get it... Lately I've been saying - HEY. The phone. Who is imposing on my limited resources by phoning me now? That's not good.

Another illustration: I spent some time last weekend in my kitchen. It's a way that I calm myself when I am feeling overwhelmed. I was baking biscotti from a recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks, in my small kitchen. I was making a BIG batch of biscotti - quadruple proportions, so I had my biggest bowl on the counter, plus a cutting board covered with chopped up apricots. I set the cookbook on the stove. That's safe, I'm not using the stove top, just the oven. A few minutes later I was still measuring and mixing when I decided a cup of tea would be nice. I put the kettle on the back burner and continued to mix the biscotti batter. A moment later - WHOOOSH! There was my cookbook - ON FIRE! I put it out before there was a major disaster. I had turned on the wrong burner. I had to cut off the badly burned back cover and part of the last page of the book, but otherwise it was okay. I'm grateful I didn't run downstairs for some raisins, get distracted and light the house on fire.

So these are signs that an adjustment is needed. Something has to change, but what? Things are good for me, maybe a little more volume than is needed, but when I tally up my home, job, family, friends, community, I find nothing that I'd even consider eliminating or drastically changing.

Then out of the blue there's a shuffle at work. Two days before I leave on a 3-week Christmas break, my boss phones me and asks me if I want to do a different job (same organization, lateral move) for one year, to fill in for someone else who is doing likewise. With barely a thought I said, "YES!" Of course then I talked to my family about it and slept on it, and called back in the morning and said, "STILL YES!" So starting in January I'll be working at the community centre instead of "out and about" in the community, and I'll be supervising seniors programming and some kids stuff too. I'm excited to be doing something different after 10 years in the same job, which I love, and will return to in January 2009. The new job is closer to my home - I think I can even take transit a few days a week, and my employer provides subsidized bus passes, so I'm sure I'll do it. I could even walk to work when the weather is good and I have an hour and a quarter to spare. The gym where I work out is in this centre (bikes and office in the same building - YIKES!) and the people there are wonderful. Of course I will miss the Mary Annes at my current office, but we'll see each other at meetings and lunches, and they say I can visit any time.

My friend Michele says I was born with a built-in horseshoe. By this she means whenever I need something it seems to drop into my lap. I accept these blessings gratefully. Here I am, needing a change, and a low-risk, moderately high-challenge opportunity has been provided. Thank you God. Thank you job. Thank you friends and family.

Now I just have to clean out my desk at the old office, find out who they are getting to replace me, and get one of those transit passes. If it all works out I will be answering the phone with a lift in my voice, and not barbequeing any more cookbooks any time soon. However, if you give me a nice Canadian Tire Catalogue or one of those gazillion paper phone books we get every year, I will gladly toast it up for you. Yum.

question: did you ever know you needed something, but not exactly what, then it came to you out of the blue?

mompoet - boing

What Crappy Christmas Gift are You? (I am Ugly Underwear.)

You Are Ugly Underwear!

Comfortable and soft, more people like you than let on.
But it's very difficult for you to show yourself in public.

Thanks Daisy, that was fun.

when I was little, my Dad held me in his arms under the night sky, and told me that the moon was mine

I also remember that he taught me to make the letter "C" on the frost inside a window pane, and he built a giant snowman for me, and once made me stay inside when it was too cold to play.

Today he sent me this link. He's still giving me the moon.

question: did you ever think you owned the moon?

mompoet - thanks Dad

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My adventure in the neighbourhood

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk around lunchtime. We walked our usual route, partway up the hill into the neighbourhood above our home, then back down. The local bus stops along the route, and it did this yesterday as we were walking by. A man got off the bus, followed by what looked like a teenage girl. The man hopped back on the bus as the girl started down the street. Then the man got back off the bus and shouted at her, "HEY! Where are you going? That way!" The bus left. The girl turned and walked back to the bus stop, then continued down the street with the man, walking away from me and the dog.

I walked down the stairway toward my home, thinking, "There's something not right." The feeling was strong enough that I turned around, went back up the stairs and went to look for them. I thought, "If it turns out that girl has been abducted, I don't want to know that I saw something and ignored it." Very quickly I spotted the man, a couple hundred meters up a sides street. He stood beside a driveway. A moment later the girl came out of the driveway and they both walked down the hill toward me. I allowed the dog to sniff a patch of grass, while I stood and watched. As they passed by me I saw that the girl was actually a young woman. Her clothing and slight build made her look younger, but her face was old - probably older than her real age. Both the man and the woman had that tired, hard, partly closed-up look that people do when life is not easy for them. They were wearing jeans and nice coats, and the woman had leather gloves and dress boots, but something about them looked sad.

I followed them along the main road, just a hundred meters or so behind. The man was talking to the woman in an imposing tone. She wasn't talking. Every couple of houses he would say something, and she would approach a front door of a house and knock while he stood on the sidewalk a few houses down. They went to about 4 front doors in this manner. I stood far enough back that I wasn't sure if anyone answered the door at any of the houses. They could see me clearly. About this time I called the police. I felt concerned to know that the young woman was safe. I felt concerned that maybe they were thinking about breaking into a house. I also wanted to know if they needed help. We have a temporary shelter program now in our community. Maybe they needed a place to stay, and not everyone knows yet that there's an option in our neighbourhood. Part of me wanted to go up and ask them if they needed help. The other part said, "wait."

The police operator kept me talking on the phone as I followed the two people. I gave descriptions and explained what I had seen. She said a police car was on the way. After a few houses, the woman stopped knocking on doors and the man and woman walked along the sidewalk. They turned a corner and kept going. I kept following. Then I saw what I thought was the police, so the operator said I could hang up. It turned out to be a bylaw officer. I walked over to his truck, and asked if he could radio the police to let them know where we all were. He said okay, and I kept following the people. It was pouring rain, and I think the dog thought I was crazy. She was wet as a seal and we were way off our usual route, but oh well. She's a good dog, and she's big and black, so she was helping me feel safe.

Now the bylaw officer was following me, following the people. I think he wanted to make sure I was safe and that everything was under control.

Finally the police arrived. I saw an officer get out of the car and go over and talk with the man and the woman. I turned around and walked home quickly. I didn't want to be standing around after the police left. First I went over and thanked the bylaw officer for his help.

About 10 minutes later, my phone rang. It was the police officer. He told me that the man and woman said they were going door to door looking for work cleaning gutters. He told me that they weren't dressed for cleaning gutters and had no tools. He asked me if I could tell him which houses they visited, because he was going to go knock on the doors and ask owners what happened. I did my best to describe which ones. I asked the officer if the man and woman needed a place to stay or any help. He said no. He knows these people. They have a place to stay. By this time I was home. I went into my nice warm house with a Christmas tree and everything we possibly need in the world. I dried off the dog (she was soaked!) and made some lunch and sat down to calm myself.

Later I told Andy and the kids about it. Fiona said, "really? you followed them?" I told her yes I did. I told her that I didn't expect her to follow someone when she was out walking the dog. We talked about why I felt safe (the phone, our dog, daylight, lots of neighbours around). I also told her I thought that I looked more imposing that she would, if she was following a suspicious-acting adult. "Yeah, she said - OH, LOOK! A middle aged woman with an old dog and a cell phone - RUN!"

question: do you know this feeling?

mompoet - still a bit jazzed and sad and curious

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yi Yi

I began my Christmas vacation by watching a dvd after the kids left for school this morning. Yi Yi is the story of a Taiwanese family going through most of the major events of life. It's honest and understated and very beautiful. I stopped counting the aha!/just right! moments and enjoyed it from start to finish. It's almost 3 hours long and very very lovely.

It was made in 2000 but it's still at the Rogers in North Burnaby - or will be tomorrow when I return it. Good stuff.

question: watched anything good lately?

mompoet - still enjoying my 2007 New Year's resolution (watch more foreign films)

8 (or under) MeMe

Carol, conductor of the the famous "Friends of the Friendless Marching Band," tagged me at her blog, A Revision.

8 things I am passionate about:
my family (nuclear and extended)
my community
social justice
poems, stories, plays and movies

8 things I want to do before I die:
travel the world
drive across Canada
go back to university
learn to relax
be a better listener
be a Grandma
write a novel and/or a play
sing in a choir

8 Things I say often:
What do you think about...
My suggestion is...
Tomorrow we will...
I love you.
Thank you for your help today.

8 books I've read recently:
Turtle Valley
A Recipe for Bees
The Golden Compass
Moosewood Low Fat Cookbook
A Roald Dahl Treasury
The Artist's Way
A Thousand Splendid Suns

8 songs I could listen to over and over again:
Love Cats - The Cure
Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Lover Man - Billie Holiday
The Lord's Prayer sung from the Voices United Hymn Book
Life is Sweet - Natalie Merchant
Slide - Ani di Franco
Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

8 things that attract me to my friends:
not perfect
have experiences different from mine

8 People who should do this "MeMe":
the first 8 who are moved to do so

question: If you could make a list of 8, any 8, what list would it be?

mompoet - not usually a doer of memes, but there you go.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A wee Christmas Story

Poinsellia’s Christmas Eve

Poinsellia Ferrarret- Rocchio awoke with a special smile. “Today is Christmas Eve,” she thought, “the day of my big, amazing Christmas Eve birthday party. Everyone who is anyone will be here, and it’s all about ME.” Christmas Eve was Poinsellia’s favourite day of the whole year. “Time to get going,” she thought, swinging her legs out of bed, and sliding Christmas-red toes into fluffy white slippers. She glanced toward her bedroom window and noticed that the curtains were lopsided, and the light unbearably bright, even though the shade was still closed. “Maybe it snowed out there. I’ll go look.” Poinsellia lurched across the room, grappling the dresser-top for support. “Oh my…CHOOOOO!...HAAAAAAAA-CHOOOOO!” Poinsellia reached for a Snow Queen Facial Tissue (imported from Switzerland) from the green sequined holder on the night table, just in time to intercept another mighty “HHHHAAAA-CHOOOO!”

It dawned on Poinsellia that she had a cold. Upon this revelation, the world turned cockeyed-scatterwaggle.

Poinsellia persisted, showering and dressing like always. Her morning toilette was usually an exercise in polishing perfection, but today her frock was brinkled and crambly, hems tippling lib-dobbity up and out in excruciatingly faux-parallel fashion. Her hair, always a confection of satinography, was lank and scrabulous. She frugged her trush through rabbling tresses, then threw it to the floor in frustel-ration.

Surely a cold would not – could not - spoil her day. There was much to look forward to: her guests arriving in horse-drawn sleighs, ice skating on the lake, the crystal palace birthday pavilion, (built with genuine Swarovski crystals on the palatial grounds of the Ferrarret-Rocchio estate), the wild boar hunt, the parade of the dachshunds, and the judging of the ice sculptures, all followed by the feast in the great hall, lit by glittering candelabrum and warmed by trained pelicans carrying crucibles of smoldering cherry-wood charcoal among the elegantly clad guests. Why, Poinsellia herself had no fewer than seventeen outfits arranged in her dressing room so that she would be suitably adorned for each stage of this wondrous occasion. Her guests had sent their wardrobes and attendants ahead earlier in the morning, to set up in spare bedrooms in preparation for this day. They too would dress and redress in attire suitable for the festivities, all regal and just-so, but none as just or nearly so as Poinsellia’s own couture.

Poinsellia emerged from her chambers and started down the grand staircase. The clush plarpet on the stairs swained and boobled. Poinsellia bripped the glammester, but all in vain. She sat down with a blop, on her pottom. “Oh dear,” she thought, “this won’t do.”

Stiff upper lip had always been mumsy’s advice (prior to her genteel passing). Before the servants could witness this momentary awkwardness, Poinsellias retreated to her rooms.

Peering into her mirror, Poinsellia glabbed jetrolebum pelly on her lupper ip. It soothed the raw redness but did little to improve her appearance. “Blasted obsessive lip-licking!” she exclaimed, dibbing at her kostrils with another tacial fissue. Glancing in the pull-fength lirror, she reached down to kraighten the plirt of her prock, and swoozled once more, just in time for Mrs. Rumball, her housekeeper to run in, catch her and prevent her from falling.

“You’re to go to bed now,” Rumball clucked, “Don’t fret. You’ll be right as rain in a few days. Doctor Rottibussin is downstairs tending the servants and the guests who’ve arrived already. Most will go home and to bed, but a few we’ll have to keep, they’re swoozing and sweening so’s they can’t travel.” The single globe light in her dressing room divided into three dancing white orbs, assembling and disassembling themselves into a leering snowman wearing emerald earrings and a purple feather boa.

“What about my party?” Poinsellia croaked.

“Doctor says no parties or gatherings of any kind until this epidemic’s over. Half the county is flattened with the flu and it’s so terribly contagious, the other half might as well climb into bed now and be ready for it to hit.”

Poinsellia droozled a timid objection, then allowed herself to be wafted back to the eiderdowns by Mrs. Rumball. Delicate and pathos-laden tears leaked and plobbered onto the counterpane. “My Christmas Eve birthday is my favourite day. And now I’ll miss it.”

“There, there now. I’ll bring a hot stone for your feet, then you get some sleep. There’s a dear.” Mrs. Rumball left Poinsellia adrift in a sleigh, whirling through galaxies of chill and flame, lilacs and brimstone. Thoughts of the plum pudding, the fire dancers, the gnome nativity and the gifts, oh – the gifts, flashed grandomly before Poinsellias blottering and krabbity-shud-blot eyes.

“No birthday, no Christmas Eve…” she sighed, and drifted into blackness.


Some time later. The next morning, I think. Poinsellia opened her eyes, which were clear and bright. The curtains were straight, the light gentle and appropriate to early morning. Her pillow was cool and felt good against her cheek. She detected a faint scent of lavender and knew it was only the linens. She looked around. The sleigh had landed. She was well.

Cautiously, she reached for the floor, flexing feet newly-freed from aches and shivers. Still a bit weak, but feeling more herself with every breath, she crossed the room to look out the window. The grounds still showed evidence of the elaborate preparations for her party, but the ice sculptures had melted, the crystal palace was partly disassembled already, and the dachshunds and wild boars has been taken to their warm stables.

Stiff upper lip, Poinsellia remembered (noting that her own was now smooth, supple and chap-free). Then her heart warmed with sudden inspiration:

“Only a day or two until New Year’s. A belated birthday will suit me wonderfully.” Poinsellia pirouetted, wobble-free, and began a new day.

question: What's your favourite day?

mompoet - the characters and situation in this story are in no way meant to portray actual people, places or situations. Any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

another link post - will write more when I can type without coughing

It's almost the weekend and I'm still feeling crummy so I'm posting another link. This one's really good though. Kind of evocative of how a lot of us are feeling at the end of the work week. Check out bent objects - an awesome blog to follow any time.

question: did you ever feel like that?

mompoet - still craning to see the top of the hill

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a dog tale

Dooce linked this lovely Japanese short film on her site. If you haven't looked at Dooce lately, Heather has updated the site. It's better than ever.

question: have you ever loved a dog?

mompoet - me too

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pie Face

My friend Valerie, who I call Mary Anne (the reason why is a whole post unto itself) has been working at my office for 2 years. At the end of the month, her two year contract ends. While my co-workers and I fervently hope that we will be able to keep her, we have begun the celebrations and recognition that go with an ending of a work term.

Somehow in our discussions with Mary Anne, we found out that she really wants to be hit in the face with a pie. Of course we decided this must become part of her send-off. We have a lunch planned for next week, so that would be the natural time, but also the time at which she would expect to be pied. Pie-hits should be surprises, so we cooked a plan to pie Mary Anne on Friday. My two other friends, who I will also call Mary Anne (we are actually all called Mary Anne in our office) did most of the work, baking the pie, arranging a time when Mary Anne would be in the office and concocting the perfect ruse to lure her to her meeting with the pie. My job was to bring towels and face cloths, and a spare shirt in case Mary Anne needed to change after the pie-ing.

So our boss came to the office to meet with Mary Anne (part of setup). The two other Mary Annes made a loud noise outside the back door of the building by dropping a stacking table on the ground, then one Mary Anne yelled and lay down on the ground, appearing to be injured, while the other Mary Anne hid behind the door with a pie. Mary Anne the pie target rushed out of her office to help, saw injured Mary Anne on the ground, spotted pie-throwing Mary Anne but thought she was "a thug" and ducked to protect herself. The pie was launched and nearly missed our boss, who had come out to see the pie-ing. Luckily she was only grazed, and pie-thrower Mary Anne had baked more than one, so she grabbed pie number two and hit a bull's eye "SPLAAAT!" on our dear Mary Anne. All the while there was screaming and laughter for about 5 minutes without stopping. I snapped the photos, then offered the towels, and was reaching for the spare shirt, when "PHWOP!" pie thrower Mary Anne hit me in the face with the secret pie number 3. It felt cool and mushy and muffly, and tasted delicious. My glasses were full of pie, Mary Anne's face was dripping with pie and she had a chunk of banana on her cheek. We were tasting the pie and squishing it out of our hair and laughing and shouting and stepping around clumps of pie on the ground. There was pie everywhere! We got our Mary Anne. She has been pied. And it's always nice to be pied with a friend.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.

question: have you ever been pied?

mompoet - vanilla scented and somewhat sticky

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lettuce Wraps

These are very good. They are tasty and healthy, and they invite everyone to sit down together, pass plates, scoop and drizzle and lick fingers.

1 head of curly leaf or iceberg lettuce
2 small bundles of vermicelli rice noodles - the fine size
1 pound of protein (minced or ground beef or minced chicken or firm tofu)
vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 tsp fresh ginger - grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
1 small red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 small green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 zucchini, chopped fine
4-6 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
Asian chili sauce to taste
hoisin sauce for garnish

1. Wash and spin dry the lettuce leaves, being careful to keep them whole. Arrange on a plate.
2. While you are washing the lettuce, heat a couple of inches deep of veg oil in a saucepan. Every few minutes, test the heat by dropping a piece of dry vermicelli into the oil. When it sizzles and puffs up rapidly, the oil is hot enough. At that time, drop in one vermicelli bundle at a time, turning once after it puffs. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. The noodles will be dry and puffed up and crispy. (We call them styrofoam but they are much better.) Do the same with the second bundle. You may want to wait a couple of minutes in between bundles to let the oil heat up a bit.

While the oil is heating, go on with the next steps, but keep checking the oil.
2. Stir fry the meat or tofu in some oil. Cook until browned and slightly crispy. Set aside.
3. Stir fry the onions with the ginger and garlic, until just cooked. Add to the protein that has been set aside.
4. Stir fry the carrots. After a minute or two, add the other remaining vegetables (except the green onions - these are for garnish) and cook the lot until it is fresh-crispy cooked.
5. Add the protein/onion/garlic/ginger mix back in and stir fry together lightly.
6. Season with the soy, vinegar or lemon, sesame oil and chili sauce.

On a large platter or shallow large bowl, break the vermicelli noodle puffs into a nest.
Spoon the stir-fry mixture onto the nest of vermicelli.
Sprinkle the green onions on top.
Serve at the table with the lettuce leaves and the hoisin sauce on the side.

How to eat:
Take a lettuce leaf, fill it with the stir fry mixture, including some vermicelli noodles. Top with hoisin to taste. Fold up the leaf and eat the wrap. Have napkins ready.

What to do with leftovers:
Lettuce wrap salad is yummy. Reheat a bit of the stir fry mixture, or serve it cold. Use it to top a bowl of torn lettuce. Dress with hoisin.

The stir fry filling reheated and served over rice is yummy too.

question: what do you like to cook?

mompoet - I like to cook

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The big holiday peel-out

We are all shuffling our feet getting ready to jump out of work and into the holidays. I have (specifically) nine more workdays before I take 3 weeks off to just be at home and enjoy the break with my family.

I have more than 9 days worth of work to do but oh well.

A co-worker of mine leaves for Europe for a family Christmas there next Monday. Another goes on education leave for 4 months when December ends. Another is finishing up a 2 year contract on the 31st, and who knows if she'll work with us after that. Most of the rest are doing pretty much what I am - taking a couple of weeks and returning in January - sooner or later.

This year the kids get out of school just before Christmas, then stay out until Jan 7. I like it that way. We begin with a bang, then the holiday is pretty relaxed.

Things to look forward to (in no particular order):

The Golden Compass opens at the movie theatre this weekend.
Shoreline Writers' holiday meeting with anonymous poems is soon.
We'll put our Christmas lights up on the house on the weekend.
I'm making lettuce wraps for supper tonight.

Gotta go chop veg and wash leaves before I leave for work, so all I have to do tonight is puff up the vermicelli and sizzle and season the fillings. Wonder if I have enough hoisin? better check.

question: is there ever enough hoisin?

mompoet - counting down