Saturday, October 31, 2009

48 in November

Tomorrow November begins. By the end of the month, I will be 48 years old. I am sad to say goodbye to 47, partly because it is a prime number, and partly because it has been a very good year for me. I don't get hung up on birthdays or getting older. Life continues to be delicious and fulfilling in new ways each year. I'm glad for what has gone on, and excited to find out what's coming up.

About the prime number thing, I'm thinking that the number 48 is a particularly un-primey non-prime number. If you look at its factors you have to go all the way down to 3 to find a prime number, which is pretty basic. It also means, that as numbers go, 48 is a mostly unappealing number to me. I thought about 48 in the shower this morning, and decided to reframe it in this manner:

48 = 1+2+3+7(5+1)

So now I like it a little better.

I'm turning 48 feeling well, loved, creatively alive and spiritually connected. Who could ask for more? (especially now that I have come to terms with leaving my prime number status behind for a few more years)

question: how do you spell 48?

mompoet - finding new ways to combat symmetry

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

fall, all right

on the avenue
broadleaf maple carpet and
more sky than before

question: have you walked down the fire road?

mompoet - glorious, glorious autumn


Fiona and I saw Stephen Sondheim last night. Applause Musicals Society presented a performance of "In Conversation." I read that these have been held around the US in the past year. Last night it was Vancouver's turn.

The almost 80 year old composer/songwriter/genius of musical theatre talked with UBC Film and Theatre Professor Jerry Wasserman for about an hour and a half. Topics ranged from how he got started as a maker of songs to how he wrote specific songs and plays, the people with whom he collaborated, and the nature of his current project (a super big book, annotating the lyrics to all of his shows and their songs). Wasserman was an excellent moderator, and Sondheim talked and talked. It was interesting to me in that I admire what I have heard of Sondheim's work, and what I know of his reputation and importance in the world of musical theatre. He is a singer's songwriter, and creator of smart, complicated and amazingly beautiful and interesting work. I left the theatre wanting to see and hear more of it.

What impressed me most was the demonstration of love and appreciation shown by the other people who attended. I was there to accompany Fiona, who just simply could not have missed this opportunity. We were actually prepared to travel to Seattle to see Sondheim until the Vancouver show was announced. The Vogue Theatre was packed with people like Fiona, who clearly saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and hear one of the people they admire most. Everyone in the house seemed to be at least somewhat of an expert on Sondheim's life and work - as evidenced by appreciative chuckles and spontaneous applause in response to his observations. I could feel the people around me hanging on his every word. When he walked on stage, and at when he finished, there were loud and long standing ovations.

Now that Stephen Sondheim has come and gone, leaving his many Vancouver fans to reflect on the storied he told and comments he made about the world of musical theatre, what can we do? Well, for starters, appreciate what Applause Musicals does. I didn't realise that Applause has been in existence for 30 years. This company presents little known/performed musicals, concert style, and featuring a combination of veteran and emerging performers and directors. This season is all-Sondheim. Something tells me lots of people will come. Here's the link to Applause's website.

The other follow-up? Stephen Sondheim's big book (at least volume one of 2) will be out next fall.

question: do you know the songs of Sondheim?

mompoet - know some, want more

Monday, October 26, 2009

the rest of the week (in links - I think)

Tuesday - Applause Musicals in Concert presents - Stephen Sondheim in Conversation at the Vogue Theatre

Wednesday - Music Concert at the secondary school

Thursday - Women's Invitational Poetry Slam at the Cottage Bistro

Friday - Bake

Saturday - Church Bazaar, Haircut, Halloween

Sunday - Communion

Monday - Canvass

question: what are you doing this week?

mompoet - link me!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I will fall

I stayed up late last night watching youtube demolitions
buildings, mostly in eastern Europe
falling, layer by layer
blocky brick mistakes from the sixties
past useful habitation
they go down just as they are meant to

I like to think it will be that way for me
when my time comes
I will drop to my knees in genteel implosion
maintain impeccable posture all the way down
shoulders subsiding ever so slightly
like decks of cards let loose from slack hands
even my dust billows will be discreet
taking care not to impose
as I settle down

Sometimes I wonder
are there demolition experts
for dismantling ordinary lives?
who will detect my stress points? weaken support beams?
set blasting caps?
will I be on my own?

I woke up this morning - still here
looked up the names of destruction machinery
front end loader
will these be attendants at my demolition?
or will I wait, vacant and derelict, for undetermined months and years?

I remember the time I watched these guys pull down their own carport
the day before the wreckers came
a Sunday afternoon
a case of beer
a pickup truck
I drank wine on my apartment balcony
and watched them hook a rope to the support beams
rev the engine and pull away
I cheered as the roof caved in
raised my glass to the men
who cracked their beers and took sledgehammers to the remaining walls

I like to think it will be such an occasion
the day I fall
I like to think I will weigh one thousand thousand tons
my early morning rumble will wake birds in their nests
observers will remark on the magnificence of my debris pile
all mangled masonry and plaster frosting
gleaners will sift the rubble for any sweetness that remains
someone will cheer
someone will post a video on youtube
someone will write a poem

I like to think that when I fall
you will remember me and tell
how I held straight and true
all the way down

question: have you seen a building come down?

mompoet - mushing metaphorically

Friday, October 23, 2009

writers' festival

Niece Maia and I went to the Vancouver International Writers' Festival on Thursday. We drove down to Granville Island together, for two daytime sessions, mostly populated by school groups.

In the morning, we saw "Some Words on Film." Robyn Harding is a novelist who is adapting one of her books for film. Don Calame is a screenwriter, who has published his first novel. They read from their work, and talked about the differences between writing for the page and for the screen, and the challenges of making a book into a screenplay. The audience was mostly high school writing and film students, and the question period was very interesting. I was as impressed with the students as I was with the presenters. An unexpected treat: the winner of the festival's high school writing challenge read her poem before the presentation began.

We had lunch in the market, and went to the hammock store to buy hardware for Fiona's hammock.

After lunch, we saw "Wanting Mor." Rukhsana Khan is a Toronto writer of children's and young adult fiction, who came to Ontario from Pakistan when she was a young girl. She read from her new novel about a girl who is abandoned by her family, and taken to live in a Kabul orphanage. In her presentation, she talked about life in Pakistan and Afghanistan, her experiences sponsoring children and building a library in an Afghan orphanage, and life as a Canadian Muslim woman. The middle school aged audience members responded to Rukhsana's frank and friendly presentation with riveting questions about Islam, terrorism, Barack Obama and families in crisis.

I am so glad that I attended these sessions, and that Maia came with me. It was a great day together, getting to know each other better and learning about the world and writing and how people live and think.

question: what are you reading these days?

mompoet - wanting mor

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

phone canvass

I've been volunteering a few hours each week for Fin Donnelly's election campaign. We're having a federal by-election in New Westminster-Coquitlam-Port Moody, because our previous MP, Dawn Black, resigned to be elected provincially. On November 9, there will be 4 by-elections in various parts of Canada. Ours is the only one in BC.

So far I have been helping with foot canvassing, which is knocking on doors to talk to people about Fin and the election. Most people know there's a by-election. Most people know Fin. It's good to see and hear what people are thinking and how they feel about the issues and candidates. My job is to carry a clipboard and make notes, like when someone wants a sign for their lawn, or if we find a house with new residents since the last voters' list was compiled. I like foot canvassing.

Last night I did some phone canvassing. I've done this before in the last federal election, just a year ago. I got a bit burned out on it, mostly because I called a lot of people who were generally receptive, but just tired of receiving so many phone calls from candidates, pollsters and other interested organizations. If you are in a union, your union calls, for example. Then there are the auto-dialer recorded messages from candidates. Even though you can decline or hang up on any caller, I know that it can be an imposition. I got tired of bugging people.

A year later, I was ready to give it a try again. It worked out pretty well last night. I phoned for 3 hours, using an auto-dialer computer program, which is new for me. The most challenging part for me is reading the name of the person that the call has reached. It pops up on the screen at the same time the person says hello. My worst blub was to call a Mr. MacDonald "Mr. MacDolski." Luckily, he laughed and still talked to me. I found a lot of people who were interested in the issues, wanted to talk, and were willing to indicate their preference. Those who didn't want to talk were polite when they said so. The three hours went by quickly. The notes that we once recorded on sheets of paper are recorded in the computer. I think this must help organize call-backs and data analysis a lot more easily than using the old method.

Here in BC, we'll be the first voters to cast ballots since the HST was imposed by our provincial government, in partnership with the federal government. I haven't talked to one person yet, at the door or on the phone, who thinks the HST is a good idea. It will be good to vote Yes for Fin, and No for the HST. Besides this issue, I am impressed with Fin's action on environmental issues, particular his concern for the well-being of the Fraser River habitat. From walking and talking with Fin and the people who know him, I am convinced that Fin will be here for us in our community. He's a good listener and a direct and honest responder. He knows Coquitlam from his time there as a city councillor. He grew up in Port Moody. He has spent countless hours meeting voters in New Westminster, and loves the river that runs through that city. I know also that Fin will speak up for the needs and rights of ordinary people when he's in Ottawa, and will be an advocate for federal support of health care, education and transportation.

So even if I do meet a couple of grumpy people on the phone this election, it will be worth it. As a canvasser, I'm proud to be representing Fin and the NDP. I believe in what they stand for, and I stand behind the actions they are taking here and in Ottawa. So now, I am ready for the next call.

question: did you know that there is a by-election on November 9?

mompoet - look for my call

Monday, October 19, 2009

friends version 47.0

You know when teen girls snuggle up together and take sweet/coy/adorable pictures of themselves cooing at the camera? Then they post it to their facebook profile? Well, this is the 47 year old women version of that photo - 3 of us, looking adorable, at our 30 year grad reunion. We had a really fun time. Kathy, Michele and I have known each other since we were 9 years old. I was so glad to be there with them.

question: do you coo?

mompoet - I admit it, sometimes I do

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a reflection on poverty

I came home from buying flowers and wine to take to supper at a friend's house, and sat down at the computer to read a story written by another friend, who will be at my writers' group tomorrow. As I sipped a cup of tea I surfed a bit, and came across this slideshow about one of the workers at First United Church in Vancouver.

question: how does this reflect on us?

mompoet - pondering

Thursday, October 15, 2009

things about which I am wondering this evening

  • what else would Lorenz Hart have written had he not died so young?
  • if I bake pumpkin muffins, will anyone else in the family eat them?
  • why does a can of pumpkin have enough in it for two pies? why doesn't it specify this on the outside of the label instead of on the inside, which you read only after you have taken the pumpkin home?
  • will the Vancouver Police really bust into someone's house and rip down their Olympic protest sign?
  • should I go back to the weight room tomorrow? or wait until next week? which will be better for my recovering back?
  • do I have a night available next week for election volunteering? or should I stay home?
  • can I say I've stayed home every night this week? I was out Monday night, but technically, it was part of the long weekend.
  • why does it feel so good to stay home every night? should I do this more often?
  • can I pass through the weekend without cleaning my house, which I did not clean last weekend because of a hurt back? will I successfully ignore the mess and enjoy the weekend?
  • should I have a glass of sherry right now?
  • will my thyroid test come back normal?
  • do they have a copy of Babes in Arms at the Burnaby Library?
  • should I go to a movie this weekend? if so, which movie?
  • where's a good place to buy rain gear?
  • will businesses in the downtown core stay open during the Olympics if they are not hospitality industry type businesses? or will they shut for a month or more?
  • where did I put my slippers?
  • will we ever have a dog again?
  • will I find quiet time to write my poem this weekend?
  • will Kristene and Gale come to Shoreline on Sunday?
  • will I do a good job of performing a slam poem tomorrow night at the church potluck? will my friends at church like it?
  • who will I meet at the homeless shelter orientation meeting on Saturday?
  • what will I wear for Halloween?
  • how will my surprise project for Night of the Living Dead Celebrities at Thundering Word turn out?
  • should I wash my jeans first? or the towels? should I wear dark jeans or light jeans to work tomorrow?
  • will rain gear really make me look like a dork?
  • isn't it better to be a dry dork than a wet noodle?
  • should I try swimming again?
  • what movie is Alex watching and when will he come home?
  • should I keep downloading podcasts at a rate faster than which I can ever listen to them?
  • will the encryption software that Dad sent get debugged so I can read his secret messages?
  • should I make the salad tonight? or tomorrow morning?
  • is it silly to wake up at 5:30am just so I can read blogs for half an hour in the morning before I get dressed for work?
  • should I make tea now?
  • should I pre-buy tickets to the Writer's Festival, or take my chances and buy them at the door?
  • will Maya have a good time at the writer's festival with me?
  • should I get a new camera?
  • will I remember tomorrow to call the health insurance, the doctor and the hairstylist?
  • how did my eyebrows grow so fast?
  • will we have a permanent homeless shelter in the tri-cities next winter?
  • will we have rapid transit in the tri-cities by 2020?
  • will I work at my new job for much longer? or go back to my old job soon?
  • if I took a university course, could my brain handle it?
  • if I tried a sudoko puzzle, could my brain handle it?
  • if I tried to do the laundry, could my brain handle it?
  • should I bake pumpkin muffins? or drink sherry? or wash my jeans?
  • will people get the flu vaccine when they want it?
  • will people get really sick in my neighbourhood, at work, in my family? or will it all blow over?
  • if lots of people get really sick, will businesses close so people can stay home and get better? will they close for 4 weeks? even if they are in the hospitality industry?
  • will the homeless shelters close if people get sick?
  • will there be homes for everyone by 2025?
  • will there be snow for my grandchildren?
  • should I put the snow tires on my car this month?
  • if I go back to my old job, can I continue to take the bus as much as I am doing now? or will I need my car every day again?
  • will anyone notice if I forget to load the dishwasher?
  • is the front door light on?
  • where are my pajamas?
question: enough already

mompoet - pondering

happy belated birthday

This is my Mom. We celebrated her birthday a little late on Friday. She does look pretty nice, doesn't she? (now you know where I get my good looks). Mom requested a pasta supper which I was happy to provide. This is her favourite cake - yellow cake made from scratch with chocolate custard icing. With Thanksgiving on Sunday, this made for two family suppers in one weekend, which was very nice indeed!

question - whose birthday is it in your family?

mompoet - Happy Birthday Mom!

dead poets' slam

On Monday, Vancouver Poetry Slam held its annual Dead Poets' Slam. I dressed up as Lorenz Hart of Rogers and Hart, and recited the lyrics to "The Lady is a Tramp." It was a very ghostly and poetic evening. I am pictured here with my dead friend, Jim Carroll.

question: who is your favourite dead poet?

mompoet - happy to be alive, glad to play dead for one evening, once a year

Monday, October 12, 2009


Thank you to everyone who has been lifting things and taking over chores that I usually do (mostly my husband and kids). My back is feeling better. I am standing up straight again, and moving slowly still, but no longer like the troll woman who lurched home with Kirsi on Saturday evening.

I know I didn't have to, but I baked 2 pies on Sunday afternoon, in preparation for the dinner that my mom cooked for all of us. Strange to say, the pie baking actually made my back feel better - or at least my back felt better after I baked the pies.

question: is there something you do (seemingly unrelated to the problem) that makes you feel better?

mompoet - finding "BOING" again

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I hurt my back yesterday. I have this old lower back injury from when I was about 20 years old. It first developed when I was teaching fitness like a maniac - Jane Fonda style. Throughout my twenties and thirties it flared up from time to time when I was stressed or tired or for no real reason whatsoever. It has not happened in a few years. Anyway, on Saturday afternoon, for no real reason whatsoever - TWANG! Now I'm hobbling around with my whole back in muscle spasms. I'm taking Robaxicet and using my magic wheat bag heated in the microwave, and not lifting anything. It hurts like the dickens.

I know that I will feel better tomorrow, and even better the next day. In the meantime, Mom is making the turkey for tonight's supper so I'm sure I can make it. Andy and Alex and Fiona are doing the dishes and bringing me stuff. I went for a walk down to Myrna's last night. Kirsi carried my wine and my magic bag, which was nice. She also made fun of me and said, "Look at me, I'm the gimp woman. I'm the troll!" Which made me stop walking and laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants. Unfortunately, I cannot walk and laugh at the same time right now. Fortunately, I still have bladder control, so I did not pee my pants. The laughter cheered me up.

Actually, I am not feeling glum about this because I know it's temporary, and it is forcing me to slow down this weekend, which is good. I am not good at slowing down, so I figure maybe this is for some good reason, although I could do without the excruciating pain part.

question: do you have a part of you that stops working when life gets to be overwhelming?

mompoet - the gimpy troll woman from Port Moody

Saturday, October 10, 2009

hip flask

I need a hip flask for costume that am planning for the Dead Poets' Slam at Vancouver Poetry Slam. I don't own one, so I decided to call my friends and ask to borrow one.

I thought about my friends, and decided to phone them in order of likelihood of owning a hip flask.

#1 - Michele
Michele answered the phone and we chatted a bit. Then I told her she is at the top of my list of friends who might own a hip flask - does she have one? She answered no, but she knows that I once owned a hip flask. I had forgotten that. But I could picture it when she told me. It was plastic, with a brassy lid, and a leather carrying case. Thinking about it, I think it was more of a purse flask. Thinking more about it. I remember - Michele gave it to me for my birthday when we were teenagers. Well. I thanked Michele, and told her I was somewhat disappointed that she, of all people, did not have a hip flask. She said she would take that as a compliment.

#2 - Myrna
Myrna was not home. I left her a voicemail explaining that she is number 2 on my list. Please call me.

#3 - Kirsi
Also not home. Left a voicemail.

#4 - Cathy
Cathy is the one who I predicted as the surprise owner of a hip flask. She is the nicest, kindest, most wonderful person I know, so good in all ways. But sometimes she surprises you with what she knows. Cathy was not home. Her son told me that she was out for the evening with her Mom, who is visiting from Prince Edward Island. I phoned Cathy's cell phone and left a voicemail asking if she has a hip flask.

#5 - Cynthia (Cathy's Mom from PEI)
I added in my voicemail that if Cathy doesn't have one, maybe Cynthia does. You never know.

#6 - Kathy
Kathy went to school with Michele and me. She told me that she doesn't have a hip flask, but maybe her husband does. She asked him and he said no, he does not have a hip flask.

All this time, Andy is telling me I don't need to phone around, because I can get a hip flask at the dollar store. He's seen them there. Fiona tells me I don't need to phone around because I can get a hip flask at the costume store also.

Ok, okay, I know. I'm having fun with this, so let me phone.

About this time I post a new status line on facebook.

I need to borrow a hip flask for the dead poets' slam on Monday at Cafe Deux Soleils - so far none of my friends have one (or at least they won't tell me they have one).

I'm waiting for someone to call me back, and in the meantime loading the dishwasher and baking a birthday cake for my mom (who I am sure does NOT have a hip flask), when the doorbell rings. It's Rhonda, from next door, and she has a hip flask to loan me. It's her husband Chris's hip flask. Thank you Rhonda and Chris!

#4 - Cathy (continued)
Later, I get an email and a facebook comment from Cathy. She has a hip flask for me. She and her husband found it while they were cleaning out a cupboard. I won't go into the details, but it seems like it's something left behind by someone not in their family. Cathy assures me that it is not Cynthia's hip flask (darn, that would have been good if it was). So anyway, now I have 2 hip flasks.

#3 - Kirsi (continued)
About 7:30 the next morning, my phone rings. It's Kirsi. Right away when I answer, she says, "I have always thought it would be very convenient to have a hip flask. That way when I'm out somewhere and I need a drink, I don't have to find a bar." Kirsi has the right idea, but she does not have a hip flask.

#2 - Myrna (continued)
Myrna leaves me a voicemail at suppertime to say that she does not have a hip flask, but she did give one to her friend Cheryl as a gift. If Cheryl still has it, Myrna will ask if I can borrow it. So maybe I have 3 hip flasks.

question: who would you call to borrow a hip flask?

mompoet - drat! I missed Karen! I bet she has one too.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

the further adventures of Nelson the rat

Nelson will soon go to Egypt. My friend Diana McNamara told me that her cousin Janet will soon travel to Africa. Janet's husband is running in a cross-desert foot race in the Sahara. Diana told Janet about Nelson, the traveling plastic rat, and Janet invited him to come along.

Diana facebooked me Janet's work phone number and I went to Janet's work yesterday afternoon. She's a hair stylist at Stylin' Divas in Port Moody, which is about a kilometer from my house. So I know that this is in the stars for Nelson to go to the Sahara with Janet.

I bid Nelson farewell in a funky basement salon and left him Janet's care. She promised him that she will take him on a camel ride.

Janet and her husband will be back in early November. I'll post the photos when I get them. Janet says Nelson's pedicure is very nice. I'm hoping that before or after (or during) the trip, he might get styled up by Janet and the ladies at Stylin' Divas. Nelson likes to be styled. Yup he does.

question: have you been to the desert?

mompoet - wishing Nelson a happy time and saying thank you to Diana and Janet

Sunday, October 04, 2009

what's cooking

Fiona: Mom, does the fact that your beets smell pretty rancid indicate that they are almost cooked?

Mom: Yup.

Fiona: Thought so.

question: do you eat beets?

mompoet - that's not "rancid" - that's earthy


Last night I went to my high school 30 year reunion. The members of Burnaby North Class of '79 are 47 and 48 years old for the most part. We have celebrated 10 and 20 years before this. This was the smallest, most casual and friendliest of the gatherings.

I knew that my good friends Kathy and Michele would be there. We have known each other since Grade 4, and are still very much in each others' lives. Our friend Betty surprised and delighted up by attending at the last minute. I met Betty in Grade 7, when I switched elementary schools. At high school, there were friends from both my grade 4-6 and my grade 7 school, so Betty is a friend to Michele and Kathy also. We missed our other good friends, Vic, Jeannie and Denise, who did not attend.

Thirty years later we are all almost 3 times as old as we were when we graduated. There were lots of people who I remembered a little bit, and a few who I remembered very well. Our graduation class was big, so there were people who I didn't know, even when I was at school.
At the reunion, I just walked around introducing myself to people and saying, "Who are you? I am Sue." It was okay when I connected with someone I didn't know or remember, because they also didn't know me, which was kind of funny in an awkward way, but awkward was pretty much the theme of the evening, in a friendly and funny way. I was glad to meet up with some old friends, and to trade stories about high school. I met my old grad partner (we were matched with prom dates by a random draw) and the guy who pulled my hair in English class then pretended it was someone else. None of the hotshot chemistry and math students with whom I competed for top marks and egghead bragging rights were there. Too bad, I would like to know they are living fabulous lives now. I did see some of the fun and funny girls who shared the "not popular but okay with it because popular is stupid," category with me. I talked with the class valedictorian (who beat me and one other girl to be elected for the role because he was both smart and popular - I was just smart, the other girl was popular). We talked about intersecting social sets and the benefits of being at the intersection. I met with athletes who are still athletes and whose kids are athletes, and quiet, shy people who are now at ease in their own skin, chatting casually with people they haven't seen in years. I saw beautiful boys and girls who are still beautiful, and plain Janes and Joes who have blossomed. In general, the women seem to have aged more gracefully than the men, but we all looked pretty good for almost 50 years old. Six classmates have died, which is a shock to know. Forty-eight is far too young to not be alive any more. A few people went outside to smoke pot. A few people got drunk. Mostly we just chatted and laughed and realised that the people who showed up to the reunion were pretty much alike, encountering the middle of life with a few regrets, but also lots of energy and optimism and good things going on. There were no discernible cliques and no apparent drama. Everyone must have been somewhat nervous about attending, but once we got there, it was pretty mellow, and it looked like everyone stayed and mixed. I guess about 120 people were there, and I managed ot talk to maybe half of them. There wasn't anyone who I wanted to get back in touch with who I'm not in touch with already. It was satisfying to find know that the same people I knew then are around now, living interesting lives and interested to know how the others' lives are going.

We joked about being all botox and artificial hips at the next reunion if there is one. I'm guessing we'll still just be us - maybe fewer by the time we're almost 60, all just living ordinary lives and happy to know that others are too.

Michele and I left at about 11:30. I had a good time. I'll go to the 40th if there is one.

question: have you been to a reunion of any kind?

mompoet - wondering at what we have in common with those who shared our paths in the past


This morning's newspaper headline announced that swine flu has come early to British Columbia and advised that health experts are telling athletes and church-goers to revise their practices to reduce physical contact that may spread the virus.

At church this morning, our minister, Julie Lebrun, mentioned the news coverage, and suggested that we each decide how we would like to pass the peace - by handshake, bow or now, or elbow tap, as suggested in the newspaper. I was curious to see what would happen.

At passing the peace time, my friend Karen asked, "do you want to shake hands? or elbow tap?" we tried the latter for the novelty of it, but it was unsatisfactory. I suggested we bump hips. That was more emphatic and also fun. Karen headed down the aisle to bump hips with other congregation members. I decided to follow the lead of each person who greeted me. Some shook hands, some bowed with hands in prayer position - our current practice for those who are vulnerable to infection, or suffering from a cold or other ailment. My favourite was Dorothy, one of the elders of our congregation, and a leader-by-example in everything she does. Dorothy always clasps your hand in both of hers when she passes the peace. She looks you in the eye and gives the warmest, most sincere greeting that you could ever want. Well, today, Dorothy gave hugs, big warm juicy hugs with a "God be with you," right in the ear while she hugged. It felt so reassuring that she didn't think we'd all perish from influenza, just because we decided to make contact with our friends and neighbours at church.

I'm going to follow her lead next week and offer hugs. If I feel sick, I'll stay home. I'll also give only what people want - so there will still be some bowing and nodding, and maybe some more hip-bumps. Those are good too.

question: to what lengths should we go to protect ourselves from the virus that is among us?

mompoet - wondering about the risk/benefit balance of all of this

visiting cousin

Cousin Kirsty is in town from London for a week and a bit more. She's the daughter of Andy's Mom's Scottish cousins Margaret and Phil, who visited with us in July. Kirsty works for St. George's University, and is here visiting high schools here, to make presentations to students who may decide to pursue degrees overseas.

We haven't seen Kirsty since she was 15 years old - about 10 years ago, so it was like meeting someone for the first time. She came for supper Friday. After supper we drove over to Andy's Mom's place, bringing dessert with us. We had a nice visit, and Andy's Mom gave Kirsty a book about the power plant at Stave Falls, where she grew up. On Saturday, we met Kirsty at her hotel downtown, and together we took the Aquabus over to Granville Island. We explored the shops and galleries there and ate lunch at the market, then walked out along the south side seawalk as far as Vanier Park. It was good to get to know our London cousin. She has traveled to many places in the world and has a very interesting job at the university, working to encourage at-risk youth to stay in school and pursue post-secondary education. We compared notes about post-secondary education in Canada and the UK and talked about politics, economics, the environment, religion, social justice... we covered a lot of good territory! Kirsty's co-worker is joining her Monday, and together they will visit Victoria and visit more schools in the Vancouver area as well, so we probably won't see her again before she returns home next Saturday. We feel glad to have spent time with her, and hope to see her again.

I'll post a photo of us together when Kirsty emails it to us - forgot to bring my own camera!

question: who has visited you recently?

mompoet - the world is a small place, with people connecting all over it, all the time

Friday, October 02, 2009

lucky day

October 1 turned out to be pretty nice. I had a good day at work, and a massage on my break! Our massage school students are back, with an outreach clinic offering 1 hour sessions for just $15. The appointments book up quickly, but I managed to snag one each month from now until Christmas. The student who worked with me did some nice things to help my perpetually tight neck and upper back muscles, and instructed me to stretch out my pecs using a door frame as a brace. I should get stronger in my upper back and stretchier in my upper front. That's all.

After supper I drove into Vancouver to take part in a focus group about BCAA. I was invited to do this via the company's website and newsletter. I've been a BCAA member for over 25 years, which is very helpful to me, considering I lock my keys in the car pretty frequently, and I drive an old car that sometimes needs a lift to the mechanic's place. Oh, yes, occasionally I leave the headlights on. Oh well.

So I got to the place, found a parking spot in the dark, in the rain. It's almost 8pm by now and I'm supposed to be there from 8-10pm, but they'll pay me $80 so that's good. I went into the office and signed in. The waiting room is full of people and we're all wearing nametags and just sitting there, wondering what this will be like. Then the receptionist comes up to me and tells me I can go home, and they'll pay me the $80 anyway. Turns out they invite 11 people when they really need 10, in case of a no show. Thursday night at 8pm there were 11 people. Somebody had to go. I won the prize. YAY! So I went home and baked an apple crisp before I went to bed.

question: how is your luck, these days?

mompoet - lucky, lucky, lucky

Thursday, October 01, 2009


September is over. What a beautiful, confusing, overwhelming, hairpin-turn time of year. It feels good to ease into October.

At work, I have completed a huge, major, project, and mostly got my fall activities off to a good start. I'm dearly missing my co-worker who is on a five-week European vacation, and grateful for my other co-workers and boss, who are helping me keep going through this busy time. I know things are getting better because I am stopping more frequently to have sincere, friendly conversations and not dreading when the phone rings. You know those days when you're returning a voicemail and find 2 more when you hang up? then your cell phone rings when you are on your landline, and your landline rings while you are eating a carrot at your desk because you don't have time for lunch, then you're on your landline and cellphone simultaneously, while trying to swallow carrot bits without choking, and someone else walks into your office and starts talking while you are on two phones and asphyxiating simultaneously? oh well.

I have been enjoying my walks home from work, which is great relaxation as well as good exercise. We have an eventful weekend coming up, so that is on my mind. Cousin Kirsty is here from England, staying downtown, but coming here for supper Friday, then we'll plan further adventures. My 30 year grad reunion is Saturday evening. Sunday, Fiona and her friends are performing in a family show for the Port Moody Arts Festival. Alex will work all weekend, and Andy is likely to be called in to work too. I just hope we'll have one supper together (Sunday?) and we'll be able to get everyone where he/she needs to go. It's still busy for sure, but not with the emotional wallop of September. We have adjusted.

We're still waiting to find out when the election will be called. My guess is that it will be a by-election, rather than a general election, and that it will be called on the very last day that it legally can be called - October 13. So we'll have an election in November. That will be interesting, with the shelter running at our church that month. I'll have to pace my days - between early morning at the church and evenings helping with canvassing. Thinking about it, I know that it will be tiring but gratifying. It feels good to be able to do something about the world. Zest beats rest most days.

question: how are you at the turn of the month?

mompoet - pondering the next, and the next and the next