I just realised that I haven't posted a blog in a week. It's not that I have nothing to say - I've just been overwhelmed with stuff and also with snot. I have a cold and I seem to be the only slowed-down thing in a speeded-up world.
So here's my story, or at least the parts I can remember:
Thursday evening I went to see Gigi at the Shadbolt Theatre in Burnaby. My friend Robin got tickets as an early birthday treat but couldn't make it because of an injury (she's on the mend now, thank goodness) so she encouraged me to give her ticket to a friend. My friend Wendy and I saw the show. It was put on by Applause Musicals in Concert. I think it's such a cool concept and was such a wonderful performance (as was Saturday in the Park with George, which I saw last fall) that I think I'll have to get season's tickets for next year - or maybe the remainder of this year!
Saturday afternoon was shelter volunteer training. Our church is hosting the Cold Wet Weather Mat program for the month of November, so it's time to gear up. Going for the training brought back a lot of good memories of last winter's program. I'll be a team leader this time for the morning shifts that I work. I am looking forward to it. It's nice going in without apprehension and anxiety, like I felt the first time around. I know now that it takes courage to help but also to come in and accept the hospitality that we offer. Sitting down over a hot breakfast with the guests is a good opportunity to bridge some of the gap that separates us from our neighbours who don't have a permanent place to live. I learned and grew from last winter's experience, and expect to do so more this fall. I have also learned that cooking scrambled eggs is a form of prayer.
I worked Saturday night - something new for me - at an Oktoberfest Pub Nite organized by the Social Committee at the seniors recreation centre where I work. My co-workers and I helped the ladies prepare and serve a bratwurst meal to 72 guests. There was a singalong and trivia questions and strudel for dessert. It was hard work and also lots of fun. It also made for a short weekend. I came home around 10pm pretty tired. I asked Andy if I smelled like a weiner. He was very considerate and said, "not that much."
On Sunday, I attended church, and helped the Sunday school kids decorate gingerbread people for next weekend's bazaar. The kids love doing it, and they come back the following Saturday and buy the gingerbread people. The proceeds go to help support the two overseas foster children who are sponsored by our Sunday School.
After church I met up with my friend and former next door neighbour Neana, who was celebrating the end of her mortgage. She lives in a cute condo just a couple of kilometres from our place, so we're still in touch quite a lot. She invited 25 friends to S Restaurant on Queen's Street in Port Moody for a Sunday brunch. It was my first time at S, and I discovered that it is lovely and luxurious without being imposing. I'll definitely go back there. It was great to meet some more of Neana's wonderful friends. She knows people from all walks of life, from her work as an actor, a hotel bartender, and as a high school drama and English teacher. After we ate, we went outside to the patio and Neana actually burned her mortgage. Hooray!
After that, I even had time to go to Shoreline at the Port Moody Arts Centre for the second part of the monthly meeting. We are close to publishing our next chapbook, which looks very nice indeed.
After that, I think I crashed. Then I woke up. I cooked supper and made apple crisp too. Cooking gives me energy and peace.
Monday I was so excited! My friend Karen Garrabrant was in town from Decatur, Georgia, to feature at the Vancouver Poetry Slam. I haven't seen her since iWPS in February 2007, so it was about time! We had some supper together then went to the cafe. Karen's set was wonderful. She betrayed not a stitch of the nervousness that she says she feels every time. Her poet voice is one of strength and compassion, laced with love and humour. The poems she performed were about characters so real they inhabited the stage with her as she spoke. At the same time, they were about every one of us who listened. I have read some of them over again, along with others, in her chapbook, and I'm glad to have them to keep. They are like Karen: smart and beautiful and layered and direct and knowing about love. Besides being a great poet, Karen organizes the Cliterati reading series and the Art Amok Slam in her city. And she works at Emory University Library. She is one of my heroes.
Tuesday I had my supervisors' course at work. Right now we're studying labour relations which is very interesting. Being a union member and a supervisor at the same time is a unique challenge. The work we're doing together is helping me understand a lot. The best part is sharing experiences and insights with my co-workers in the program. I'm learning about other departments and work cultures and making some new friends.
Later Tuesday I mailed my US election ballot. That felt good. It looks like Ohio, where I last lived and where I vote, will be important in determining the outcome of the election, so it's important that I vote. Heck, no matter what, it's important that we vote.
Wednesday was pretty special. Poetry House hosted a workshop about sexual harassment. It turned out really to be about sexism more generally. Poetry House Directors and some members of the slam community attended. The topic was a sensitive one, as we discussed our own feelings and experiences with sexism in our lives, and specifically at poetry events. We looked at it from the point of view of organizers, artists and audience members. There's a lot we can do to help our community and performance scene be safer and more respectful, without squelching freedom of expression. The workshop provided a good starting point. I admire the courage of those who attended and trust that we will move ahead with what we have begun to explore and consider.
Oh yeah, earlier in the day on Wednesday, we had a New Members' Tea at the Rec Centre. We welcomed more than 50 new members with a small ceremony and tours of the centre. Volunteers interpreted the welcome speeches into Persian and Cantonese so it was kind of stop and go talking, but everyone seemed to get the idea. Thank goodness that the 2 Korean ladies who attended understood English pretty well. Next time I'll find someone who speaks Korean to help out too. That's the first time I have had the experience of a multi-lingual simultaneous interpretation while I spoke. It was a good experience.
On Thursday I spent a few work hours at a Seniors' Health and Wellness Fair at another Rec Centre. Mostly I chatted with people who came to the table where I gave out information about wellness programs at the seniors' centres around Burnaby. It was good to meet some new people and find out what they like to do in their leisure time.
So now it's finally Friday and I'm pooped. Dad met me at my office and we went for lunch. Yummy tempura udon for me and seafood udon for him at the Japanese restaurant across the street. I like having my dad to myself sometimes! Now I'm home, and ready for pajamas, but first I'm going to empty out the fridge and clear the top of the stove because tomorrow they are going OUT! Our friend Tom is renovating his kitchen and will give us his stove and fridge tomorrow. To him they are old, but to us, they are much newer than the ones in our kitchen now. Getting the old ones out and the new ones into our kitchen will involved hauling heavy appliances up/down a flight of stairs, so I'll be glad to be out of the way at the church bazaar, helping to sell those gingerbread people and running the cupcake walk. Then there's a costume meeting for parents who are sewing for Lindbjerg's Into the Woods (that'll be me) then I think I can come home and stop, yes stop, for the rest of the day.
Sunday morning I'm doing my CPR and Emergency First Aid recert from 8:30-12:30, then I think I get to STOP again.
So that was my week. I still have a cold but it's not any worse than it was when I began, and I have done a lot of fun and constructive things in the meantime. I'm coughing into my elbow and washing my hands, so I'm doing my best not to share the virus.
If you made it to the end, thanks for reading this. I will try to post shorter stories more frequently for the coming week. Actually I'm hoping my life will happen in shorter stories for the coming week. That will be nice. I like the stopping part, especially when it involves pajamas.
question: run run run as fast as you can?
mompoet - you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man