Saturday, June 30, 2007
So now we want to move to France. And believe it or not, maybe even Cuba. But that's just Michael Moore talking. If you aren't driven round the bend by manipulation and hyperbole you will enjoy this movie muchly.
question: how best to win hearts and minds to good causes?
mompoet - respecting anyone who takes any way in that does no harm and shines some light
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hotel heiress Paris Hilton left jail on Tuesday in red-carpet Hollywood style, waving and smiling to scores of paparazzi, after serving three weeks for violating probation in a drunken-driving case.
With su Aen Jel ley su (with will drive and to sprout) alcoholic beverage withdrawal from inside the case round afterwords the rice Oh the r Oh in zz different meaning score, to wave the Hollywood which smiles a violation probation inside red Yoong grade style Tuesday - hotel succession nye the Paris Hilton prison hazard 3 weeks it left.
I'm still not sure which make more sense.
question: which do you like better?
mompoet - leaning toward the babble
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
My friend Bob phoned me at my office today. "Look at your emai!" he said. I looked. There were photos he took at a secret, teeny tiny White Stripes concert that happened Sunday afternoon. Bob manages the Creekside Youth Centre in Burnaby. On Friday he got a call. A band manager was looking for a place for his band to play a small show for youth before an evening performance. Bob said sure, who's the band? He couldn't quite believe the answer, but the manager showed up Saturday to check out the venue (a portable building set up at one end of an elementary school parking lot). He told Bob he could invite about 25 kids. Bob said that was a hard thing to do. At 2pm Sunday, there they all were, waiting. Bob still couldn't believe it would really happen.
"Then the van pulled up in the parking lot," he said, and when they took out Meg's drum kit I knew it was real." Did I mention Bob is a huge fan? Moments later Meg and Jack jumped out of another van, ran into the centre and did a show there for Bob and the kids. Later that night they performed at the Shadbolt Centre outdoor festival space in Burnaby. But they really opened their North American tour at Creekside.
I got goosebumps just thinking about it. I think this is some kind of delicious wonderful.
question: can you think of anything quite as nice?
mompoet - I didn't even have to be there to feel giddy about this
Work has been incredibly hectic, preparing for summer camp to open next week, and taking time off for awards ceremony, school leaving etc last week. I'm going to go into the gym this morning before work and start a little late, just to catch my breath. Tonight I'll go to the Main Street Slam.
Next week, everything begins. Alex should have his first days of actually working over the Canada Day weekend and beyond, then he'll go for his driver's test. Fiona starts a one-month musical theatre intensive in Vancouver. Camp opens for me then I have to write budget for 2008. Luckily Andy has the first week of July off work so he can help us get into gear.
For now, this quiet is nice.
question: isn't the pause between events delicious?
mompoet - shhhhh don't wake the dog
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
As unstoppable as this June rain, so are the neighbours on our street. We had gathered for a drink and a chat outside Cathy's carport when it began to rain. Luckily Kirsi's kids play soccer so she had lots of big umbrellas. Party on neighbours!
question: did you ever have fun in the rain?
mompoet - if we want to have fun, we have to include the rain sometimes
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I read in the Vancouver Sun today that its congregation is disbanding. Fortunately it will continue as a mission. This is a good article about the church and what happens inside.
question: do you know why the roof is shaped like a w?
mompoet - hint: it has something to do with a benefactor
I attended the "College Park Fun-tastic Farewell Party" Friday. The school community hosted a picnic for families and friends of the school. I saw lots of people I have not seen for a long time - people who have moved or retired, children who were just promises when I last saw their moms, and old principal, and even some old teachers who were so old they had retired before we even began at the school. There was a barbeque and lots of fun things for the kids to do. I'll post some photos when the camera comes home (it's at a rehearsal, I think). Everyone was sad and nostalgic. I visited classrooms where our children first came to kindergarten, and where they finished in grade 5. The Library (my favourite place in the school) was locked up. Too sad to look at it empty of books, furniture and decorations I think. A band was playing, and a balloon release was being prepared. Kids and dogs and grandparents wandered around in little clusters, hugging and helloing. I felt happy to see them and sad to know this was the last time we'd see each other in this place. Most of the current teachers are going to one or the other of two neighbouring schools, so will stay with the College Park children when they move. But, in the words of one teacher, "It won't be my school, not for a long time." On the wall outside the gym, we were invited to write down our happiest memory of College Park. Mine was the Halloween parade. Every year, children and teachers would dress up and make a parade, starting with kindergarten and progressing up to grade 5. They'd walk through every classroom of the school then outside and around the field. We'd all take pictures and marvel at their costumes. I don't think any school anywhere had a Halloween Parade as good as College Park's.
This photo is from the huge display prepared for the event. I'm the kangaroo, telling a story to Alex's grade three class. He's a devil, in case you're wondering.
They gave away all of the photos at the end of the event because there is nowhere and nobody to keep them.
question: why is it so sad to say good-bye?
mompoet - missing a very special place in the life of our community
Thursday, June 21, 2007
On this longest day it will be grey and damp again, but summer will be happening nevertheless.
In our family we will mark several rites of passage:
Alex will prepare for his last exam of grade 11, which he will write tomorrow. He plans to go straight from school to the roller coaster at Playland. This has been a hard-working year for him. Most notable he has made it through "Math Principles 11" with the help of the Wonderful Ms. Thorstensen, his math tutor, who he has met with twice every week since January. We are grateful for her help and for Alex's persistence in making it through the hard learning that is required. Next year his courses will be a fair bit easier, with more room for the film electives that are his passion. He plans to go to a film program at college after graduation.
Alex is also in the final stages of preparing for his driver's license road test, just 3 weeks away, and getting ready to actually go to work at his first job, once the sun shines and business picks up at the fish and chips shop at the park.
Andy and I will prepare to say goodbye to our neighbourhood school this Friday. Open since 1975, and the place where our kids learned and grew from Kindergarten to Grade 5, it will be permanently closed at the end of the month, due to declining enrolment in the district. There's a big celebration on Friday evening, open to the whole community. I couldn't stand to go there for the last day of school next week, but I'm hoping this will be a time to give a last look down those hallways where our kids grew up, and thank some of the people one more time for the difference they made in our lives. There will also be a barbeque, a climbing wall, pony rides and a bouncy castle.
And for Fiona, it's a huge weekend. Today is her last awards ceremony at Middle School. She's singing O Canada. Then this evening she'll have her school-leaving ceremony and a dance. We'll be at the school for both. She's had a wonderful time at the middle school and is looking forward to Grade 9 in the Fall.
Then Saturday it's recital time. We'll see the kids from Lindbjerg Academy demonstrate all they've learned in their singing and dancing lessons. Grandma and Grandpa are coming to that one.
At the end of all that, even if it's still darkish outside, we'll know for sure that it's summer in our hearts. Part happy, part sad. We'll move through this doorway away from things that we love and have depended on. On the other side: new adventures.
question: it's not a coincidence, is it?
mompoet - I do not believe in coincidence
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Last night I got by on five hours but I was exuberated before I slept and exuberated again remembering what a fun night.
Chrystalene, one of our best poets and organizer of WordPlay poetry workshops for students, hosted an "instant poetry" session before the slam. There were 4 of us writing. We began with a free-write and selecting then progressed to writing our own pieces that had to include a phrase and a word:
be prepared to stop
We committed to performing our pieces that same evening in the slam, which was fun to do, but also very frightening. I'm used to totally memorizing each piece, and being really ready to live inside it while I perform. Now I had something written on the pages of my notebook that I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to see up on stage. I do dislike taking my glasses off in front of people still. Luckily, all of our instant poems went over very well. Chrystalene explained to the audience what we'd done, so there was a bit of extra appreciation and encouragement. I did a pretty sentimental and personal piece about talking to a teenager about love and sex. I was afraid it would be too gooey or Hallmark cardy. Like those "I have the sweetest most amazing child in the world" poems, which are lovely personally but not so good for performance. But the audience responded enthusiastically and I made it to the second round. Also created on the theme were a call and response poem by Sean, thanking everyone who helped him weather a traumatic break-up; a jilted love poem by Chrystalene which, she said, was not all true; and a hilarious story about a pre-teen boy-girl party game, by Lisa.
I hope I'll get to do that again some time. I won't be quite so scared, which will be too bad. The first time of doing something new and challenging is always the best. It will be fun to see others try it.
Mike McGee featured. His "Midnight" poem knocked our socks off. Mike has a heart as big as the world and he puts it authentically into his work, and he's funny and intelligent and one of the most engaging performers I have ever seen. He's been best in the world more than once. Lucky us he calls Vancouver his second home. Now I am listening to all 115 tracks on his "compilation of every CD I ever recorded" a generous-beyond-imagining thing of beauty.
Irene came to the slam too, and almost left before Mike arrived (that's who she really wanted to see) then almost left again before the show started. But then the show started and she was still there and she performed "Chick-a-boom" and brought the house down and she was mighty happy indeed.
A good night, so very good. I am lucky. and tired.
Pillow pillow I love you. Here I come.
question: what is worth staying up for in your world?
mompoet - glad that the slam is one of mine
Sunday, June 17, 2007
sixty hours logged with an L on the back
road test date set
my son drives me everywhere these days
today is a marathon of car maintenance
tire change, fill-up, oil change, car wash
passing our time with what may be the final episode
of hanging out together
he is seventeen, after all
he’s a good driver
I relax and listen
he talks about hockey draft picks
alternate energy sources and hybrid cars
by the time we get to Speedi-Lube
he’s run out of topics
so we read the National Post
and drink “fresh spring water” from styro cups
in a submarine-shaped waiting room
that’s where he finds the article about the Creation Museum
it’s a natural history museum
built on the premise that the Bible is the true literal history of life on earth
God made the world and all its creatures in one week
so dinosaurs roamed the earth with Adam and Eve and all of their descendants
my son begins to argue science words
oil change guy interrupts him to ask me if I want Quaker State for $10 more
then goes back out to the shop
to pour dead dinosaurs into my car engine
I say to my son
“didn’t you hear? Noah took a stegasaurus on the arc
two stegasauri actually
and pterodactyls too
it wasn’t a dove that flew back with the olive branch
it was a pterodactyl”
“oh,” he says, “and Jacob and his sons worked at the quarry
they used brontosauri to pick up big rocks
at the end of the day, they slid down their brontosaurus necks
yelling, ‘Yabba Dabba Doo!’
oh! that was FRED FLINTSTONE!”
“I heard that as a boy, Jesus had a pet dinosaur
the dinosaur cured lepers and walked on water
haven’t you seen the pictures?”
“Mom, that was a shark
everyone knows Jesus had a pet shark
not a dinosaur”
we laugh at what some people think
we like to think it’s okay to believe what you choose to believe
as long as it doesn’t hurt others
or threaten our right to believe something else
oil change man presents me with my dipstick
I pay forty bucks and we head home
where I look up the Creation Museum on the internet
they have an online gift shop at the Creation Museum
you can buy a “Truth” fish auto emblem to
“combat the corruption of the Christian fish seen on so many cars today”
and an “After Eden T-shirt” to “Bring the Darwin Fish to his knees”
now it’s starting to sound like a threat
I also learn that a Canadian Creation Museum opened recently
near Drumheller Alberta
perhaps to bring those scientist unbelievers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum
to their knees
I am flooded with protectiveness
for my son
who is curious and playful with ideas about the world and God
whose imagination and intellect
allow him to reconcile science and faith without resorting
to a Flintstone version of Eden
and while I’d like to think he’s immunized against dogma
I know it’s a shark
that bites without warning, and I need to know he’s safe
so that evening, after supper
we walk the dog and talk some more
I’m pleased to know that at 17
he gets the idea of the Word of God
rather than practical instructions for everyday living
if God is not a man in a white robe in the sky who smites people and parts seas
maybe God is someone or something different for each of us
an organizing principle
the “collective unconscious”
like the red letter L on the back of the car, maybe God is Love
the feeling that grips your heart when you are overwhelmed by the power of nature
or the reassurance of discussing divinity with a seventeen year old
who will soon be ready for more than a new driver permit
walking, and talking and thinking
I think that maybe
faith is a state of wanting to be more sure
the less sure we feel
the more desperate and imposing we are in our insistence
that others believe the same
I have to have faith
that seventeen year olds
will think about these things
and no matter what they see
or what they’re told
they’ll know that the truth is in them to find
on a journey as long and complicated as the DNA record of our hearts
the history of how we know what we believe
and that every one of us
has the L for learner our whole life long
and also the L for Love
question: do you think the meaning of life can be conveyed in a museum?
question: do you think the meaning of life can be conveyed in a museum?
mompoet - learner
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I went to the Maple Ridge Poetry Slam last night. It's held at the Ridge Roasting Company Cafe, the third Friday of each month. Devon and Maris Goodman organize it. It's a youthful, exuberant, lovely fresh slam - a treat to be part of. I was the "feature poet" offering a 20 minute set of my own poems in between the first and second rounds of the slam. Here are some photos.
question: do you know what they shout at the host of the Maple Ridge Slam when she announces a time penalty?
mompoet - it was hard to make out, but I think it was something about a horse pooping on your head
Friday, June 15, 2007
Some of the ones that struck me especially were this and this and this.
I actually cried when I saw some of them. Either I'm tired or I need to get out more, or maybe that's just good that looking at art can make me cry - not because of sadness but because of beauty and history.
I'll be back there, with more of an idea of what I want to see, now that I know what's there, and with some kleenex in my pocket, I guess.
question: have you been struck by beauty?
mompoet - beauty coming at me from all directions
Thursday, June 14, 2007
My friend Mary Anne told me about her friend Chongo 9. Chongo 9 is a lot like my friend Nelson, only Chongo 9 is a girl, and she's an orangutan. She lives with Mary Anne and her husband. She has a helicopter which she flies to Abbotsford where she sits out in the field and collects gas. in a jar. This is an important service. She uses the gas to power her helicopter. There is a lot of gas in Abbotsford because in Abbotsford there are a lot of cows. Chongo 9 also likes pig gas and goat gas, but she likes cow gas the best.
Chongo 9 wants to meet Nelson soon. Nelson has a moderate amount of gas of his own that Chongo 9 might put in a smallish jar. After I ate my banana, Chongo 9 flew my banana guard around the room. She says Tallulah is really a helicopter.
question: what do you think?
mompoet - fly Chongo! fly!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
question: who would dare travel on a plane full of Viagra-charged hamsters?
mompoet - I have to discuss this with my rodent friend
When I left people were still arriving. I didn't know what else to do. I drove most of the way home, then filled my gas tank and vacuumed my car. Sometimes there's nothing you can do.
question: how do you make sense of randomness?
mompoet - not always knowing the purpose of what is
Sunday, June 10, 2007
While two actor girls shopped for what they needed for their dance routines at the upcoming recital (you gotta love a dance teacher who tells her kids to buy their costumes at Valoo Village), Nelli and I did the two moms having fun at Value Village Game.
The game consists of walking around randomly looking at things and trying to find the funniest/weirdest/most mysterious item in the store. I so yearned for my camera as we tried on bizarre coats, ogled baaaaaad shoes and puzzled over small household appliances. There was the haunting mystery of the crepe machine that was still warm to the touch, and the Pee Wee Herman improv fun of "answering" the teeny tiny telephone that was actually a clock then say, "OH! It's for you!" Still, it was the clothes that got me. I am sincerely grateful that I visited the bathroom before entering the store and seeing the perky pink, green and blue striped "gown" that Nelli found for me. The matching green baby gorilla fake fur vests came in a close second. If I had one tiny bit less impulse control, I'd buy all of these awful things because you have to love their awfulness. Then I'd have a closet full of things that I could put on and jump out at people and say, "HI! Do you like this coat? See, it has every single colour in the world. It goes with EVERYTHING!" Probably good I don't.
An hour later the girls had what they needed. The moms got what they needed too. That was fun.
question: do you play when you shop?
mompoet - IT'S FOR YOU!
Friday, June 08, 2007
was pursued by bandits in a suburban grocery store parking lot. I took shelter in an empty but open dry cleaning store, locking myself inside. Outside the bad guys banged on the door while I hid among the clean shirts and pants and jackets hanging on the conveyor.
rescued about 10 lovebirds from a bird-napper. The birds were all in one big cage. I knew they needed to be taken to safety, so I opened the cage door and they climbed out onto my hand and arms. They perched on my shoulders, all nuzzled up like lovebirds do. Their feet were warm.
tried to rescue two little girls (daughters of a friend in a dream) from another friend who had no children of her own, and so took these ones. I went to her house for coffee and was standing by, waiting for the police to arrive (I had called them). I was feeling awful that I had to betray my kidnapper friend, but the little girls were scared and needed to go home.
had my car stolen when I parked it on the side of the road to help someone
That's enough for one night (or several).
question: what do dreams tell us?
mompoet - more tired this morning than when I went to sleep
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Nelson came home Sunday from a Saturday night sleepover at Auntie Myrna's. He brought my leftover pear cider (you shouldn't have!) and Tallulah (welcome home, both of you!) and a note that read:
There's something I've been meaning to tell you...
And here's how Nelson looked after his night at Auntie Myrna's.
question: d'ya think?
mompoet - Thank you Myrna, for providing a safe place for Nelson to be his true self. Thanks also for encouraging him to tell us.
ps - Can I borrow that claw polish sometime?
pps - Now I'm wondering about Tallulah? Is she really...
When Nelson gave us his message and demonstrated a new good feeling of self-acceptance and discovery I thought, "All right, I like it when things happen together like this."
question: were you ever reading about something and it happened?
ps - Auntie Myrna did not know about the book. But maybe Nelson did.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Some of the shoes we looked at were unacceptable because they were "Gr-emo." Others were "just Grandma."
I'm learning so much these days.
question: are you more "gr" or more "emo?"
mompoet - gruberiliac grognacious
On Saturday night Nelson and Tallulah came with me to Myrna's place. It was Myrna's last weekend before beginning her new job, so all of the ladeez came to celebrate. We often invite Nelson (the plastic rat), and he insisted that Tallulah (the banana guard) join us.
What a perfect night. Nelson got into the party mood and showed Tallulah the joys of swinging in the chandelier.
Then we went out to the deck where we activated a glowstick and lit Tallulah up in the darkness. She is a thing of beauty with a yellow glowstick inside.
Myrna is such a splendid host, she made us all feel so welcome and comfortable. When I left at midnight, Nelson and Tallulah had decided to stay over. They were back in the chandelier when I said goodbye. And it must have turned out to be quite a night.
Tomorrow I will tell you what I know of Nelson's night with Tallulah at Auntie Myrna's house. For now, you must wait.
question: what do you suppose happened?
mompoet - I have a story to tell...
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The slam opened with a DJ Neil Cassidy reading the first lines of T-Paul's signature poem, "Invocation." In twos and threes, a stageful of friends stepped up to read the lines. The audience shouted the response we always shout, to the question that T-Paul asked so many times: "What do we need?" "PASSION!" The packed house reverberated with the familiar sound of this poem, settling uncomfortably in the unfamiliar setting of a place where you know someone is gone.
As the night went by, almost every performer wove a ribbon of tribute into his or her work. It was beautiful, and fitting, and sad. I hope it gave us courage because it think that's what we need most of the time, but especially at times like this.
I had to leave early but I'm glad I was there. I think Spelt was right. I think T-Paul was there too.
question: what do you do with this feeling?
mompoet - observing, reporting and sharing
Monday, June 04, 2007
question: what's your favourite weather to watch?
mompoet - imagining a party in the sky
Sunday, June 03, 2007
question: why do some leave us when they are still so young?
mompoet - wondering
Saturday, June 02, 2007
The boys want to go straight from the airport to Capitol Hill Szechuan restaurant. That would be fun. Alex wants to drive as many of them as possible home from the airport in my car with his new license. (Cross your fingers - he goes for his road test on July 9.) I'm not sure what Barb, Kim and their eldest, Maya, want to do first.
I want to hug them and cook with them and laugh with them and not take my eyes away from them for as long as is humanly possible. It's funny, but now that they're almost home, I miss them more than ever.
They must all be aching for their house and their cats, and anxious to see their friends in Cranbrook. I wonder how they're feeling about returning to work and school, and what life will be like for them transitioning back to Canada.
I can't wait. July 29.
question: if you were with your family, but far from home for 2 years, what would you most want to do upon your return?
mompoet - counting down