Friday, October 31, 2008
The show was put on by Theatrix which usually does youth theatre but once in a while puts on a show for and by the grown-ups. We had previously seen Steel Magnolias presented by this company. Mostly we wanted to see our friend Sue Shaw who as in the chorus this time.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was popular as a cult movie in the 70s and 80s. It's a musical about a man and a woman who get lost on the way home from a wedding and get stuck in a mysterious castle filled with inhabitants of the planet Transylvania. Their leader is Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist who has just created a creature named Rocky. The movie is really pretty awful, as movies go, but it is a lot of fun because the audience takes over. They dress up as characters in the movie, shout and recite lines at precise moments, engage props including much throwing of various items (water pistols in the rain, rice at a wedding, toast at a formal dinner) singing along to songs, and dancing the Time Warp along with the chorus. You can still see it at midnight screenings once in a while, most recently at the Rio Theatre, I think.
So here we were at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam, ready for some fun. And it was fun, but in a different way from at the movie. When we arrived, chorus members were in the lobby, selling audience participation packs, complete with instructions about how to participate. We got newspaper for the rain scene, rubber gloves and noisemakers for the creation speech, party hats for the dinner scene, glow sticks for "There's a Light," and bells to ring in "Janet Schmanet." The funny part was the tentative way in which audience members got into the action, despite a friendly speech of encouragement at the start of the show, by one of the cast members. We were cautioned, however, not to throw actual toast or rice or use real water pistols for the sake of the theatre building and seats, and told that if we were caught doing this, we'd be thrown on stage.
So the lights went out, and pretty soon it was time to boo the Criminologist. Come on! somebody else here must know what to do. Well, if they did, they didn't feel comfortable to do so, or maybe they were booing in mime, I don't know, so I got it started. BORINNNNGGG! Then I knew they knew it because they joined in. There was even some snoring and hissing, which was good. And that was about as lively as it got from the audience side. The Evergreen has notoriously awful seats and cramped rows, so there was no way we could dance, which was too bad. Dancing in the first act would have been a way to activate the audience. For me, it then became part of the entertainment to watch people around me reacting to the show, trying to decide whether to be quiet or vocal, some even experiencing it as if they were Brad and Janet, lost in the woods and trapped in a strange place with weird people.
The production itself was a lot of fun. Frank-N-Furter was definitely the best in the show, camping it up and staying deliciously in character, even when his mic failed. Riff Raff was also bang on creepy. A funny little bit was Dr. Scott's characterization, definitely a spoof on Vancouver's Mayor Sam Sullivan. I missed getting a program, so I'm not sure of the actor's names besides our friend Sue, who was wickedly silly in the dance scenes. We had a good time remembering the fun times we had at the movie, and admiring the guts it took for a bunch of moms and dads and teacher to perform a show like this for us.
It's on through Saturday night. Try to get a seat by the aisle and dance! That's what the show needs, more people dancing in the aisles. Then it will be just right. And also, boo with gusto at the Criminologist, and continue booing until he stops talking. He likes it, really.
question: have you seen this at the movies?
mompoet - you shall receive it - in abundance
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This will be our first Halloween with no kids at home. Alex will be at work, and Fi has a party to attend at her friend's house. Andy and I will still enjoy Halloween in the neighbourhood. Last night, the decorations went up, all except for a few which we bring out on the big night (screaming bats, dancing Frankenstein and our new roaring tombstone). I'll make a big pot of coffee and a batch of brownies and sit out in the carport with treats for the moms and dads. We get so many children it's easier just to sit outside and wait for them to stop by. Andy will help light fireworks again, like he has done for the neighbourhood display for the past 10 years or more. But it will be different as just us - an older mom and dad, remembering the days when our children were the trick-or-treaters. Luckily there are a few other older moms and dads in the neighbourhood, so we'll visit with them in their carports and marvel at the parade that goes up and down our street.
question: do you have trick-or-treaters at your house?
mompoet - I like Halloween
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
CPR changes a bit every time you take it. Recently a switch has been made to simplify it for lay people (not nurses, lifeguards or ambulance attendants) so that the rescuer doesn't waste any time worrying about the finer points of the protocol, but instead gets to the job at hand, operating as effectively as possible. One change is that for any age of victim, the chest compressions are now 30 compressions to 2 ventilations (breaths). As for compressions per minute, there's a new trick to get that right.
For my job, the certificate is good for two years. It's a bit of a nuisance to recert, but I am always relieved to do it and shake the cobwebs off. I have not yet needed to perform CPR on a real person, and my first aid encounters have been relatively minor and straightforward. So between training sessions, the first aid and CPR knowledge I have is not generally practised. I count myself fortunate for that. But now, I am refreshed and ready.
question: do you know CPR?
mompoet - staying alive
BONUS - This is a video that the first aid instructor recommended to us - real video of a person who has drowned and is revived by lifeguards using CPR and a portable defibrillator.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...
Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.
Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.
People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.
question: do you ever know that you are the dorkiest of the dorks?
mompoet - I am too, with great frequency and lively gusto
Thursday, October 23, 2008
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
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I worked at one of several phone banks around the riding. My job all day was to phone people who were identified as supporters, and encourage them to go vote. I answered lots of questions about where is my poll? when is it open? what do I need to take for ID? Can I register at the poll? And I put in requests for a few volunteer drivers to take voters to the polls. I worked in a room full of volunteers with about 10 phones. Some volunteers were phoning specific language groups, other where phoning in general, like me. As the day went on, our phone bank coordinator received updates from our volunteers at the polls, who were keeping track of the voter numbers that had come in, so we know who had voted and who we still needed to come in. Then we phoned those people, some of them 2 or 3 times if we didn't reach them at first. Up until about an hour before the polls closed, we phoned and phoned.
Late in the day, Alex joined me. He had a midterm, and needed to go vote. Then we went out to a polling place to scrutineer the count of the votes. There were other volunteers there from our party. They had spent all day watching, checking numbers, and staying in touch by phone with the phone bank. Each one of us watched a ballot box being opened, then observed the count to make sure everything was done correctly. The elections workers were careful and thorough. When they were finished, one of the volunteers at our site phoned the numbers back to the campaign office, where we were keeping our own tally.
The polls closed at 7pm. By 9pm it was apparent that Dawn had won - by about 1,300 votes. She arrived at the victory party to cheers, hugs and handshakes. The place was packed with happy, tired and relieved supporters. Dawn's husband (who drove people to the polls all day) and her sons and grandchildren (including 5 week old twins) were there. It was a very happy time. Dawn made a victory speech, thanking her election team, volunteers, family and community, and promising to continue to represent ordinary people in Ottawa. The kitchen table has been the motif of the NDP campaign across Canada (as opposed to the boardroom table). It was a kitchen table moment when she spoke to us.
I'm delighted with the outcome in our riding, less so for all of the country. I would have like more NDP wins, but we do have MPs all over Canada this time, which is great. I feel proud to have been part of such an honest, energetic, heart-ful and successful campaign. I am head-over-heels happy that Alex volunteered with me. Watching him watch the ballot count last night was a crowning Mom moment for me. He has helped with campaigns before, but as an adult, he may now participate fully, and it looks like he will.
question: how was election day for you?
mompoet - tired, happy, triumphant
Now I can't find my friend's phone number. I look through our family phone book, my cell phone, my PDA, file papers from the writers' group we attend. I can't find or remember the number. In the meantime, the dog is leaping through the air, up from the back yard, higher than the deck, over the fence over and over, in and out of the yard. I hope that he will stick around and be safe until I can reach my friend to come get him. We can't let him inside the house because our dog is inside and they would "chase" inside and things would get broken, including our own dog, possibly. She is pretty old.
Finally I go out to look for my friend, walking up and down the street. I'm still hoping her dog is safe as it bounces in and out of my back yard and leaps over my new deck.
question: what does that mean?
mompoet - dog gone it
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I wish I had more time to help on Dawn Black's campaign. Last week I was scheduled to do an evening of phoning, but I had to work at the last minute. Between work and family stuff, it has been a very busy few weeks.
So when I got a facebook message inviting volunteers to come out to some sign-waving appearances on Sunday afternoon, I jumped at the chance. Alex was available too, so we both went down to the corner outside of the Arts Centre and hoisted signs and waved and hooted. There were about 20 of us there, including Dawn. We got lots of honks and thumbs-up signs from drivers, so it felt good.
I'll help out all day on election day, which is the most exciting day to volunteer. Alex has a mid-term, then he has to go vote (his very first time), but he'll join us at the victory party. Yes!
question: did you ever stand by the side of the road and invite people to honk?
mompoet - liking orange and green better every day
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sunday, November 2
8pm (sign-up at 7:30)
Cafe Montemartre on Main Street
Poets will dress up as their favourite dead poet and read/recite their works. Feature poet is the (very much alive) Ukelele King, Ralph Shaw.
I'm trying to figure out who to be this year. Last year I was Marcel Marceau. The year before I was Emily Dickinson. Now I must do research. There are many dead poets, but recognizable ones are hard to find. I'd like to be a girl this year. There will be lots of Sylvia Plaths, and I am older than that. hmmmmm
question: If you were a dead poet, which dead poet would you be?
mompoet - pondering impersonation
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
It is a good thing I am a blogger and not a mathematician, or an accountant, or a zero counter.
A zero counter I am definitely not. And I guess that 4 is the new 5.
question: did you notice?
mompoet - going to check my toes now
Sunday, October 05, 2008
It's likely he'll stay in the hospital just a few more days, and if all goes well, he and his Mom and Dad will fly home on Wednesday.
Did I mention that he is wonderfully beautiful? He has lots of dark brown hair, brown eyes and a lovely little face, and fingers and toes...I even saw him cry, and his gums are cute.
We are all so grateful and relieved that his is well and will be able to go home and be in his own house with his brothers and sisters very soon. We are also grateful that we got to spend these early days with my brother Mike, and his wife Emily while they have been here with him.
Baby Michael, next time you visit, please bring your whole family and we'll meet you at Stanley Park, ok?
question: what is it about a baby that makes everything else seem not important?
mompoet - love, love, love, that's still all there is
Alex and I have been volunteering to help re-elect our favourite candidate, MP Dawn Black. I have done a few evening shifts of telephone canvassing, and Alex has done some data entry. We delivered fliers in the pouring rain one Saturday too. I've booked election day off work. That's the most exciting day to volunteer - either at the poll or in the office. I can hardly wait.
Dawn's a wonderful community advocate and serves as the NDP's defense critic in parliament. She has worked on issues of women's equality, fought for the rights of army reservists serving in Afghanistan, advocated for federal funding for public transit and worked to get federal funding to help with seismic upgrades to local schools. I'm pleased to work to help re-elect her.
Alex will vote for the first time in this election, now that he's 18. He has been involved as a volunteer in previous federal and provincial elections and is very interested in politics and social justice. It feels good to share this enthusiasm with him, and to know that he is choosing to take an active role in the life of the community and country.
question: have you read the lawn signs?
mompoet - vote vote vote - just vote (and volunteer if you have time)
Looking at my statscounter site, it seems like a couple of people have looked up this page today via google images.
This page also had a visit today (maybe because it is posted on my facebook page), or maybe because someone is contemplating mounting a production...probably not the latter.
Someone enjoyed this blog post full of slightly less than random links today. In fact, it appears to be my most popular post of the past 500. I'm not sure why.
My visitors must be speed readers (or speed daters) because about 67% of my recent visits are shorter than 5 seconds long. Oooops, not that interesting, I guess.
I can see that people have visited from all over the world, mostly flicking through my site on google searches, but also visiting from my favourite faraway blog-friend locations like The Cook Islands (hi Kristene) and Singapore (hey Imran) and Virginia (how's the grandbaby Daisy?) and Ottawa (hiya Pearl) or Alberta (thank you for helping me meet so many bloggers, Carol). Others I can only guess at because I do not know how to decode isp addresses. It's just cool to know that whether I'm baking scones or ruminating on the meaning of life, someone is reading it, or looking at the pictures, or at least flicking by.
question: what's more interesting: pie, absurd family narrative or lemon pound cake and dogs?
mompoet - I'll never know, but I am touched and grateful
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Last week was "Active Aging Week" in BC. I have a whiteboard easel outside of the coffee room that I use for announcements and reminders (eg. 3 spots left in the belly dancing class that begins next week - register today). On the whiteboard, I put up one of the Active Aging Week posters, then I used my multi-coloured whiteboard markers to write a note that said that the seniors at our centre get active every day with...then I listed all of the activities they do: badminton, floor curling, carpet bowling, tai chi, yoga, fitness class, tennis, belly dancing, tap dancing, etc.
I came in one morning and someone had taped on a hand-printed note, "Whist, Bridge and Cribbage too." I took this to mean that at least one of our members was concerned that I had left out their favourite card games when I listed the active pursuits in which they engage.
So now Active Aging week is over. I took down the old poster and message. Then I posted a picture of Albert Einstein and I got out my multi-coloured white board markers. I put up a note saying that the members at our centre exercise their brain power and mental agility with...and I found out we have just as many mentally and socially engaging activities. I included the card games of course (canasta and 500 also), along with Spanish lessons, Mandarin lessons, book club, ethnic cooking, crafters, mah jong and a whole list of other good things. The best part is that the members organize and lead most of the activities themselves. I just write colourful signs to celebrate the fact, and occasionally make a pot of coffee or fetch the cd player.
question: do you like your favourite activity to be recognized?
mompoet - rub my belly