Monday, March 31, 2008
Now I'm heading into a Supervisory Skills course tomorrow. It's part of the leadership course I am taking at work. In a lot of ways, it's a cushier ride than when I was in university. The course is paid for, the books are paid for, I get paid to attend. There's a free lunch. I still have to do the reading and homework and show up and participate, and I get credit for a BCIT business course. By the way, I have never taken a business course at university or college.
I have heard from last year's participants that this part of the program has a heavy workload. We have 3 chapters to read from the text before tomorrow morning (I have read two). It's pretty straightforward, and mostly material I have encountered before, in the course of my work and in seminars and workshops that I have attended through work over the years. There will be written assignments and a final exam, but that can't be too much different from written reports and a big day at work when I need to have my ducks all in a row.
I'm excited, and hope that it will be informative and challenging. This is the year to stretch my brain, expand my horizons and refocus my compassion and engagement with the world. I hope that Supervisory Skills will be an interesting part of it.
Now to Chapter 11.
question: what's the last course you took?
mompoet - student again
Saturday, March 29, 2008
2 2/3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbs brown sugar
(Stir these all up in a medium-sized bowl)
1/2 cup butter or marg
(Add this and incorporate thoroughly with a pastry mixer or two knives)
1 1/2 cups blueberries - fresh or frozen
(Stir in gently)
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbs lemon juice
(mix in a measuring cup and add to the dry/berry mixture)
Stir just until combined. It will be sticky. Move the dough lump onto a parchment-covered large baking sheet. Pat down to a big circle (about 10" diameter). Use a bit more flour if you need to keep it from sticking to your fingers.
Cut the circle into 8 pie-pieces. Gently separate these to spread them out across the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar if you like.
Bake about 20 minutes at 450 degreesF. They're done when they're golden and the berries are bubbly.
Yum yum yum. Best eaten still warm from the oven. Serves 4 for a meal or more for a snack.
The Tri-City News
My impression from following the stories, attending rezoning hearings and volunteering when the shelter was at our church is that the project yielded better immediate results than we could have imagined. It also promises long-term results for the people who have found shelter and treatment where needed, and for the development of a permanent shelter and transition facility in our area.
question: have you heard the story?
mompoet - enjoying the happy end to this chapter, looking forward to what's next
question: where do you drop off?
mompoet - heeding the signs all of the time
Thursday, March 27, 2008
(who knew that US defense contractors carried their coins in plastic bags in their inner coat pockets? arrr Canadian spies foiled again!)
Some Christians Believe that Environmental Stewardship is Unnecessary
(what about "on earth as in heaven?")
Sometimes the thoughts and beliefs of some people cause me to
question: did you know?
mompoet - boggled and saddened by this thinking and believing
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
- I got a haircut.
- I swept the winter blowdown off the deck.
- I bought vegetables and reorganized the fridge.
- My sister and her family arrived from Cranbrook.
- My family and I spent lots of time at Mom and Dad's place, visiting with the whole big family.
- I attended church twice (Good Friday and Easter Sunday).
- I lounged at my parents' place with my Mom, Dad and sister while the girl teenagers had a supper party at our house and the boy teenagers and husbands went to the hockey game.
- I chatted on the phone with various friends.
- I finished reading a novel.
- I worked on a poem.
- I wrote morning pages.
- I saw the movie The Counterfeiters.
- I shopped at T&T Supermarket.
- I went for some nice long walks outdoors.
- I roasted a turkey and made mashed potato casseroles.
- I didn't let anyone else mess with the gravy.
- I played home-made balderdash with the whole big family. Now everyone calls Grandma "Gumma" which is really gross if you know the definition of gumma.
- I finally had supper at Cap Hill Szechuan with my sister and her family and my family and my Mom and Dad. Sister and family have been waiting 2 and a half years for this.
- I played Apples to Apples with some of the family.
- I hid Easter baskets for the teenagers.
- I hunted for chocolate eggs, hidden by the teenagers for the adults.
- I drove various kids around in my car.
- I gave my car to my son to drive various cousins around in.
- I painted my toenails.
- I slept in.
- I read newspapers and magazines.
question: what did you do for Easter weekend?
mompoet - going back to work tomorrow, rested and replenished
Monday, March 24, 2008
Delicious Snacks Distract Congressmen From Horrors Of War
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I love long-long-long extra bonus weekends
question: how is your weekend going?
mompoet - everyday delicious, yes indeed
Friday, March 21, 2008
the solution to a poem-partway-done then abandon is bump-bumpa-lumping at the back of my mind
but there are dishes, and groceries and a family supper...
wait poem, wait, please be still and don't evaporate. I'll be back.
question: when you listen to yourself, what do you hear?
mompoet - memorizing part of a melody so I can find it again when all is quiet
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
My sister and her family will arrive from Cranbrook Thursday evening to spend the weekend with the family. This is a real treat, especially because Mom isn't ready to make the car journey to Cranbrook. Her new hip is healing well, but 12 hours on the road, with multiple climbs in and out of the car is a bit much at this early date.
The kids are looking forward to spending time with their cousins. I'm looking forward to gang-cooking and a big goofy game of balderdash. It will be nice.
question: is there someone who you have been missing? will you see that person soon?
mompoet - I will see them soon
Monday, March 17, 2008
question: if you could invite anyone you wanted to invite to a party, who would you invite?
mompoet - happy
Five years of superb celebration!
Five years of our awesome creation!
Research it and then ya
will know five millenia
of Celtics is huge inspiration!
I asked her to send me a couple more limericks to post today, in honour of St. Patrick's Day. I told her it would be okay if they are a bit naughty. Here we are:
These orders from people I dread:
“Come here! Hurry up! Go ahead!”
Next time when I’m humming,
and screaming, “I’m coming!”
I certainly hope it’s in bed!
More to Love
I worried what Isador thought o’ me.
I’ll diet, I said, There’s a lot o’ me.
Said he, Oh no, Minny,
Start eating! You’re skinny!
I love when you’re bosomy and bottomy!
A couple, in lust, if you will,
had sex on the side of a hill.
cried she, Oh you devil!
Though You're not on the level,
Your slant on it gave me a thrill!
All I Need
Small pleasures to give me a smile
And friends who will go the last mile,
And heavens above!
I do need some love
Without batteries once in a while!
Question: are you any Irish?
mompoet - Happy St. Paddy's to you
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We rented two movies, both on the same theme it turned out, but with very different approaches. Martian Child is one that Andy worked on. There was a big lag from the time the project was completed until its theatrical release. Then its stay in the theatres was very short, so I has low expectations when we rented the DVD. I do love John and Joan Cusack, but the DVD cover image and back of the box synopsis made it sound like a cutesy version of My Favourite Martian. It turned out to be a lovely, warm-hearted story about a sad man, a bossy but loving sister, and a strange child. It's based on real experiences, and it felt pretty real to me. The story's main message is pounded in with a purple velvet hammer in the final act, but the rest of it was good enough that I forgave that. Fiona and Andy both liked it too.
Rocket Science was one I meant to see but missed. It's hard for me to see all of the movies that I want to see, but I'm going to try to see more. Luckily they all come out on DVD so there's a second chance. This one is about a boy with a speech impediment who is recruited to the high school debate team by the girl who is the star of the team. It's a notch and half to the grim side of Napoleon Dynamite, but with similarly real and quirky characterizations and relationships, and some really stellar moments of teen-age reality reflection. I liked that is was not a Hollywood portrayal of impossible love overcoming improbable odds. Fiona liked it but said it made her feel sad. Andy did not like it.
Then it was 11:30 and we all slept like rocks. It was the right choice for a tired ending to busy week. Sometimes my favourite theatre is our couch.
question: what have you rented lately?
mompoet - pajamas, slippers and popcorn, plus a glass of wine
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Today I had my first session with a life coach, provided as part of my "Leading from the Front Line" course that I'm taking at work. I sat in my car with my cell phone (people walk into my office like it's the skytrain station) and talked for 45 minutes. Christina is the coach who will be working with me, and with the other students in the course, for the rest of this year.
We had a "getting-to-know-you" kind of talk. I had done the pre-reading, and knew that I should expect a conversation that was for me, about me, and intended to help me maximize my experience in the course and in life in general. We talked about journeys, mirrors, colour preferences, inner voices, obstacles, me-time, priorities, choices. It was good, and interesting. Christina mostly asked questions, then reflected and re-directed my answers.
At the end she asked what I think now of coaching. I told her it was interesting and I looked forward to the next session with happy anticipation. By paying attention to me, she help direct my attention to myself. That's an unusual feeling, having someone help you look at yourself for almost an hour. I told her I felt like she knew me a lot better but I didn't know her very well because she asked all of the questions and I did all of the talking (about me). She told me that I probably know more about her than I think, just from our conversation. She said, "People aren't really their stories." This reminded me of something a counselor told me once a long time ago: "You are not your experiences. They are things that you go through, and that go through you. You are you all the while."
I feel like the time is right for doing some reflecting and understanding. I'm sure it will help me get more out of the course, and life in general. It's a time of change, so the help is timely.
question: did you ever catch an apple when you needed one?
mompoet - sometimes I get a grapefruit when I thought I wanted an avocado, but it's all good.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Each team received an "inspiration package" of things that needed to be included in the movie. The team that Alex was on had to work with:
Object: paper cups
Character: head hunter/scout/recruiter
Phrase: the creatives are being screwed
Here's the synopsis as published in the program guide: "On the brink of insanity, David Michaels embarks on an enthralling visceral journey in his struggle to write the elusive last note to his masterpiece." The title: Two a Penny.
What a thrill for them to win. I enjoyed seeing their film, along with all the others. Theirs made me laugh (as did many). One made me cry. The first prize winner was disorientingly weird. There was even a musical. It was good fun, and good to see a project in which Alex participated.
question: did you ever do something big in very little time?
mompoet - admiring quickness and creativity
Monday, March 10, 2008
The flying was absolutely amazing. I thought I would be frightened to see Fi and the other actors swoop up in to the air, but I just felt delighted. My heart raced, and I laughed out loud. Somehow, in just a few days of flying lessons, they learned how to be launched to the rafters on a wire and make it look real. I know I will probably never again see my daughter fly out of the bedroom window and into the night sky, or swoop through the treeptops with an arrow in her heart, and drift to the forest floor (not dead, just fast asleep).
My mind boggles at how 30 young actors can pull together (in about 6 months) something so completely wonderful. They sang and danced beautifully, supported one another like seasoned pros, and conveyed perfectly the comedy, adventure and love that are at the heart of this story. Fiona shone. We are so proud of her.
I cried less than I thought I would. It's sad for everyone when the show ends, but there will always be another and another and another. This one was a treat, a plum, a trip to Neverland, a job well-done.
question: do you believe in fairies?
mompoet - happy memories
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Friday is opening night for Peter Pan. Fi is playing Wendy. She has been at the theatre most of the time this week, learning how to fly. Along with her fellow actors, she has been preparing the singing, dancing and acting part since September. I can hardly wait to see it all come together.
question: would you like to fly?
mompoet - my heart soars
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
This recipe is from Canadian Living Magazine. I have simplified it and made it 100% whole wheat.
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup low fat yogurt - plain/vanilla/fruit - they all work fine
1 ripe banana - mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
Mix those ingredients then dump on top:
3/4 cup rolled oats (the magazine says quick oats but I prefer old fashioned oats because they are oatier)
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Stir them in, just until blended (don't overmix)
Spoon the batter into 12 oiled or paper-lined muffin pan cups.
Bake 20-25 minutes at 375.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Brownies
This is from the Joy of Cooking. I simplified it so much it's barely recognizable but every bit as yummy. I also increased the vanilla, eliminated the nuts (you can put them back in - 1 cup of pecans) and added chocolate chips.
1/2 cup canola oil
8 Tbs Fry's cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs. vanilla
Mix these 5 ingredients up.
Add and stir in:
2 cups sugar (DON'T REDUCE THE SUGAR - THIS IS BROWNIES, NOT HEALTH FOOD. JUST GO FOR IT.)
Add and stir in:
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Pour into a greased 9x13" cake pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. It should be firm around the edges and still a bit soft in the middle.
Dust with icing sugar while still warm.
question: do you bake?
mompoet - firm around the edges and just a bit soft in the middle
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The 2.5 kilobrick sat in the driveway today, while I took public transit to work. It was my first day to use my new employer pass. It's a one-year bus pass that will pretty much let me go anywhere, anytime, seven days a week. Getting to the office is a breeze - one community shuttle with a cheerful driver who plays the radio and greets passengers with a friendly hello, then bids each one, "Have a great day!" as they disembark. It's almost surreal it's so nice. Today I had to ride all the way to City Hall. I figured out a 40 minute route, using two buses. Not bad, because it would take me 30 in my car at that time of day. Trouble is, the bus broke down. The on-board computer just quit and the whole big machine when GGGGggggrrrrnnnnnmmp. Then nothing. Luckily another bus came by in the opposite direction, so I jumped on that and found another route in. I just made it to my training session on time. After work, the ride home was sunny and uneventful, with perfect connections, and even a happy driver on the big bus. My pass is a funny flexible little card that gets scooped into the ticket-reader and spit back out, just like a disposable faresaver, only I keep it to use all year.
In the meantime, Alex took my car to school, but he's only allowed to do that once per week. School is a 15 minute walk from home, so on-foot is his main method of transportation.
Busing will definitely be good in the warm weather months. It has already saved me on a couple of snowy days when I preferred not to drive. I'll see how I do in the windy-rainy fall months. I think with proper rainwear I should be okay. If I can leave the big blue metal thing in the driveway most of the time, it will last longer before I need to buy a new one, and the environment will benefit. Besides, I want to test my theory about how many sincerely friendly bus drivers are out there. I hope my first not-happy one is dramatic and entertaining.
In the meantime, I have to pack my bag and get to bed. There's a bus to catch tomorrow morning.
question: what transit is your transit?
mompoet - figuring out new ways to do things
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Friday in cycle class, the instructor was spurring us on to pedal harder and faster by offering a visualization: "Now imagine there's someone who your really want to see, just at the top of the hill. Go for it! Catch up with that person!" I immediately thought of my sister and began to cry. I did catch up with her though, and visualized a high plateau ride together through range country.
Spending the weekend with the family is an exercise in shifting gears, coming and going, doing chores and fun things, rushing and relaxing. There's lots of discussion about who wants what and what we do next. Several times I found my feelings hurt by benign comments that I just took the wrong way.
At church this morning I was one of the first up for communion. We sing softly while everyone takes their turn. "Eat this bread, drink this wine, come with me and never be hungry. Eat this bread, drink this wine, trust in me and your will never thirst." Again, I cried.
I wondered, "What's going on?" I realised that there are a few things: Alex is heading into his grad time. Exams, college application, summer job. I know he'll be fine, but I still worry some about how he'll weather this time of change and challenge. I want him to enjoy it, and feel optimistic and confident, even though I know it's natural for him to be afraid. Fiona's "Peter Pan" opens on the weekend. She's ready and excited, but I'm thinking past the beginning to the end and knowing there will be an element of sadness and let-down for all of us when it is over. Andy is focussed on preparations for his job as Assistant Stage Manager with the show, but it has resulted in a demanding and conflicting schedule with little couple time to catch up and connect this weekend. For me, I'm feeling sad about our Minister's recent decision to leave our church at the end of June to pursue a powerful call from God to do something different. He's not running from us, but to something else. Still, it feels like he broke up with us somehow. I respect and care for him, so I am glad he is following this call, but I feel let down and a bit lost.
It's my nature to always crane my neck and look farther up the road. For every hurt or sadness, there is a counter-action. I may get to see my sister at Easter, if her family's plan to find an inexpensive last minute Cuban vacation does not come to reality. If they're home, we'll drive to their home (about 12 hours from our home) and visit for the weekend. As far as my easily-hurt feelings, I have thought about a few conversations (with people than other than family members) that have left me feeling diminished. I am prepared to respond next time in a manner that will help me express my feelings better so I don't carry away the weight of a negative exchange. As for the church, we will survive, and possibly be stronger. We will always have a friend in Tim, and we will find and love a new minister who will take his place.
Before I hop on my bike and pedal towards the sun, I know I have to look the sources of my sadness in the eye and accept that I have them with me now. Then I can drop them off, trade them in, reframe them to things I want with me for the long ride.
question: are you bouncy or tender today?
mompoet - definitely delicate
Saturday, March 01, 2008
I rose at 4:30am and got to the church by 5:30. It was my turn to cook at the temporary shelter that we are hosting, and I had a request from one of our guests for French toast. Tim made sure we had bread and eggs. I brought the icing sugar for sprinkling, some strawberries and some whipped cream. I used 3 long loaves of bread, 36 eggs and half a carton of milk, and kept 2 frying pans going for about an hour. We had a great team working in the kitchen and breakfast area, especially Frank, who loaded on the berries and cream in extravagant quantities. Everyone came back for seconds. I was the last to sit down to a warm plate of breakfast. It was better than any French toast I've ever tasted.
After that I stopped by Alex's school, where one of his teachers interviewed me for her Master's project before school began. She's doing a project on caring in the classroom, and how it affects students ability to take risks and exercise their creativity in a secure and nurturing environment. It was an interesting discussion. We also chatted about graduation and scholarships. I was reminded again how grateful I am for this wonderful school and the people who are there, and how proud I am of Alex's accomplishments.
So then I realised that I smelled like French toast, and it was still only about 8:45 in the morning, so I popped back home, grabbed a shower, and changed into work clothes, but I didn't go to work right away.
It was massage day! Our work arranges practicum visits for student massage therapists. We pay a small fee for a one-hour massage session. I was booked for 10am. It was wonderful as usual. The therapist worked on my perpetually-tight trapezius and shoulders, helping me to relax the muscles and sharing some tips for improving my work station ergonomics to reduce strain. She also worked on my tendonitis in my elbow, that had flared up after a marathon of computer cell-clicking during budget prep. It hurt, and it's still tender two days later, but the ouch of the tendonitis has disappeared. Lying on the massage table was relaxing. I stayed awake, but enjoyed the rest.
I stopped by Costco after that, to pick up some photos and stock up on dried fruit and nuts (really!). We were suddenly out of dried cranberries and almonds and also granola bars for work and school lunches. It was a quick stop. I won't say "fruitful" because that would be a very bad pun (get the picture?).
After that I met my friend Chris for lunch. We work together normally, but we've been separated from daily interaction by my new job that I'm doing for a year. We had lots of catching up to do about work and family life. Chris missed the "silly lunch" the week before, but it was very nice just to have some one-on-one time. Because I wasn't due at the office until 1, we had a nice, leisurely 90 minute lunch.
Then it was work time! As usual, life at the rec centre is a whirl of activity. There's administrative, planning and supervisory work to do, but also the day to day things that come up with our members, who are 55 to 94 years old and participate in all kinds of activities from card games to t'ai chi and badminton. Work time raced past, but I managed to grab a break and go for a walk in the sunshine. I took the trail that runs along the creek, and listened to bird singing and the water rushing. Things are starting to green up, and everyone was out in light sweaters and exercise clothing. It felt like spring. I took my Nordic walking poles with me, so the 40 minute walk was a good strong workout too. I've decided to keep my poles at the office. There's great walking in the neighbourhood and it's a perfect way to refresh during a busy day. I was closing my eyes at my desk before my break, but rejuvenated after. Better than 3 cups of coffee.
In the evening we don't have any seniors programs. I was site supervisor until 8 but it was quiet, so I visited with the staff and bumped into some people I know from the neighbourhood at the centre for evening activities. I tidied a few nagging tasks at my desk and slipped away right at 8.
I had one errand to run before I could go home - picking up a couple of needed items for the family at the mall across the street from the community centre. I was in and out of the store quickly, which is good. I was tired.
At home I had a bite of late supper and a glass of red wine. I caught up with Andy, Alex and Fi and found out what they did all day. When my head hit the pillow at 10 I must have disappeared into sleep within seconds.
It was a long day, full of a bit of everything, all happy though, and I made it.
question: have you had a long day recently?
mompoet - stretchy and resilient