Wednesday, February 28, 2007

some good some bad all too fast

Our school will close in June. Goodbye College Park. I'm not quite believing it yet, but my eyes are wetting up and my nose is scrunching, so it must be real. The School Trustees voted to close 5 of the 8 schools and ours is one. I haven't heard yet which 3 will stay open. There are some with demographics and dangerous walks that would be devastated by closure. I hope those are the ones we get to keep.

College Park is where I met many of my friends and where our kids met theirs. It's a school where every teacher and the janitor and the principal and the secretary know every child, even the younger siblings who aren't at school yet. It's a place where we were helped with gentleness, love and skill, through some of our most confusing and frightening days as parents. I know this could have happened anywhere, but it didn't. It happened at our school. We will miss it very sadly and deeply.

On a happier note, the Main Street Slam was fun last night. There weren't enough people for a competition so we had an open mic. There were some good performances and lots of conversation. It was a mellow evening and we laughed a lot. I'm glad I was there, and not at the School Board meeting.

Even better. I think Dr. Ward finally fixed my tooth. Yesterday he took out and old filling and replaced it. The tooth is cracked, so he said he couldn't guarantee it. If it doesn't work I have to get a root canal (which I hear sounds worse than it actually is). This morning I ate a really cold pear right out of the fridge, and I didn't go through the roof. I'm hopeful it will stay good. I like my teeth. I like to chew with both sides of my mouth. I like pears and apples. I like Dr. Ward.

Tonight is the strata meeting. This issue is about "common property." Specifically who pays if a pipe bursts in your wall - you or the strata's insurance. It has implications for spending, insurance and power and control. If I can get through tonight, the rest of the week should be a piece of cake (I hope).

Best of all, Dagmar at CBC says "yeah" to my Made In Canada Poem. I have whittled it down to under 4 minutes and will now memorize it. Show's Monday at 8pm at Cafe Deux Soleils.

Now I must walk the dog in the snow and maybe hug some neighbours as they walk their kids up to our school.

question: what would you miss if it was closed?

mompoet - piece of my heart at College Park Elementary

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

our schools

To the Board of School Trustees,

It's early Tuesday morning when I write this email, but you probably know that the word has been out since Monday. We have heard that the recommendation will be to close 7 of the eight schools, leaving Moody Elementary open. We have heard further that College Park School will be closed, but will be used for the coming school year as a satellite to Seaview, while seismic upgrades take place there.

While we're all talking about it like it's already been decided, there's still the hope that you may not vote in favour of the recommendations.

While I have not led the charge this year in our neighbourhood, I have followed this round of school consolidation discussions closely. It's clear that the needs of the children for local schools with safe walks hasn't changed. In several of the areas, population projections have been plausibly challenge. Valid options have been suggested for increasing enrollment and mixing uses at schools so that they may be kept open. The benefit of small, neighbourhood schools has been reinforced, by both scientific research and personal experience.

Surely, from all of this process, you will conclude more than just "We gave everyone a chance to say their piece before we closed their schools." Surely a plausible case has been made to keep some of these schools open, at least a few more years to see if the alternative population projections presented and creative solutions proposed will work.

Tonight will be one of the hardest nights of your careers as School Trustees. I appreciate your work, and hope that you will show us all that our schools are worth saving, and that the process has been one of collaboration, done in the best interest of our children and families.



question: did you ever hope against hope?

mompoet - joining in the final effort to convince otherwise

Monday, February 26, 2007

thinking about church signs

My friend Irene Livingston just pointed me to a website for making your own church sign image. It's cool and fun to play with, and it got me thinking about the mixed feelings I have been having about signs in front of churches. I have noticed that many Christian churches have moveable letter signs. The Catholic churches I have seen tend to have Bible quotations or information about what time the service is, or an ad for an upcoming church event. Protestant churches are more likely to have very short jokes (you don't get very many letters on one of those signs). Sometimes the joke is funny, but often it makes me feel uncomfortable because I get the sense it's using humour to impose an opinion and say "We're right, you know, heh heh heh.."

I've posted recently about the sign at our church that I found offensive enough that I requested it be changed. (In case you missed the post, it said "A closed mouth gathers no foot," which I thought could be construed to discourage people from speaking up for what they think is right). Today our church sign reads "Life is a journey, let faith be your guide." In the summer it said "This church is prayer-conditioned." Humorous sayings on church signs are intended to be friendly and to convey an image that the people who worship here don't take themselves too seriously or worship too formally for newcomers to feel welcome. The intention is good, I know. At their best, church joke signs can convey a hokey/folksy image that is probably non-threatening to most readers. Inspirational messages like the faith journey one tend to be nice and gentle and welcoming too.

But sometimes I worry that these signs say the opposite of what we mean them to, when read by someone who does not agree with the way we practise our faith. I found some examples on google images. These and this and
this. You get the idea. On the one hand, it's funny. On the other hand, you're laughing and thinking, well, now I just agreed because I laughed so I must be wrong if I don't really agree, and apparently, stop-drop-and-roll won't help me.

So I guess this all goes to say that I don't think church signs are the greatest idea, when we try to use them to make a point by being funny. Sure, it's part of what we Christians do, to spread the word of God, but I prefer it when we're very careful and sensitive in the way we do it. I think it's more effective to tell people what we're about by what we do in the community and as families and individuals, rather than with a clever arrangement of moveable letters.

So that's my church sign at the top of the post, made at the church sign generator website.

I hope you like it, but it's okay if you don't.

question: what are your thoughts on this?

mompoet - in favour of a road that is wide open for journeys of many kinds

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I think this is funny

I was reading Mike McGee's post about favourite all time weep-inducing movies and I got to thinking about some of my favourites. The best ones make me laugh and cry all in one movie. That led me to some youtube sleuthing and I found this, which did not make me cry, except when I think about how I miss John Candy.

question: Do you think Tootsie was classic? or a piece of fluff?

mompoet - Dorothy - D-O-R-O-T-H-Y - Dorothy!

ps - Is that Martin Short as Dustin Hoffman?

Sunday Sunday

It's Sunday evening at 7:15. I'm sitting at the computer waiting for yahoo let me send out a few more emails to the Vancouver Poetry House email list (we're promoting the CBC Face Off and our AGM, and yahoo limits you to x number of emails per hour). I know we could switch to "groups" but it's clunkier and the messages aren't as pretty. And I have the time to putter while I wait for yahoo's clock to pass the magic hour and let me send some more.

Andy and the kids are watching the Academy Awards. I'm listening from the kitchen and letting them call me in if something interesting happens. So far, not too much. I did go in to see the freakish "Hollywood Sound Effects Choir," a group of performers in evening dress, making car, train and plane sounds (with some screaming) to match a movie montage projected behind them. They were all wearing headseats and looking grave, and being directed by a very intense looking conductor. What the huh??? Ah well, Ellen Degeneres looks slick in her red velvet blazer. I like Ellen. There's a bit of extra fun watching this year, knowing we stood on that very stage in August, looking out at the rows of seats, some with cardboard movie stars sitting in them. Looks like most of the stars are real tonight.

I am feeling pretty good about the CBC Poetry Face Off, having mostly completed my poem. I'm so grateful for all of the quirky, original, and heartfelt contributions that I received, and confident that I have made the poem my own. If I play my cards right I'll be able to thank my helpers in my intro moment. Thanks especially to Mom, Dad and Irene, who have been reading my drafts and bouncing them back at me with loving and honest criticism. What a blessing to have fluff-busters and quizzle-zappers who love me, ready to help when I ask.

Today I took Fi and her friend to an audition. On the way, they treated me to their specialty "one bar" singing. We play a backing track on the cd player and the girls sing a song together, alternating bar by bar, first one voice, then the other. This requires a lot of skill and coordination. When they get it right and they're really in synch, their two voices sound like a single voice. It's a treat to observe how well they know one another to be able to do this. When they start to lose it, it has to be the funniest thing you have ever heard, frantic and jerky and ridiculous. I love it.

So now I'm partly looking forward to the week ahead and partly dreading it, which is a Sunday evening thing for me. Weekend's almost over and I'm standing on the tip of the diving board, looking down to everything I'm about to do and see and be. Highlights will include the new Main Street Slam on Tuesday evening. Hurdles include our strata AGM on Wednesday, where there's a big contentious issue coming up. The big question/dread this week will be Tuesday's announcement of school closures. I'm still hoping that College Park Elementary will get another reprieve, but when I look at the other schools on the list, several communities stand to lose more than ours will if their schools are closed. I'll try to stay optimistic. Oh, and I'm getting a filling in my tooth on Tuesday morning. That's going to be a doozie of a day.

I think if I just breathe through my vision of the week and picture Thursday morning, everything will be okay. In the meantime, I have a poem to learn, a family to love and friends all around who give me tenderness and support whenever I need it. Even with the hurdles, life is pretty sweet.

question: what's the week looking like for you?

mompoet - yahoo-bound

Saturday, February 24, 2007

coming up for air (aka procrastinating)

I am trying to write my CBC Poetry Face Off poem today. The theme is "Made in Canada." I would like to say that I am taking a long time because I have tried a different approach, but I think it's more like I have tried a different approach because I needed to take a long time. The deadline for submitting my poem to the show's producer is Monday morning. The Face Off is one week later on March 5 at 8pm at Cafe Deux Soleils in Vancouver. My approach has been pretty Canadian I think. I know my own ideas, but that's "just my experience," so I have asked for input. I have talked/emailed/written to about 50 Canadians (neither a representative nor scientific sample, but an interesting one) about their personal reflections on what it is to be Canadian. My poem will include as much of this information as I can fit, and part of the problem is that I have enough material for four poems, when I have only 4 minutes for my performance, including recognizing the contributors. At the moment, all I know for sure about the poem is that it begins with a nosebleed and ends with a whispered promise. Somewhere in the middle there are fiddleheads and universal medical care.

For other research, I have watched a bunch of contemporary Canadian films. Last night's pick was one I missed at the Port Moody festival - Atom Egoyan's Sabah which was stunning and delicious. Interestingly, it's available in the Foreign Films section at Roger's video, which has something to say about Canada, but I'm not sure what. I have dipped into my copy of the Canadian Encyclopedia (2000 edition) and done some internet research on David Oppenheimer (just to be sure). My friend Jim McKnight just read some of my poetry from the new Shoreline Chapbook and called my work "soft rants." Probably my CBC poem will be another such. I intend to infuse it with feelings of love, pride and curiosity.

Speaking of films, I have not forgotten my promise to view An Awfully Big Adventure as suggested by "anonymous" after I posted my negative opinion of Hugh Grant as an actor. I'm eager to challenge my own personal prejudice in this regard, but I can't find a copy at the local libraries or video stores. If anyone reading this has it in his/her personal collection and wouldn't mind loaning it to me, I'd be most grateful. I'll pay postage if needed.

Another aspect to my procrastination is the fact that after several months of writing pretty much nothing, three or four poem ideas are bobbing at the surface, demanding attention. For now I must tell Tom Jones, moms embarrassing teenagers, fantasies about germs on doorknobs and Pluto and the middle school science curriculum to STAY PUT! (You'll have your turns soon.)

So now I've blurted my blog and drank a cup of chai tea. I have always wanted to drink chai tea then do tai chi (or vice versa), but there's no time for tai chi today. I have a poem to write.

question: what do you do when you need to procrastinate?

mompoet - bla bla bla

ps - what's one notch more assertive than "self-deprecating?"
maybe there's a clue in the antonym list for self-absorbed?

Friday, February 23, 2007

the things you see when you look up

question: in which direction are you looking today?

mompoet - observing

Thursday, February 22, 2007

tug of war time

For the next few weeks, spring grapples with winter like some insistent alarm clock waking a drowsy sleeper. Getup getup getup. How many times can I hit the snooze button?

It's Lent now, and I'm thinking about Easter (the Bible and the bunny). This will be our second Easter without a trip to Cranbrook. Next year, Barb and her family will be home so we can go there again. That's a rite of spring for me, and I miss it, and them.

At our church we focus more on giving out than giving up at Lent. Families are encouraged to recognize and appreciate the comfort and security in our everyday lives, and mark this appreciate with small, personal gifts of charity. It's a gentle way to go into Easter, and meaningful to us at home.

Crocuses are poking through the cold, damp soil in the garden, while the air chills again and the snowline plunges lower on the mountains. I'll keep my snowtires on the car for a while, but these days I'm using my umbrella more frequently than my ice scraper.

We have begun the countdown and plan-making for spring break.

Both children are selecting high school courses for next year. And Alex will go to a college open house next weekend. Next year is his last in high school, so it's time to make plans for what's next.

The buds are ready to bloom, but the chill prevails. I think I'll sleep for five more minutes.

question: how's spring looking for you?

mompoet - reluctant

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I went to the Van Slam last night. It's been such a long time since I competed there, that I decided to be in it. I performed my ice cream flavours poem which is a very hard one to remember and I did lose it partway through but it was okay. I got lots of appreciation, but low scores. That's okay. It's not a slam poem really, but I really wanted to see if I could do it, having forgotten my way with the same poem at the Summer Dreams Reading festival (for which I originally wrote it). Now I think I can put it back in the freezer for a while. Although it did make me feel kind of hungry.

It was a fun night at the slam. Brendan McLeod featured. He is so smart and talented and funny. I wished the feature slot was longer. I could have listened to another song and another poem easily. We also had a bit of a surprise for our beloved slam host, RC Weslowski, who everyone thought had decided to quit slam. So, headed up by famous poet and good friend Sean McGarrgle, a few of us cooked up this lovely/absurd and moderately profane 10 minute group piece tribute to RC. He seemed to enjoy it, then he told us at the end that he was still going to slam, just not try out for the team again. Oh. Well, I think it was a good thing anyway. My friend Irene says that you should never think a compliment and let it go unsaid. If you do, it's wasted. So expressing sincere affection, even if we got the motivation a bit wrong is always a good thing to do. It felt good to be part of that.

In the morning I felt surprising un-tired. At work I bored through many more layers of budget, and started up a cooking program for Grades 1-3 children, which was fun. Tonight I'm going to the ugly school closure meeting. Perhaps someone will stand up on the stage and initiate a group piece tribute to one of the school trustees, but I doubt it. I think it's guaranteed grimness and sorrow for at least 3 hours. Cathy and me, we're bringing lawn chairs and hot tea and seating ourselves strategically so we can leave when the time is right.

Next week I'll go to the new slam at the Cottage Bistro. It's on Tuesday the 27th. Sean and co-host Trevor Spilchen have invited me to be one of the competing poets. Then the week after that it's the CBC Poetry Face Off. I am still juggling poem-bits thinking about that one. Getting back in the game with 2 slams before it should help me feel good going in. And spending more time playing with the nourishing community that is Van Slam and VanPoHouse are definitely good for my soul.

I must go now to eat supper, boil tea and find the lawn chair. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Nope, not now. It's time for politics.

question: what's your favourite ice cream?

mompoet - a little scattered but mostly coherent

Monday, February 19, 2007

A strange new twist in the school closure saga

Late last week, two of our District 43 School Trustees, Keith Watkins and John Keryluk, called for a halt to the school closure process. Here's the news story.

In the meantime, meetings at local schools are now over, and we have a big meeting hosted by the school trustees that has got so big they've expanded it to two nights. Originally scheduled for Tuesday Feb 20, it will now run on both the 20th and the 21st. Eighty-two speakers were scheduled at deadline time. After these meetings, the trustees will deliberate. Their decision on the fate of 8 elementary schools will be announced on February 27.

I checked in last night with Reece Harding, the College Park parent who is heading up the fight to keep our little school open. Reece told me that the official reps for the 8 school Parent Advisory Councils are scheduled first on Tuesday, followed by the remaining speakers over the course of the two nights. Speakers will not be clustered by neighbourhood or school. I think our PAC is #5. Reece is #32, and there will be other speakers from our community throughout. Reece recommended that we attend on Tuesday, but either night should be good for supporting our speakers. And every presenter should be compelling.

Other speakers of note include two Port Moody City Councillors. Our mayor reports that district staff and trustees have refused to meet with him or other reps from our city. The city, understandably, wants to keep all of its schools (3 Port Moody Schools are on the block). Our councillors seem to be of the opinion that the district's enrolment projections are pessimistic.

As for our little school, if it closes, the kids will be assigned to Seaview Elementary School, a few blocks to the south. This much larger school is less than half full, so it will easily accommodate as many of our kids as do end up going there. One hitch: Seaview is scheduled for a major seismic upgrade in 2007-8. Most of the kids there already will be moved out to portable classrooms for a good part of the school year. So if College Park is closed and our kids move over, they'll face the double disruption of changing schools and learning in temporary classrooms within a de-stabilized school community for most of their first year.

From a dollars and cents point of view, the answer is clear cut: close as many schools as we can and move the kids to fill other schools with empty classrooms, thus saving money on heat, light, maintenance, equipment and administration. From a community point of view, and a social perspective, it's not as easy. A neighbourhood school is something special in the life of a community. Children and families rely on it as a base for learning, living and growing, and not just within the curriculum or school programs. While your kids are there, the school is a centre of family and community life. It will be hard to see some of these bases eliminated, and difficult for those affected to re-establish roots in newly-shaped community groupings.

The next ten days will be very stressful for everyone. I hope that there will be some happy resolution. It's certain that some schools will be closed. I don't wish it for our school, but neither do I wish it for any others.

I have a piece of art given to me by one of our students 4 years ago when we won the fight to keep College Park open. On the back it says "Thank you for saving our school." I'm going to take it to the meeting Tuesday and give it to Reece. No matter what the outcome, this effort has shown the strength of the bonds in our small community. That is something precious indeed.

question: how do you solve a problem like school funding?

mompoet - sad about change

Sunday, February 18, 2007

more port moody film festival

Saturday I spent the day in the theatre. In the morning, I saw the "Community Shorts" show - five short films from around BC - all good! After the showing, there was a cafe discussion, with people who worked on some of the films. That was interesting too. After lunch I saw "Whole New Thing," a coming of age movie set in Nova Scotia. It was great. I felt like I had indulged in a very luxurious day.

In the evening there were more good films, but I'd had enough. We went out for supper with my Mom and Dad, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They didn't want a big party, so we had a nice Thai supper out and dessert back at our place.

Today there are more films, and also Shoreline Writers in the afternoon and church in the morning. I have a hankering for home, though, and I'm trying to memorize a poem, so maybe I'll go to the show, maybe I'll stay home. We'll see. For sure this evening is Sunday supper and home with the family. We all need home base on Sunday evening to get ready for the week ahead.

question: laundry or cinema?

mompoet - wishing I could be two places at the same time

Saturday, February 17, 2007

okay fess up!

Who signed me up for the Immodium email list? I just got a coupon for $2 off?

question: would I do that to you?

mompoet - usually regular and intestinally stable

Friday, February 16, 2007

haiku movie reviews

Eve and the Fire Horse

jesus and buddah
sweep eve in living room waltz
young girl sees the light

Souvenir of Canada

we must be more than
stubby bottles and long roads
may our house stand strong

Canadian Movies

Its the Port Moody Film Festival this weekend. This year's festival is all Canadian works. There are so many intriguing offerings, I wish I could just go to every one, but there are other things to do, so I'll have to choose. Last night I saw Eve and The Fire Horse, and attended the opening Popcorn Gala. It was sold out by the time we went to buy tickets, but we got in on standby. What a good movie that was! I'll post a haiku review separately.

At home this morning in my pajamas, I watched Douglas Coupland's Souvenir of Canada, also very good.

So I think I have a theme going this weekend.

question: appreciated anything Canadian lately?

mompoet - O CANADA!

ps - It was very funny to see the priest in Eve and the Firehorse played by Alan Cedergreen who was our "Widow Twanky" in the Aladdin Panto this Christmas.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Who signed up for "Poetry?" I thought this was "Myths!"

Valentine's Day was Literacy Day at the middle school. One of the grade 6/7 teachers asked if I could come do a poetry session with a group of students. The format of the day was pretty nice - the kids could sign up for things like "love story writing" "scattergories" "improv" and "myths." My presentation was poetry.

Last year I was fortunate to book slam champions Barbara Adler and Brendan McLeod to come with me to do the presentation. They had the kids on fire with a combination of performance, discussion and exercises. There was definitely some magic happening. My presentation was a bit closer to teacher/mom style, because that's who I am, but I think they had fun, and they did write some pretty good stuff.

Here are a couple of impressions:

  • If you love math, "The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides" is poetry.
  • my apple smells like secrets
  • sometimes it's hard to remember all of the five senses
  • the word "loins" is funny to 11 year olds
  • the noisiest, unruliest kids wrote the most poetry and some of the coolest lines
  • if you are a grade 6/7 teacher on a day filled with chocolate and budding hormones, you are a very hard-working person
  • I like kids
The kids also shared their impressions of Canada with me, as I gather ideas from lots of Canadians for my CBC poem.

Fifteen minutes into the hour I was sweating. By the end I felt very satisfied. Next year I hope I can book some slam heroes again. That would be fun to do one more time.

question: where do you find poetry?

mompoet - I found it in a room that smelled like stinky running shoes

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Left brain left! Right brain right! Left brain...

Yesterday was a big day at work. We had a major special event in the morning, then I crunched the budget in the afternoon.

Right Brain Morning

Working with a team from parks and rec, public health, community schools and some other good people, I helped host our annual Healthy Kids Preschool Fair. We took over a big community centre and organized checks of vision, speech, hearing, nutrition etc with health nurses, as well as exhibits by all kinds of organizations dedicated to helping kids and families grow up healthy. As one of the parks people, I was focussed on the fun stuff - crazy hat-making, fish pond, face painting and balloon twisting. I also coordinated the volunteers. We get students from the high school, people whose fitness classes have been cancelled for the day to make way for the fair and some wonderful seniors. We think about 300 people attended. It was a lot of fun. My favourite was helping the volunteer at the fishpond for a while. You should have seen the children's faces when they threw the "hook" into the pond, then there was a tug on the line and pop! a surprise! The whole morning felt like a great big birthday parties with lots of aunties and uncles hosting together - for a serious good cause.

Left Brain Afternoon

Then there was the afternoon. We've just switched the whole city over to a new automated office system for HR, finance etc. It's massive and we're all learning and adjusting to new ways of doing just about every administrative task. And now it's budget time. Everything is different, and everyone is anxious to get it right. On top of that, my co-workers are (one) off with a sick child and (two) off with a broken foot, so I volunteered to do three budgets. Well, I just closed my office door and crunched and crunched. I actually love numbers and figuring out new things, although I procrastinate and avoid it for a bit before I take the plunge. Having already worked on it all day Friday, I picked it back up and finished the darned thing. I still have to double-check my work, but I think it's done. It's like learning a new language, thought. I'm still not sure I haven't said something totally ridiculous without know it. Ah well.

I was glad to come home at the end of that day, enjoy a nice supper with my family and crash early. Both sides of my brain worked well for me. That's a good feeling.

question: which side of your head works most often at your work?

mompoet - cranium like a geranium

and now for valentine's day, a cat being licked by two cows

Here's the link from Cute Overload

question: have you ever been licked by a cow?

mompoet - Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 13, 2007



(in sign language) thanks dooce!

Monday, February 12, 2007

a little extra is following me around today

I'm home for a bit with a feverish girl. Soon I'll go into the office, leaving her in her dad's capable care when he comes home from work. But this day is a little different for a much more interesting reason. Things are defying laws of probability all around me in a mini-circus of the mundane.

It began this morning when I served our son his breakfast. I brought him a couple of aspirins, plunking them down on the table alongside a glass of orange juice I was carrying in the other hand. Both tablets sat balanced on the table, on their edges.

Just now I set the bread machine so everyone will have nice warm bread tonight while I'm out at a meeting. I plopped two scoops of margarine into the bread machine and they landed one on top the other on the edge of the mixing blade like a happy little tower of butter.

So far I have not levitated the dog or picked the car up with one finger, but I'm going to be on the lookout to find out what mysterious force is causing things to sit up on their edges. hmmmm

question: any strange phenomena in your day?

mompoet - going now to spin some platters on chopsticks while I unload the dishwasher

what not to get for valentine's day

I love Dooce, I do, I do.

On her featured links today there is a site for bad valentine gifts. Do not buy these.

On my list of less atrocious but still undesirable gifts:
-a silk rose
-a stuffed animal
-bad chocolate in a good wrapper
-guilt-induced or desperation-driven jewelry
-a book of inane platitudes
-a sappy figurine
-a satin pillow with a simpering slogan badly appliqued
-a valentine card featuring several excuses for lacklustre love behaviour during the previous year (you know the kind: "To my honey - I know I'm not handsome, and my kisses are dry, but you still love me...I just don't know why)

Give me a home-made card, a meal cooked together and eaten slowly, a modest quantity of good chocolate, not in a heart-shaped box. That's a nice valentine. Oh yeah, and wet kisses too. Handsome doesn't matter. Although I got handsome anyway. mmmm

question: what will you give/receive for Valentine's day?

mompoet - thinking about wolf urine

Sunday, February 11, 2007

midnight cowboy trailer

Here's a taste of it. I think this is an ad for the re-mastered video.

question: did you see it?

mompoet - marvelling at the expanding universe of YouTube morsels

good movie

Andy has a really bad cold. We cancelled supper out last night and stayed home to watch some movies. We saw Midnight Cowboy. I haven't watched that in years. What a good story about love and hope. The characters of Joe Buck and Rico Rizzo are totally endearing. I love Joe Buck's optimism and loving heart, especially in the bus ride, when his friend wets himself and Joe manages to get him laughing and feeling better. That's a good scene. Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman are still among my favourites. This movie is probably my favourite for both.

question: have you seen this lately?

mompoet - loving movies about interesting people

ps This is probably what made me think of salami - as in the party scene and Rizzo stealing salami, just in case you get the wrong idea when you read my dream post.


I am at church. Today the children and youth are leading the service. I'm one of the Sunday school teachers, so I'm helping prepare. We have invited a neighbouring congregation to visit and share our worship. Our church is bustling with visitors and our own children, rushing around to get ready for their readings, and a short dramatic presentation that they have prepared. There are props, costumes, music - lots of distraction and activity.

Entering the sanctuary, I notice that the pews have all been removed, and replaced with bleachers, arranged arena-style. The bleachers are almost full, mostly with people I don't know. This increases the tension, as I hope our kids won't be too nervous. A group of pre-teen boys is joking and laughing together in one part of the bleachers.

The service begins, with one of our boys speaking words of welcome. The visiting boys in the bleachers have grown noisier and more disruptive. They ignore our boy. Finally someone from their church signals to them to quiet down.

At this point I leave the service, remembering that I forgot to eat breakfast. I tiptoe downstairs to the hall, and help myself to the table of food already set up for coffee time after service. Someone brought salami, cut into big chunks. I stuff a couple in my pocket and one in my mouth. Then I remember, I have to do a reading, so I run back upstairs with this big piece of salami in my mouth. I try to chew and swallow it in time but I can't, so I slip behind the altar into the corridor that leads to the church offices and search for a place to hide my salami. I'm opening cupboards and drawers and looking for the right place to empty my pockets and put the spit out chunk of salami, but none of the hiding places are right. I'm banging doors in despair when the dream ends.

question: what did you dream about?

mompoet - finding pretty obvious sources for this one


We have one of those sign boards outside of our church. One day, upon driving by, I noticed that someone had changed the message to read, "A closed mouth gathers no foot." I thought about what this meant, and phoned the minister to disagree, and request that this message not be left up. It turns out a well-meaning volunteer had posted this as a tongue-in-cheek comment, not meaning to condone censorship, but it could be read that way, so it was taken down.

Re-reading yesterday's post, and having suffered a night of uncharacteristically disrupted sleep, I have decided to remove one foot from my mouth, but not to close it, and also to risk putting in the other in its place.

My own words about the movie Jesus Camp and the families who children are portrayed in the documentary have echoed in my mind. After my blurt of reaction, I began to think about how it would feel if my own criticsms were directed back at me. There are some that I have to retract or rephrase and some for which I'd like to apologize.

First of all, this: was hard to see God in the Christian parents and leaders in Jesus Camp.

I realise that by saying this, I am saying to them the same thing they are saying to others, that their way of seeing God is wrong. This is pretty bad logic and dicey morality, and I would like to change it to say that I disagree with the way these people see God, and believe it to be the opposite of my own understanding that Christians see Christ in everyone they meet.

Next this:

(referring to the children) I hope that some of them will change their minds. Maybe some of their parents will split up, and they'll have a 50% chance of embracing another perspective. (That's kind of an awful thing to hope, but I am hoping it.)

What a terrible thing for me to hope. I would be devastated if somebody wished that of my family just because they disagreed with how my husband and I are raising our kids. It is totally inappropriate for me to suggest such a thing about anyone. I sincerely retract and apologize for this statement.

My Dad pointed me to a review of the movie in the New York Times that suggests another way in which the children might change their beliefs,

The great unanswered question is what will happen to these poised, attractive children when their hormones kick in and they venture beyond their sheltered home and church environments.

Finally, if my comments were construed to indicate that my church is best and/or all Christian Evangelical churches are bad. I apologize for that too. The movie showed one church and gave convincing evidence that the extreme practices and beliefs of this church are growing and spreading. Still, I can't say that this means all evangelical churches do this or that all that they do is bad. I didn't mean to say that, but it could seem like I did, and I regret if it seemed that way.

I remain alarmed and offended by the idea that impressionable children are being taught in some churches the way that children in Jesus Camp are being taught. I disagree strongly and absolutely with a "our way or the highway to hell" understanding of God. I will do my best to express myself, and follow up when I realise I'm out of line. My mouth has room for a foot or two, and they'll surely find there way there again. Better that than to sit silently when I see something that I believe is wrong.

question: did you ever find yourself in this situation?

mompoet - learning to wield the power of free speech with grace and responsibility

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jesus Camp

I was at the video store, checking out some PlayStation game (Alex drove), Oliver (for the actor girl who'll play the role of Nancy in the school production) , Souvenirs of Canada, and Jesus Camp. The young clerk scans the boxes and says, "I've heard nothing but good about Jesus Camp. There are some pretty scary parts in there. You know." Of course, 16 year old Alex's ears perked at this. "Is it a horror movie, mom?" I laughed and told him no. Then I made the clerk uncomfortable for a minute by saying, "We're Christians you know - but not the kind in that movie. They're not the only kind." After that he didn't know what to say. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, but it seems like we should all be able to be what we are and tell how we feel about it, as long is it doesn't harm someone else or take away someone else's right to be and say who they are.

As United Church of Canada people, we are part of a spiritual community that is at the forefront of the church-based peace movement in Canada, and embraces and honours all faiths. We are sometimes jokingly called "The NDP at prayer," which labels as as non-radical but anti-establishment, left-leaning Christian people. We have blots on our history - residential schools and condemnation of homosexuality until the 1960s, but as far as mainstream churches go, we have come around to a different way of thinking, acting and believing about social issues and our place in a large and diverse world. Our church was among the first to ordain gay ministers, celebrate gay marriages, and apologize and work collaboratively with First Nations people to address our wrongs of the past. We recently stopped calling God "he" or "she" for the most part and just say "God" over and over (I never thought I'd yearn for a pronoun, but sometimes it feels awkward). My experience of my own church community (I'm a newcomer - just 5 years in) is that we all have a sense of humour about ourselves and our understanding of God, and we keep learning. We are committed to living our lives as part of the body of Christ, and seeing God in everyone we meet - whether we agree or disagree with that person. But it was hard to see God in the Christian parents and leaders in Jesus Camp.

We watched this documentary at home last night. It would have been funny if it wasn't so frightening and sad. It's about Evangelical Christians in the US, and their work with children - to build an army of committed ultra-conservative Christians to take over world leadership. Pastor Becky, the Children's Minister of a big congregation, and organizer of the evangelical children's camp, admits openly that she would like to see Christian children indoctrinated in evangelical beliefs so they can fight a war for what she knows is right and true. Watching the movie, we met lots of beautiful children who have been taught by their parents and church leaders that there is only one truth, and if you don't believe it and follow it, you will go to hell. We saw the isolation of these children from other influences. The movie says that 75% of all home-schooled kids in the US are evangelical Christians. We saw them learning the importance of influencing the selection of Supreme Court Justices and that the separation of church and state is evil.

I would like to see these kids a few years from now - maybe in a series like the "Up" documentaries of Paul Almond and Michael Apted. I hope that some of them will change their minds. Maybe some of their parents will split up, and they'll have a 50% chance of embracing another perspective. (That's kind of an awful thing to hope, but I am hoping it.) Most likely, most of them will grow up to do an even better, awfuler job of what their parents and leaders are succeeding at now, with their own children. But I sure hope not.

In the meantime, I'll keep thinking and talking about it with our kids, attending my shrinking church, adhering to a non-literal understanding of the Bible, and believing in God as a force of power and love for everyone. I don't think I'm a bad Christian when I say that I think that if there is one true path to goodness and salvation, it's wide, with room for all kinds of walking, talking, believing, worshiping and living. Not like Jesus Camp.

question: have you seen this yet?

mompoet - pondering

Friday, February 09, 2007

CBC and me

I have been asked to participate once again in the CBC Poetry Face Off. This year's theme is "Made in Canada." They're bringing back previous years' participants, so this year I'll be sharing the stage with some very strong writers and performers. I reckon it's like skating with the Canucks (on a good night). In a way it is freeing. I can write just what I want and perform it just as I like. If I win it will be totally astonishing. More likely I will enjoy the honour of being selected for the same category as Barbara Adler, Fernando Raguero, C.R. Avery and Brendan McLeod.

By the way, I sent two photos for the Face Off website. They chose to go with the one they used last year (laughing mompoet wearing white). I wonder why they didn't pick this more recent picture? (hi Valerie! Are you still there?)

I'm taking a different approach preparing this year's poem and I hope it will turn out to be something good. I haven't been writing a lot lately so I'm either going to burst out with something excellent or it will be like coughing up a furball. Hopefully the former.

The live event will be Monday March 5 at Cafe Deux Soleils at 8pm (arrive before 7 for a good seat and some of the cafe's yummy vegetarian food), before the regular slam. They'll play the poems on the radio some time later. When all of the cities are finished with their competitions, the city champs will be on the web for online cross-Canada voting. I'm looking forward to it in a polite, ambiguous, nervous, self-effacing, made-in-Canada kind of way.

question: have you got your stuff in any contests right now?

mompoet - I hope you win.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I didn't think I would do this well...

You know the Bible 75%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Thank you to Carol for steering me to this quiz.

question: how well do you know the Bible?

mompoet - wondering how well I could know it, and agreeing with Carol that it's the actions that really count, more so than the knowledge

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

ping pong brain

I am half here, half there, ping-ponging from right now, back to the day before yesterday, ahead to next week. I am fuddle-brained and awkward, tired, confused, elated and absent-minded. I put the cheese away in the cupboard instead of the fridge, walked into a counter with my eyes closed in the changeroom at the gym (don't ask my why I was walking around the changeroom with my eyes closed, I'm not sure myself, but it had something to do with having too much hair gel on my fingers), and failed at the simple task of mailing a contract to CBC radio (one empty envelope followed by one unsigned contract - the signed copy neatly filed in my important papers drawer at home). I am prone to writing run-on sentences that make only marginal sense.

I reassure myself that this is the natural outcome of an intense week of maximal brain-usage, emotional buildup and general excitement. This is the wasabi omelette of life that I seek with such determination. If I wanted to be calm and collected, I would conduct myself much differently. Still, I alarm myself with my dunder-headed aftershocking.

I will breathe in, breathe out. Reflect in solitude and in communication with others who shared the experience. I will know what it is to be human and have done something remarkable with other human beings. New things will happen and this will become part of my history, a shiny red and black growth ring with the imprint of a beaver tail.

tra la la

oh crap, where did I put the cat?

question: put that in the wrong place too

mompoet - discombobulated but okay with it

Monday, February 05, 2007

two voices

Seventy-two poets competed at iWPS last week. Even more performed at the open mics and showcases. I soaked up so many ideas, voices and performance styles I can barely believe, let alone explain it.

Of course I have favourites, and being impulsive I chose them on the first night of preliminaries, then maintained that opinion through the rest of the festival. My favourites weren't in the finals, which probably increased my preference for them. They are fresh and different, and I hope to hear more of their work soon.

Brian Ellis is the iWPS rep from Cambridge Massachusetts. I heard him performing in both nights of preliminary competition. I can remember two of his poems very clearly, Cab 95 and I Wake Up. The first is about a part-time job as a taxi driver. The second is a surreal time-life-travel piece about waking up in various experiences. I have scoured the web for something of his in a sound file or even text, but it doesn't seem to be there. It's too bad, because I can't convey in this post the exquisite beauty of his work. It's haunting and jarring in turns. I can't get this phrase out of my mind: "Ninety-five, are you THERE?"

Evy Gildrie-Voyles is from Madison Wisconsin. I heard her also on both prelim nights, and at the Women's Showcase and Anything Goes Slam. At the Anything Goes, she performed a prop poem about her first kiss. Through the poem she holds a rose. Describing the kiss she eats the petals. The ending is spectacular. The other poems I remember her telling are about putting on makeup and about preferring a lover of substantial girth. Her poetry is funny and intelligent and honest and real. It doesn't seem to be on the web anywhere either.

The other poet who is an old favourite, but sticks out in my mind from this festival is Jack McCarthy from Everett Washington. He's been one of my favourites forever. He's all over the web if you look for him, and lucky for us, he comes to Vancouver quite often. Jack was not an iWPS competitor. He hosted the 21st Century Campfire - a story and song showcase, and competed in the haiku slam.

I hope Brian Ellis and Evy Gildrie-Voyles come back soon. In the sea of poets that was last week, these two stood out for me. It would be unfair to say that there is a formula for winning slam poetry, but there are patterns, and their poems did not conform. They did not rant, shout, shake fists, rail against mainstream politics or religion, brag/complain about sex, or tell their stories of abuse. This also isn't to say that these topics aren't worthy, or that they're used up. But they are well and often-used enough that I have mental categories for them.

Brian and Evie's poems at iWPS were different. Their poems were personal and authentic. They connected with experiences that I understood, but told them from a slightly different angle. Their expression was beautiful and provocative. They stand out. I remember and appreciate them.

As for Jack McCarthy. I like him for all of the same reasons, and especially for his wonderful haikus that gave him winning place in the haiku slam. And for coming to Vancouver and just being Jack.

question: did you have favourites?

mompoet - two scoops with a cherry on top

Sunday, February 04, 2007

today on YouTube - When Cats Attack

Linked today on Cute Overload. When Cats Attack.

question: k-k-k-kitty?

mompoet - I like cats.

we're done

I am now home from iWPS. I didn't travel as far to get there as most of the people who came, but it has been a journey. After two years of thinking, planning, hoping, arguing, laughing and thanking God and my lucky stars more than once, we did it.

Finals Night was unbelievable. I kept wondering if it was really happening. I kept worrying that I would feel terribly sad when it was over. Then there I was, witnessing a world class poetry competition in the Rio Theatre, where we go to watch movies, in a neighbourhood not far from my home, with my friends around me, all breathing out and saying, "yes! we did it!"

Getting the audience into the sold out theatre was the only stressful part of the evening from what I could tell. Sean McGarragle, our venue coordinator for the evening, marshalled the jigsaw puzzle filling of every seat in the house, while 150 hopefuls stood outside, chilling in the rush ticket line, hoping to grab a seat left vacant by a no-show. A stream of poets went outside to entertain the people who were waiting and hoping to get in. Somebody said, "They never do that at rock concerts, do they?" Staff at the Rio helped us find and fill every nook and cranny so at least some of the people in the lineup had their wishes granted. Even with all that, the show began almost on time.

The competition was incredible. All of the sounds and thoughts from the performance are tumbled together in my head and echoing in my ears, waiting to be untangled. Luckily I wrote down a thought or a few words about each poem I heard so I can remember. I can only think that the judges had an impossible task, discerning who was the best. Judging is hard.

The show was tight and not long, with negligible breaks. Our lovely, lovely volunteers scooted out to the lobby whenever a handful of audience needed snacks or beer or wanted to buy books or cds at the merch table, then scooted back in to enjoy the show. At the end, the tournament organizers invited the host city people (that's us) up on stage for recognition. All through the days of this festival, thanks and praise from poets, officials and audience members has been lavished on us. It feels good to know that we made the right choices and worked hard on the right things to make sure people felt welcome, and the tournament ran smoothly. They clapped and cheered for us on stage. We gave our Artistic Direct, Angus Adair, a special gift - a festival jacket for him to remember his triumph. Then they announced the winners. Ed Mabrey from Columbus Ohio took first place. All of the poets came up on stage and there we were, at the end.

After the show, people stayed for about an hour, visiting in the lobby and on the sidewalk, and participating in the open mic, hosted by RC Weslowski, who put up with the laundry basket loads of heckling we've been saving up all week (we have been pretening to be nice while the Americans visited). Then we headed off to a house party which probably went on all night, although I stayed for just an hour.

I mentioned that I started the evening worried that I would feel terribly sad when it was over. I was surprised to find that I am not sad. At the end of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (the festival that we organized a year and a half ago) I felt like the day after Christmas. I sat in the dark at finals night, crying my eyes out. Last night I just felt happy and proud and relieved that it all went off without any major hitches. Today I am home, and glad to be here. I am filled up with poetry and friendship and the satisfaction of a job well done. I think there are a couple of reasons for this different reaction. I guess that iWPS is our second "baby" of a festival, and so easier to enjoy without fear, and also less mind-blowing because I knew what to expect. It's a mellower feeling, more philosophical and less raw, to contemplate what this one means. More importantly, this was really someone else's show. Poetry Slam Incorporated brought the competition here, and we, as host city staff, built a festival around it. Our role as organizers was different. Ownership, if you can call it that, was more at arm's length. The poets and other people were lovely, but fewer were people who I know well and care about deeply. I am less sad to see them all disperse. Finally, I know that Van Po House is a thing of beauty and value that will go on. At the end of CFSW I felt less so that way, even though we already knew we were committed to iWPS less than two years from that time. This second time around has shown us that we can do anything. I'm looking forward to finding out what's next.

Thinking about this helps me know that the important thing about all of this for me is the people who I have worked with to make it happen. Angus, Sean, Randy, Jim, and Steve and all of the other Poetry House friends who contributed to this project are the real poetry in this story. Unlike the poem fragments that are tangled up in my head from one big night, these people are solidly installed in my heart. I am grateful to work with them and be one of them. Thinking about that is the only thing that will make me cry. And it's happy crying.

Question: you make up the question

mompoet - home

Saturday, February 03, 2007



a lot

More poetry all the time, all day, all night

Holy smokes I think I'm going to burst. Friday was another day of poem after poem after poem after poem after poem. But first I caught up on some sleep, grabbing a couple of extra hours down time after Fi left for school.

We began with the Women's Showcase. The little Cafe Exotico de Brasil was completely all-the-way full. I co-hosted with Karen Garrabran, poet and slam organizer from Decatur, Georgia. We were scheduled from 2-3pm but ended up going for 90 minutes of poems because we let everyone read who wanted to read (including Karen and me - it felt good to perform a poem at the festival). It was like magic - the talent and intensity of the performers and their work glued us all together into one roomful of laughing, cheering and crying poets and friends. I will always remember it.

I caught part of the Anything Goes Slam next. I missed the first poet, who took off all of his clothes and performed naked in the glass front window of the coffee shop. I did catch some good group and prop pieces (not allowed in the official tournaments, but often more creative and entertaining).

In the evening I was back at Rime Restaurant where I worked as venue coordinator during the competition. This warm, wonderful place was a perfect venue with obliging staff and a great setup for performance. I will return for more of the delectable Turkish food that they serve there. Night two of Preliminary competition was good. The poets performed their 2 and 3 minute poems (the each perform a 1, 2, 3, and 4 minute poem during the course of the competition). After the competition, we had a late night show, the 21st Century Campfire (stories and music). I stayed for part of it, and pretty much laughed my head off at some of the stories which I cannot repeat in this blog, partly because it is a G-rated blog, and partly because I could never do them justice. I stumbled in the door at home after 2:30am.

Now I'm getting ready to pick up trophies for the winners. Finals is tonight at the Rio Theatre. I'm going to help set up, then come home and sleep for a couple of hours. It's going to be an almost all-nighter tonight. The top 12 poets will compete for the title, then there's a party that begins around midnight.

I'll be sad when this is over, but totally satisfied with how well it went. I have fulfilled my plan to meet people, enjoy new experiences and have fun - more so than I even imagined.

question: what just happened?

mompoet - stunned and smiling

Friday, February 02, 2007

top of my head blown off

Just a list today of new things that have wrenched my heart with shocks of joy and recognition, popped open the top of my skull and sent my brain cartwheeling into the sky:

  • iWPS registration
  • the bout draw - hooray for all the poets, and now 3 from Vancouver in the show
  • haiku slam (one hand clapping, two hands clapping, no hand clapping)
  • Joaquin Zihuatanejo of Dallas Texas as a super-villain of the barrio
  • Brian Ellis of Cambridge Massachusetts - #95 are you there yet?
  • Evy Gildri-Voyles of Madison Wisconsin boiling the noodles and draining the noodles
  • bamya at Rime Restaurant (mmmm okra)
  • Ansel Appleton of Montague City Massachusetts about love
  • Benjamin IQ Sander of Memphis Tennessee performing without his shades
  • the amazing clockwork of an official bout, like ballet - more work that is apparent to the audience, makes flying look easy (my new heroes - PSi mcs and bout managers)
  • volunteers - oh how I love volunteers - loving to work and working with intelligence and zest
  • my pillow, calling to me sweetly with a song more seductive than any Erotica Reading
I made it home by 1:45am. I felt exhausted, emptied and refilled. More today.

question: have you seen my brain

mompoet - levitating

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Nelson is going to Ireland Today

I was sitting in my pajamas blogging about iWPS, when the phone rang. Kirsi is leaving this morning for a two-week visit with her friend Della in Ireland. She wanted me to bring Nelson over to her house so he can go with her to Ireland.

I ran over there in my pajamas and slippers, and managed to snap a photograph of Nelson just about to go into Kirsi's suitcase. Doesn't he look happy? The shot is a little blurry because I had to get the camera out of my frozen car, and the lens kept fogging up.

I think Kirsi will have a wonderful time in Ireland. Nelson is a lucky, lucky rat. Thank you Kirsi. Bon voyage Nelson.

The first day of the Individual World Poetry Slam

Wednesday was a whirlwind day, with unexpected twists and a good ending.

I started out at the gym. Working out always sets me up with more energy and better focus for the rest of the day. I hope I'll have the energy to go again on Friday morning, but maybe I'll need the sleep more than the rev-up. We'll see.

During the day I mostly ran errands. I ordered tournament trophies at the trophy store, did a bit more copying and laminating, went to Costco and got water for the tournament officials, then met our production coordinator at the music store to pay for the rental of sound equipment. While I was at Costco, my cell phone rang. It was a Canada Immigration official who had stopped one of our festival volunteers at the border. I had to fax a work schedule and job descriptions, plus a letter we have citing a section of the immigration policy manual in order to help the official determine that the volunteer did not require a work permit in order to help out for 3 days at our festival. I'm grateful for my cell phone and for fax machines. Without them, this volunteer would probably have been sent home. Getting poets and volunteers across the border has been one of our biggest concerns. The majority of competing poets and all of the tournament organizers come from the U.S. Good preparation and communication have been part of our plan. So far it's working relatively well.

By 4pm I was at the festival hotel to meet with volunteers and help with registration. My friends and fellow host city committee people, Sean and Angus were there, along with a mix of Vancouver and out-of-town volunteers. I finally got to meet the volunteers and Poetry Slam Incorporated people with whom I have been corresponding by email for the past few months. It was great to put faces to names and start to work together. Early registration went well. Poets are cool people. Volunteers are my heroes. I felt a lot of excitement, and everyone was happy with our host city committee's level of preparation and welcoming hospitality.

After a short volunteer meeting we headed over to the restaurant where the Aboriginal and Last Chance Slams were going. The volunteers and I were late because of our meeting, and the restaurant was already packed, with a sign on the door that said "FULL." For a few minutes it looked like we wouldn't get in, which would have been mighty disappointing, but we squeezed in, and in short order, all of the volunteers found seats. People kept arriving at the door, so I spent most of the night asking people to wait outside, and letting in a few at a time. At first I was really disappointed. I was looking forward to seeing the show, and here I was now, after a day of running around and serving people, stuck out in the foyer, being the gracious enforcer. I could hear just snippets of the poems, and lots of laughter and applause... Then I decided to make the best of it. I ordered supper, which the delightful restaurant staff served at the bar with warmth and good humour, and I chatted with the other people stuck in the waiting area. The restaurant servers got into the spirit, and put on a bit of a show for the customers, chatting and joking. The tension began to ease.

There was this vestibule off in the corner where I had to get people to stay put until we could move them into the restaurant, but at least they were warm. I got my schtick going about this little antechamber being the uterus of the restaurant. The people who reached this spot were now warm and protected, not into the show yet, but in gestation. In the fullness of time, they would be birthed into the room where the poets were performing. People were good-natured about the waiting when we started to have fun with it. By the end of the evening the room had given birth to everyone and even the latest-arrivers could get close enough to at least hear the last few performances.

All the while, the restaurant managers and servers were good sports. The place is called La Rocca, on Commercial Drive. The food and wine were very yummy. The people are super-friendly, and got right into the poetry, listening as they were taking care of the customers, and surviving an obstacle course of people parked on the floor and leaning up against the wall beside tables. We gave them all free tickets to the Van Slam at the end of the evening. They helped make a hectic-starting event stay friendly and fun.

Today there's more registration, the bout draw and another volunteer meeting, the Haiku and Mother Tongue Slams (day events) and the start of the official tournament with Preliminary Bouts, followed by the Erotica Reading late at night. In the evening I'm coordinating at one venue, where I'll be posted early on so I hope I'll get to see most of the show. Even if I don't, last night showed me that the show outside the show is almost as good. I would not have missed it for the world.

question - did you every make lemonade?

mompoet - I like mine with lots of lemon