Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The minister at our church offered us his resignation about a month and a half ago. He'll stay until June. In the meantime, we are looking for a new minister. Last time we sought a minister we went through a process a lot like workplace recruitment and selection. This time, the congregation voted to go with a process called Settlement. That means that the local church Conference (for our province) recommends candidates (mostly newly-ordained ministers) who have also requested settlement. All of this week I have been thoughtfully and prayerfully participating in the process of considering candidates, as a member of the settlement committee for our church. Simultaneously, the candidates are considering the information sent to them by BC Conference about the churches that are seeking ministers. The process is confidential. It feels like God has a bigger hand in putting us together with our new minister, although I know that's not the case. God's here, no matter what the process or activity.

We should have a resolution in the next few weeks, and soon meet our new minister.

question: who will come to us?

mompoet - waiting for our new leader and friend

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

gratitude dance


I have been spinning busy, alternating with flop-tired slumping. Working backwards, here's the catch-up.

Tuesday (today) was school at work. I got my first assignment back - 82% which is okay but I'm a pushy-for-perfect student. Average was high seventies. I want 85 or better on assignment 2. We're bonding as a student group (22 of us) and our teacher is very good. She helps us digest the information from our voluminous homework reading, and keep us awake and sharing for 7 hours, which is quite a feat. Our training department head says the Parks people are worst for wiggling and snoozing after lunch. I think it's because we need to move around. Leila, our teacher, lets us move around in our imaginations and socially, so it's not too bad. And I go for a brisk walk at lunch with my new friend Blanka from the Clerks Dept. That helps too. Tuesday evening: casserole construction, laundry folding, telephone conversations miscellaneous and many, debrief with Alex about his interview this afternoon (went well). Early bed soon.

Monday advertised itself as an unstructured day at work, but turned into a jumbo-juggle bumble when the planned HVAC work was scrambled by a broken crane. Rooms we had closed were open. "Safe" rooms were out of bounds or partially disassembled by the time we came in. As a team, we combined our efforts and Monday morning brainpower to move our various groups and courses to safe a suitable rooms (a tight squeeze under normal circumstances). Instead of catching up on the pile on my desk, I cruised the building, smoothing and explaining. The day flew by, and it felt good that we got through it but wheww! I walked home to unwind. It's one hour from work to home. It bucketed rain the last 15 minutes. When I got home I put on my pajamas just in time for a lightning storm. Late supper, early bed in anticipation of early morning Tuesday for longer bus trip to faraway course location.

Sunday - Fi had a workshop downtown at 10. I booked out of church, and Andy and I drove down together with Fi. After we dropped her off we went to Stanley Park. We parked at Prospect Point and walked to the middle of the Lion's Gate Bridge. English Bay was surreal in its mist shroud. We walked around the reconstructed portion of the seawall. Not many people out on a damp Sunday morning, but it was warmer than it has been for days, so very nice. Later, we rendezvoused with Alex for Szechuan lunch, then he and Andy did a practice drive out to Capilano College for Alex's entrance interview. I ran a few errands then picked up Fi from her workshop at 4. We had a rainy barbeque supper at home, then watched the first half of Spirited Away (English version). Good stuff.

Saturday - Drove Fi to rehearsal. Alex took off to his new job at the movie theatre in my car. Then Andy and I drove out to Surrey and found tiles for our downstairs bathroom floor re-do. Back on our side of the Fraser River, we took a sunny walk along the dike at the Pitt River, then went to the pub for lunch. Saturday night evening we went to the Metro Theatre in Vancouver for a production of Anything Goes. It was very funny and quaint.

Friday - Knocked off work at noon. Met friends for lunch - Happy Birthday Chris! - then picked up Fiona and her friend Natasha from school and drove them and Fi's friend Shannon out to the Chandos Pattison in Surrey for a benefit concert. I did some reading for my course at Tim Horton's while they did a run through, then I watched the show with the other moms and dads. It was all about artists and their art. It was cute and funny.

This takes me back to my last post of a lounging cat. I did my impersonation of her in between flurry bursts. All in all it was a good weekend and start of the new week.

There it all is. Or most of it, anyway.

Question: what-all you been doing?

mompoet - what what what

Friday, April 25, 2008

happy cat

Here's Amy in a relaxed mood.

happy days

We celebrated volunteer month at the seniors centre where I work with a luncheon to thank all of our members who volunteer at the centre. The theme was 1950s. Here's a photo of the staff team. From left to right: my boss Cindy aka Mrs. Cunningham, me aka Shirley, Stephen aka Squiggy and Linda aka Laverne. We had fun.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just Jeans of my Life So Far (For Jeans Day)

My very first pair of jeans was delivered to my house in a blue Simpson Sears truck. I convinced my mom to order them from the Spring –Summer catalogue. They were “Western Style, Fly Front.” These were my first zip-up pants with a waistband and belt loops, and I was nine years old. Before this, I had worn mostly skirts, sewn at home by my mom, and stretch-pants, also from Simpson Sears (the kind that came in a set with a matching candy-coloured striped stretchy shirt).

I felt like a cowgirl when I squeezed on my new jeans. I was still a “goblin-shaped” girl, so I sucked in my tummy to help the zip reach the top, then threaded a hand-woven inkle belt through the loops. I finished the outfit with one of the tops from my stretch pants sets. It was the first of many mix-and-match fashion adventures.

I wore my jeans to school almost every day. One day, at recess, something made me laugh so hard that the zipper on my jeans split wide open – broken. The principal drove me home and waited outside while I changed back into my old stretch-pants.

Soon, I was in high school, where I joined the jeans explosion of the 70s. Star Jeans, with a rat-tail comb in the back pocket for grades 8 and 9; Seafarers, and Le Cullotier in grade 10. Jeans were the uniform that signaled every kid’s status. There were real and fake styles, depending on how much Mom and Dad were willing to spend. Regardless, we wore those jeans long, with platform shoes, and stepped on the hems, dragging them through the mud on the way to school until they trailed behind us in cool tatters and wicked the dampness halfway up to our knees.

Then there was graduation and university and the new wave Euro-chic 80s, with stone wash, acid wash, floral print, skinny legs, coloured high-top shoes and asymmetrical jackets to match our trendy haircuts. I listened to my boyfriend’s import EPs, studied the album covers to see what people were wearing and sewed my own jeans to beat the trends.

Then, out of nowhere, there were babies, whose jeans had snaps up the insides of the legs for easy diaper changes, then denim overalls from Please Mum. I focused on dressing the children, and slipped off the fashion bandwagon to the ease of Cotton Ginny – and that was on a good day. Sweat pants were the new jeans.

Now the babies are grown, and I negotiate: HOW MUCH?! When my children shop for new jeans, and stifle my boring stories about the days when $24 for a pair of French Jeans (with the red white on blue stripe label stitched into the seam) was thought by my parents to be excessive.

I wear Mom jeans, with just a tweak of spandex for comfort, and watch “What Not to Wear” on television, and hope I won’t embarrass the kids with my fashion ineptitude. On the weekends, yoga pants are the new jeans, and I never, ever suck in my tummy to help the zip reach the top.

question: what are your jeans memories?

mompoet - miles and miles of denim in one lifetime

Monday, April 21, 2008

basking outside on an april evening

We are tired of waiting for warm weather, so on Saturday night we gathered on the street outside of my house for a glass of wine after supper. Here are the photos. It is not warm yet, but we had a lovely time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

milestone weekend

Today was a pretty ordinary weekend for Andy and me, but for our kids, it was huge.

On Saturday, Alex began his new job at the movie theatre. He got a job at Silvercity, which is a gigantic complex with 20 screens that shows all of the mainstream features plus livecast sporting events and the opera. I think a church also holds its services in one of the theatres on Sunday mornings. Alex will be trained as an entry level "cast member," so he'll learn to work at the box office, the concession and on the floor (ticket-taking, cleanup, ushering). He's doing his training now and likes it very much.

On Sunday, Fiona sang at the honours concert for the Coquitlam Music Festival. She will represent the festival in her age category at the Performing Art BC Provincial competition in May. This is a wonderful honour and a big challenge.

We are totally and wonderfully proud of our kids all of the time. Weekends like this are reminders of their bright potential, and testament to their hard work and good character. Their success tells us that the paths they have chosen are good ones, and that they will be just fine in the future. That's what every parent wants to know.

question: what milestones do you see (or anticipate) in your life or the lives of the ones you love?

mompoet - standing by the side of the road, smiling

Thursday, April 17, 2008

outgoing about going out

Thank you to Carol for this quiz:

Your Social Anxiety Level: 0%

You have low social anxiety.

You don't have any social anxiety. In fact, you love being social.

You're well adjusted and likely quite outgoing. Your social skills put others at ease.

I am not totally free of social anxiety. The survey didn't ask:

Do you mentally rehearse what will happen at a social event before you go?
Do you obsess about what you will wear to a social gathering?
Do you wonder if everyone else in the room feels like they might not find someone to talk to?
Do you dream about the party before you go?

I think I work out the anxiety in these ways. Anyway - take the quiz and find out for yourself.

question: do you sit on the couch, perch in the kitchen, or move around the room(s) at a party?

mompoet - usually happy to meet you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spark your Dream by Candalaria and Herman Zapp

On Sunday, Andrew and I went to the mall to meet a couple from Argentina who is traveling the world in a 1928 car with wooden wheels. Herman And Candalaria Zapp dreamed of traveling, put it off for a long time, finally did it, starting without money or a working car, had 3 babies in different parts of North and South America, and are heading next to Asia.

Herman told me, "Maybe our next kid will be Asian. One baby for every continent." Having met Herman and Cande, I think this might be possible.

Cande disappeard to go feed the baby and get some lunch for herself while Andrew and I looked at the map of their travels and investigated the car. Their car is shiny, tiny inside and very cool. It has a pop-top sleep tent and a cargo area jammed with toys for the children (5 years, 3 years and 4 months) and wooden wheels. The tires are regular tires, but the wheels are wood. They have to be kept wet during travel, or they will warp and crack. When the family drove through the desert they had to stop and wet the wheels along the way.

I asked Herman if they were home-schooling the children along the way. He smiled and said no, they are road-schooling. He spoke of visiting museums and historic sites along the way, and meeting people of every walk of life, culture and religion. He told me he wants his kids to know that Christians, Muslims, Jews and others are all the same people. They have opened their hearts and their homes to the family and helped them along the way.

I bought their book. Herman signed it, asking the names of our children to include in the inscription, posed for a photo, and bid us farewell with generous and friendly hugs. "You will have a home to stay in if you ever come to Argentina," he promised. "Unless you're out traveling," was Andrew's reply. We all laughed, and I nearly cried.

Herman and Cande are living their dream. The purpose of their travels is to do this, and by doing it, encourage others to do the same - not to wait, but to go for it.

When I told Herman that I had heard him and Cande earlier on the week on CBC Radio, he said, "That guy Rick is great. Most of the time they just ask - what's the farthest north you have been? what's the farthest south? Rick, he got it about the dream. That's what's important."

question: do you know anyone who lives his or her dream?

mompoet - filled with wonder

instant poetry is beautiful

On Monday night, my friend Amnesia Jane Smith and I hosted an Instant Poetry Slam at the Vancouver Poetry Slam. This was part of the "alt-slam" series - themed or alternative-format slam nights on the second Monday of each month. The poets' scores don't count for standings, and standard slam rules are warped or morphed for fun and creativity. In January we had a Group Piece Slam. In February, it was the Pan-African Slam. In March, it was the Sista'hood Slam. Different hosts step up to organize these slams, so a variety of styles and preferences take the stage for a unique night of poetry for the sake of play, once each month.

Amnesia Jane and I were a bit worried about getting poets for our slam. Participating was a risky proposition:

Come to the cafe at 7pm
Receive a writing prompt
Write a new poem starting NOW
Perform you poem in the slam, beginning at 8:45pm

We were delighted to find 15 poets ready to be in the slam. The writing prompt was "shake well before use." The poetic responses were varied in content, style and presentation, but were all related by their use of the prompt. Judges were instructed to rate the poem half on their overall assessment, and half on how well the prompt was incorporated. Amnesia Jane and I wrote too. We didn't perform our work though, because there were more than enough brave poets ready to write and perform without a net. It was an excellent night.

I have posted my unperformed Instant Poem in the post below this one.

question: would you, could you, write and perform something, all in one evening?

mompoet - I bet you could

Shake Well Before Use

my heart
chunks tight to the top front of my chest
the place where
swallowing is impossible
forcing me to
set down all crunchy past parodies
and accept dreams as nourishment

consume my thoughts
are beautiful
I know that you deny this
your repertoire of self-effacement
is polished as antique mahogany
as a fresh-hewed speed bump

I say
"I like your hair that way."
you say
"my bangs are hiding a zit that's about to pop
quick - pass me a bucket"

I say
"your idea is the best idea I have heard all day
are a genius"
you say
"that was your idea"

I say
"I can't stop looking at you"
you say
"what - do I have spinach in my teeth?"

while I find your humour endearing
I tend to think
when you pummel your own
you are really staking claim to a separate superiority
The BEST of the Liverwurst-hearts
Creamed something-not-very-good on toast

which prompts the lump-chunk
sticking spot
that magnetizes me in your direction
to say
give it up (please)
because you
are beautiful
so here it is in a coconut shell:

I desire the imperfection of you
your zit
is a GOD-ZIT
and you are King Vesuvius
when you pull on your new bicycle pants
I think that nobody
could look as wonderfully awful in bicycle pants
as you do
and that makes you wonderful
but the best part is your overbite
your overbite enchants me so
I can only stand here and say

when I call you adorable
and you counter with "abhorable"
I want to take hold of your silly head
screw the lid on finger-tight
and shake well before use
until you stop saying
and start saying

some time later
the jarring thought may occur to you

^^^^is^^^^doing^^^^to^^^ ???
why^^^ she^^^^^this^^^me
(because I might still be shaking you, just a little bit)

and when your contents settle
to a gleaming strata of
beautiful on top of
beautiful on top of
beautiful on top of
beautiful on top of

you will know
why me
why you
why I say it

because I know when I say it
and you believe it
I will believe it too
(and not only for you)

because I know when I say it
I am really saying - from the
rock-gullet heart-stop place between chest and throat


yeah, me too
me too

Monday, April 14, 2008


Spring has been unseasonably cold. Cold and damp. Damp most of the time, cold always.

I have not got out of black shoes and fuzzy coats yet, and it's mid-April. Until Saturday.

Warmth was predicted days in advance. We all walked around buzzing "20!" (this referring to degrees Celsius). Giddy with hopefulness we shivered through the week, almost afraid to believe it could happen.

Saturday arrived. By 9am it was 11 degrees outside. By early afternoon it was 22. We opened all of the windows to the house to let the warm, fresh air in. Flowers bloomed. Cherry blossoms popped. It was instant spring. In our car, we rolled down all of the windows and let our hair blow. We saw kids wearing shorts and bathing suit tops outdoors. We stood on the balcony and blinked.

Sunday morning it rained a bit, then warmed again. Another beautiful day!

Today it rains again, but I'm sure it's not so chilly. Maybe I can put away my black shoes and fuzzy coat.

question: are you warm?

mompoet - talking about the weather is boring, but this is momentous to us

Friday, April 11, 2008

good for you (somewhat)

I heard on the radio today that Girl Guide Cookies are being criticized for their trans-fat content. A representative of Guides Canada said essentially that cookies are treats, and we all eat things that are bad for us, and that we should do it in moderation or we'll never have any fun. The story also quoted the argument that changing the recipe would change the taste. Well, the cookies have been re-reciped twice in the last 10 years after Dare took over making them from Christie, so changing them again wouldn't be breaking with a long tradition of tastiness.

I'm inclined to say that a little of a bad thing is okay, especially for a good cause, but it's also possible to make this bad thing better, so I think they should.

question: do you eat girl guide cookies? and if so, which do you prefer - choco-mint or vanilla and chocolate sandwiches? and what about this trans-fat thing?

mompoet - former brownie and guide and current cookie-eater (in moderation) and able to have plenty o' fun with our without the cookies

Thursday, April 10, 2008

getting ready for grad

Alex will graduate from secondary school this June. In May, there's a dinner dance at a fancy hotel, followed by an all night fun party at the school to discourage dangerous partying elsewhere. For the fancy dinner, all of the students dress up. The girls all ordered their dresses months ago. Now the boys are shopping. Alex opted to rent a formal suit for the occasion. Here he is at the rental place modeling the one he chose. (He'll not wear the #420 on the lapel to grad.)

I think he looks very handsome.

question: what did you wear to prom/grad?

mompoet - I sewed my own grad dress.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


daytime into dream consciousness

On Monday at work we had a sad incident with one of the men in the community. He has no place to live, and struggles with addiction. Late in the afternoon, we found him asleep under the bench at the bus stop outside our front door. My partner at work has been meeting with him and our community police rep. Together they have been trying to help this man get into treatment and find support and safe housing. He's still outside, and clearly struggling these days.

So at night I dreamed about homelessness. I somehow mixed in some sad news from the weekend and my festival experience to make a collage of unlikely events, but that's dreaming for you.

Mom and my sister and I are on the run from a bad man who wants to harm us. Our home is not safe. We must leave without coats, belongings or money. I have my cell phone. We have bus passes apparently, because we take the bus to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver to see a musical. We are sitting in the theatre, watching Cats, when I realise we can all go live at my house and we will be safe. My husband will protect us. So I'm watching Cats and trying to text Andy to tell him I'm coming home, and my Mom and sister are coming to live with me.

question: when your brain solves a problem in dream-life, where does it get its ideas?

mompoet - collaging

Monday, April 07, 2008

music in my heart

I spent the weekend at the Coquitlam District Music Festival with Fi, who won everything she entered. I will try not to be a boasting mom, because it was all the daughter's doing so she's the one entitled to boast (which she doesn't). We saw dozens of lovely performances by young vocalists and listened to encouraging and constructive adjudication notes from the wonderful Kevin Power. My heart swelled up to bursting over and over again. Most people never get to be in this place. I am happy happy happy.

question: did you ever witness something wonderful at its beginning of wonderfulness?

mompoet - experiencing wonder on an ongoing basis these days

Thursday, April 03, 2008

fern shadow

bromeliad ecosystem

My Mom sent me a link to this delightful article about life in the top of a pineapple.

question: would you like to be tiny for a few days?

mompoet - marveling at the world around us

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I though April 1 passed me by

Then I read Stephen's blog this morning and the fool's day was redeemed.

question: did you get fooled?

mompoet - no fooling (sigh)