Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amber and Santo's Wedding

We attended the wedding of Amber and Santo on Saturday. Amber is the daughter of our good friends, Kathy and John. Kathy, John and Amber are not Italian, but Santo is, so it was a big Italian wedding. We began at the church at 1pm. The ceremony was beautiful. After that, we went home and rested for a while, then changed from church clothes to party clothes (well, at least I did) and headed out to the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver for the banquet.

We sat with our friends Michele and Brent. Kathy, Michele and I have known each other since grade 4. We've all known Amber since she was born. We've known Santo for a few years and we think he's pretty nice too. He gets the "friends of Amber's Mom stamp of approval."

We've been to a few Italian weddings, so we were prepared. We did not eat for a few days leading up the the wedding. True to form, there was a splendid multi-course sit-down meal and ample wine. I employed my "half a plate or less" technique and did not eat all of the yummy food that was served, so I made it. So did Andy and Alex. After the meal, the cappucino bar and gelato bar opened immediately, in case anyone was hungry. Then at 11:30, there was a late night buffet, with pizza and pastry. Alex was the only one able to eat at that time. In between all of the eating there were speeches, dancing, toasts, visiting and of course a radiant bride and her delighted groom. Kathy and John, and Santo's parents Sandra and Carmen did a wonderful job, providing for 300 guests in wonderful style.

I hope you like the pictures!

question: how many people attended your wedding?

mompoet - I'll dig up some wedding photos and scan them before Andy and I have our 25th. We had 50 guests at our wedding.

Friday, June 26, 2009

parking lot

I've see the first two, but never the third. This is at the new Shoppers Drug Mart in Port Moody.

question: who will be the first to park in the new spots?

mompoet - curiouser and curiouser

Thursday, June 25, 2009


On Tuesday at work, I took a half-day course to learn how to use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). We have them at all of our recreation centres, to use in case someone's heart stops working. Already, one has been used to save a life at one of our swimming pools. Here's the story.

We learned that defibrillation is more effective than CPR alone. We also learned that it is relatively easy with the device. It looks like a child's toy cassete tape player. Once activated, it gives voice commands to lead the operator through the steps to assess heart rhythm and administer a shock if necessary. This is alternated with 2 minute rounds of CPR - also voice prompted by the machine. We practiced on dummies with sensors that indicated if we were doing it right - the CPR and the use of the AED so we can be sure we understand and know how to do it correctly.

I first took CPR training when I was about 19 years old. I have been re-certifying every two years since then. The procedure seems to become simpler every few years. If you took it in the past and have let it lapse, you'll be surprised when you take it again. AED recertification will be provided to us at work annually, so I'll be sure to stay up-to-date.

I hope I never need to use my new skills, but if I do, now I know what to do beyond breathing and chest compressions.

question: do you know how to move oxygenated blood to a person's brain until help arrives?

mompoet - shockingly simple

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

for my friend Michael

who was has been accepted into the Master of Library Sciences Program at UBC - YAY! I hope your library will be just like this one:

question: is there anyone better than a librarian?

mompoet - I don't think so

Monday, June 22, 2009

ball game

Andy, Alex and I saw the season opener for the Vancouver Canadians, our Vancouver baseball team. We got a super deal through my union: barbeque supper at the park, the game and fireworks after. It was my first time going to a baseball game, so too bad the Canadians lost 1:10, but we had fun anyway.

I was intrigued by the oldness of some of it. The stadium is well-loved and well kept. I got a kick out of the scoreboard, with someone standing behind it, taking the numbers out and sliding new ones into the slots. When the fireworks began, we saw someone take a couple of the numbers out, and watch the show through the opening in the scoreboard.

The people-watching was as much fun as the game. There's a lot of tradition about how people dress and act and things they chant and yell and sing. The ball club adds to the fun with contests and hijinks on the field between innings. And then, during the fireworks, a streaker jumped on the field at third base and slid into home plate. There was a bit of something for everyone!

question: have you been to the ball game?

mompoet - I will go again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

water shoes

In a couple of months, Andy and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with a week in Mexico. We are pretty excited to say the least, having not gone on a grown-up, just-us vacation since oh, about 25 years ago. We'll relax at an all inclusive resort near Playa del Carmen, go look at some ruins, snorkel, drink margaritas and generally relax and enjoy a new place and some welcome time together. If there's not a hurricane, we hope to have our anniversary dinner (on the 12th) on the beach.

For now, the prospect seems surreal and better than Christmas. I am gently stoking my anticipation by buying a new bathing suit, water shoes, a beach bag. We look at pictures of our hotel and the city and the region on the internet. We talk to friends for tourist advice: pesos or American dollars? does he really need long pants for dinner in the fancy restaurant? I am taking lunch hour Spanish conversation lessons, so I can ask for the banyo and say hello, my name is Susanna in Spanish. The preparation is part of the fun.

Soon we will be there. I hope it will be every bit as much fun as we envision it.

question: what do you do when you are looking forward to a treat?

mompoet - sky blue water shoes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

dog love haiku

I cry every
morning when I walk her, she's
nudging heaven's gate

news update

A truck ran over my white cardigan in the parking lot at work. Luckily I was not in it at the time. My sweater, I mean (but I wasn't in the truck either).

question: have you ever lost your wrap under a vehicle?

mompoet - wondering if I can Shout it out and fluff it up?

june is busting out all over

Don't you just feel like this sometimes?

question: well, don't you?

mompoet - busting a grin

Monday, June 15, 2009

rhubarb crisp

I don't know if I've blogged this recipe before, but it's so good, I don't care.

If you have rhubarb in your garden, use some of it to make this. Otherwise, buy some - it's in the produce stores now.

Rhubarb Crisp

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup veg oil
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup sugar
2 tbs cornstach
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9 inch casserole, pie pan or glass cake pan.

Mix together the brown sugar, flour, oats, oil and cinnamon to make a crumbly mixture. Press half of this into the bottom of the pan.

Put the rhubarb on top of the base, in the pan.

Mix the white sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Once they are well combined, stir in the water. Bring this to a boil and cook until thickened (stir frequently). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb in the pan.

Top with the other half of the crumbly mixture.

Bake about one hour.

If you like, you can double it. My family likes.

Good warm or cold, but especially good warm with ice cream.

question: what's cooking?

mompoet - cornucopia of yumminess all around us

Saturday, June 13, 2009

happy birthday, Dad!

My sister Barb is in town for the weekend, for a teachers' meeting. We celebrated Dad's birthday a week early with a delicious supper out and Mom's famous angel food cake. Here's Dad, blowing out the candles (74 in binary).

question: anyone else have a father whose birthday is impossibly close to father's day? how do you manage?

mompoet - loving my dad

fish vision glasses

Check out this YouTube video from Greenpeace, then go the their website to find out about sustainable seafood.

question: what's on your table when you have a craving for fish?

mompoet - thinking about the oceans

Friday, June 12, 2009


is like a closet whose door you open and a dozen things topple out on your head.

When you try to close the closet you have to stuff even more things back in, and lean on the door.

Luckily, they are mostly good things - just so many of them! What with school ending, and summer ramping up fast, and assorted other distractions, we have been on the go pretty much non-stop every day since even before the beginning of the month.

I gauge my "easiness" of a week by how many evenings I get to spend at home. Usually I have one night at home between Monday and Thursday. Sometimes I have 2. A lovely, slow week has 3 evenings during which I do not have to be out for significant time. (This does not count driving kids to their activities.) For the past 3 weeks I have had just 1 weeknight at home. Lots of the other nights have faced competing demands, causing me to turn down invitations and cancel commitments. Everything is good, just too much of it.

Yesterday I began the day early, by stopping by the church to pick up sandwiches that the group had made and refrigerated Wednesday evening. I put them into cooler chests and drove downtown for an 8am drop-off at the mission. I do this just once a month, and really enjoy it. Yesterday it was warm and bright out. The missions' guests seemed mostly happy and relaxed. The staff and volunteers were calm and upbeat. After that I drove back to work where I sat in a board meeting all morning. I finished just in time for a cycle class on my lunch break. That's always a good way to unwind after an intense meeting. By the end of the class I felt centred (and hungry - breakfast was a long time ago!). I showered, changed, wolfed my packed lunch, then worked a long day - until 8pm, because I was signed on as site supervisor (the person who looks after emergencies, complaints, decision-making etc for the rec centre) for the afternoon and evening. It was a quiet shift, and I had the treat of eating supper at the office with Fiona, who stopped by after school, and picked up sushi for us both. While I was working, Alex bused to the centre and took my car from the parking lot to drive to work. At 8pm Andy drove over, picked me up and brought me home. At home: a puddle on the rug from the dog, so I shampooed that part of the carpet, put on some laundry, then poured a glass of red wine and breathed out....ahhhh.

Today, I have the day off work. The payoff for marathon days is some short days or days off in return. I continue to work a flex schedule, which suits my flexible life.

My plans: a walk with the dog, another cycle class (and some weights - woo hoo!), a couple of errands, finish sewing a dress, pick up Fi and all of the contents of her emptied locker from school, drive Alex to work, drive Fi to a performance commitment, then go meet my parents and my sister (in town from Cranbrook) for supper, then pick up Alex and Fi and come home. Maybe another glass of red wine at the end of all that?

I am super excited to see Barb this evening. She's in town for a teacher conference. I haven't seen her in months. Her daughter Maya graduates from high school this month, so I'm thinking her June is something like ours. I hope her getaway weekend is relaxing.

I hope that some time today I can open the closet door, dodge any falling bowling balls, and have a look at this crazy month, marvel at its hodge-podge of crazy goodness and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. June won't be like this my whole life long. I'm going to love the closet the way it is today.

question: how does your closet look right now?

mompoet - grinning and dodging

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the bus driver

I finally talked to the bus driver today.

For a long time, I have been thinking about one of the drivers in whose bus I ride to work. I usually take a bus 15 minutes earlier than his, but from time to time, I ride on his bus. Like other community shuttle drivers, he plays the radio in his bus - so we have music while we ride.

The trouble is, this bus driver chooses a radio station whose morning show host is very rude. The music is great, but in between songs, the radio host goes on an on with very crude comments and jokes that make me feel totally embarrassed, and offended that this kind of talk is being imposed on me and the other riders. The radio plays loud and clear enough to be heard to the back of the bus, and riders include grandparents, parents, small children, teens on their way to school, university students, and ordinary people like me. It has to be bugging more than just me.

Still, I have had trouble working up the nerve to talk to the driver about it. I don't think he's just a jerk. Whenever his young nephew is waiting for the school bus along the route, he slows his bus down, opens the door, and tosses out a granola bar or apple to the boy as we pass by. He told me once how much he likes that kid, and wants him to know that he is loved.

For a little while, he switched stations, and I was relieved. Yesterday morning, the awful station was tuned in again, with even more hideous and borderline obscene banter. I was determined to talk to the driver as we approached my stop. Just as the radio host was going to launch into a contest called "Who's Nailin' Palin?" the driver switched stations.

I found my opening and went up to the driver. I thanked him for switching the radio, and told him that I enjoy the music on that station, but find the host very rude. I told him that I would not want children to listen to that kind of talk while they ride the bus. He just laughed in an uncomfortable way "heh heh heh." I wished him a good day and disembarked.

I have a feeling he has known all along that this is not appropriate. I hope that he knows now that at least one passenger does not want to hear that. I feel good that I said something, and wish I had done so sooner.

question: when have you stayed quiet until you found courage?

mompoet - wondering at the nature of us

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Alex Year One Grad

Alex received his Certificate in Motion Picture Studies at Capilano University last night. He has completed the one-year program.

The ceremony was lovely, celebrating the accomplishments of students in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, and also the one year anniversary of Capilano's designation as a university. Along with students from Alex's program, there were acting, musical theatre and jazz students, costume designers, animators and many others. Still, the ceremony was just 1 hour long, which was a blessing. It's still a small university, and 5 ceremonies were held, one for each faculty or group of faculties.

Now Alex is waitlisted for the 2nd year of Motion Picture Studies, which will result in a diploma.

question: what was your grad ceremony like?

mompoet - I think mine was about 4.5 hours long

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Nelson is coming home

Here are some messages I have exchanged with my friend Stacie Boschma, who lives in Decatur, Georgia. Stacie, a poet, visited Vancouver in August, while she was on tour. When she featured at the Vancouver Poetry Slam, I introduced her to Nelson, my pet plastic rat. Nelson asked if he could tour with Stacie and she said yes. Since then, he has traveled around the US with her, and has spent the winter living at her place.

Here are the messages:

Mompoet to Stacie

Hi Stacie,

I'm still looking forward to your visit, and hoping your summer is starting out fruitful and vegetableful.

In the meantime, my husband and I have planned a trip to Mexico for our 25th anniversary on Aug 12. We're flying out of Vancouver on the 8th. We'd love to take Nelson with us. Is there any way he could come home to Vancouver in time to travel with us?

Hope you are well, and Nelson is not redecorating your veranda with dream catchers and fuzzy dice (he has dubious taste in interior decorating).


Stacie to Mompoet

I told Nelson about the Mexico trip and he squealed, rat like, at the adventure of the idea. And then we sat down for a heart to heart about us, our long travels together and all those meandering conversations about the vagaries of love and romance. The truth is that Nelson's wanderlust has been nipping at his heels, and I've seen the way he watches the sunrise through my window. He's a sweet one, never demanding to go, but I feel the way our relationship has changed, and I know there's no holding Nelson back from the wide world he can't stop exploring.

So we sipped coffee from our differently sized mugs and let nostalgia sweep us back to the early morning drive through Arkansas, the bright lights of Portland, the dusty landscape of California's desert. It was good to revisit the places and to remember the hurt and the joy of it all. He's my favorite tour mate yet, and I love him enough to cheer all the journeys ahead of him. Wherever I go, Nelson will be with me, and wherever he goes, he'll go with my fondest wishes.

I'll stow him into some appropriate container and hide him away in a Vancouver-bound train or plane, and trust that he finds his way home safe. There's a great big world out there, and no one knows that better than Nelson, intrepid traveler, and a fine plastic friend.

Mompoet to Stacie

Thank you Stacie! Thank you so much!

Your message made my day. I'm not sure which is better, knowing that Nelson is coming home, or that your time together has meant so much to both of you.

Thank you for giving Nelson the gifts of the road and your love, and for giving me the gift of appreciating our little rat friend the way you do.


So Nelson will be home in time to travel with us again. Stacie will visit Vancouver in the Fall, so it's not good-bye forever.

question: who is your favourite traveling companion?

mompoet - tickled by the image of two differently-sized coffee cups

Saturday, June 06, 2009

There's a website that lists current and classic movies, with suggested times that it's safe to run to the bathroom. You even get a synopsis of what's going to happen while you're away, but it's scrambled so as not to be a spoiler. I guess you could take your iPod Touch into the bathroom, hope for wifi, then look up the missed content on your way back to the theatre.

Check it out for sure.

question: do you ever run to the bathroom during a movie?

mompoet - big water drinker, frequent emptier

some things for which I am grateful

Spanish lessons
lettuce in a box
the Internet
my family
jazz music
flip flops (as in shoes)
Acts (as in the New Testament)
the bread machine
hair gel
indoor cat
Joe the groundskeeper
unscented candles
ripe tomatoes

Thursday, June 04, 2009

helpful household hints (if you love your toes)

1. Do not talk on the phone and load the dishwasher at the same time. It is inconsiderate to the person who called you (he or she knows you are loading the dishwasher because of the clanking and your inattentive responses), AND it is hazardous.

2. When the sink has water and dishes in it, and you are trying to take the dishes out of the sink and put them into the dishwasher AND talk on the phone, empty the water from the sink before removing the dishes. Fishing around in slippery water for knives and forks is foolish, reckless and perilous.

3. Flatware and utensils go eating/cutting side UP in the cutlery rack. If your mother taught you "business end down," she was just wrong. I know this. My mother is perfect in every way. That is why I am perfect in most ways, particularly in respect to knowing how to properly load the dishwasher. (Please note: knowing and doing are not always the same.)

4. Do not run with scissors unless you are in a scissors relay race.

5. Wear a helmet and safety gloves when loading the dishwasher.

6. Steak knives are small and lightweight, but every bit as deadly as machetes or chainsaws, when handled without proper care and attention.

7. While you are talking on the phone and loading the dishwasher and swishing your hands around in old sink water and finding cutlery to place sharp end up in the dishwasher rack, allow yourself a maximum of 4 pieces of cutlery per grab. Remember, the word cutlery includes the word "cut" for a reason. It includes the word "lery" for no reason whatsoever.

8. Cutlery that has just been removed from slippery sink water is slippery cutlery.

9. When a steak knife falls, its acceleration is equal to the acceleration of a falling feather or a falling cannonball.

10. If you drop a feather on your foot. It does not hurt.

11. It is ridiculous to imagine dropping a cannonball on your foot. Nobody would be so silly as to lift a cannonball over his or her foot.

12. When you are talking on the phone and loading the dishwasher and lifting slippery cutlery sharp side down from the slippery sink water with your slippery hands, and you drop a steak knife, wear closed-toed shoes.

13. A steak knife, dropped from a slippery hand, onto an unprotected foot, will most certainly find its way, pointy side down, to the spot just between the big toe and second toe. This hurts substantially more than dropping a feather on the same part of the foot. Also, a feather does not cause bleeding.

14. Keep bandaids near your dishwasher at all times.

question: did you every throw a knife at your own foot?

mompoet - just call me "limpy the kitchen dork."

Monday, June 01, 2009


I have been waking early each morning - perhaps because of the warmth and brightness of late spring. The extra hour each morning is a treat, and I'm not feeling especially tired at night, so I'll take it!

This morning, before waking, I dreamed about my day today. At work we will host the official opening of an outdoor fitness park for older adults, built on the grounds of the rec centre. We have chairs, cake, a ribbon for cutting, VIPs, parking attendants, directional signs - all in all a big fuss and a very special morning. So it's natural that I dreamed about it.

In the dream, a friend suggests I should arrive at work in "a long white dress, fancy but without too many decorations, and puffy sleeves." Somehow, I walk to work (which happens to be at the local high school) and arrive wearing a muslin mockup of a bride's dress. When I arrive I see the setup for a party and realise it's the day for the park opening, and I have work to do, arranging and hosting. I am dressed inappropriately! I try to find my boss, who is, coincidentally, my grade 8 socials studies teacher, to tell her that I must run home to change and will return as soon as I can. She cannot be found. I run out of the school and find myself in the student parking lot, with my helpful friend, who tells me I'll never make it home and back in time. So I cleverly decide to steal a car from the parking lot. I choose an ancient wood-panelled station wagon. The driver has left the key in the car, so my friend and I get in and drive away. I arrive at home, and decide I have made a mistake. The owner of the car will report it missing and I will be found and arrested for stealing a car. I decide to go to the police station to explain that I took the car, but realise the error of my ways. I am embarassed to go to the police station in a mock-up of a wedding dress, but time is running short and I don't have time to change. I try to park the car beside the police station, but the brakes don't work. I haul on the emergency brake and pull the car to a stop. When I get out, I see that the car is massively damaged on the passenger side. Did I do this? or was it half-crushed when I took it and I just didn't notice? I wake up.

question - does anyone else still set their anxiety dreams at high school?

mompoet - I ironed my clothing last night and will dress appropriately for today's event (and take transit to work)