Monday, November 30, 2009

birthday part 3

Believe it or not: another day of birthday delights. Sunday being the actual day, I slept in (again). When I awoke I read poetry, wrote a bit, ate fruit and yogurt. Everyone else got up and we went to the movie. We saw Pirate Radio, a massively fun romp with a great soundtrack. Mom and Maya came along with us.

Back at home, everyone helped to get supper ready. Dad joined us. We ate pasta and prawns and Italian sausages and a big salad with pomegranate and pecans in it, and some sweet chili in the dressing. Mom made her special mocha angel food cake (the best of both worlds).

Barb phoned from Cranbrook to wish me a happy day. Kirsi and her family sang to me over the phone. Robin called. Louise emailed. Facebook was swamped with birthday wall posts for me. There were gifts and cards and love all around.

Now I am full of birthday weekend, and happy to return to my happy everyday. I am going to try to read and write more poems for the next 30 days (at least). My birthday new year resolution.

question: did you have a lovely weekend too?

mompoet - full up with the goodness of friends and family, and fully understanding how fortunate I am

walk at dawn

along cliff's edge
updraft sea swell
grass stones air
keep to the path

contemplate gulls
parse cormorants
sail a pebble high out over
shoes in the groove of
stay the safe stride

same walk
same each day
parallel paces
deviation proscribed
routine - so often
just a step to the left (or right)
of the jagged shore

Sunday, November 29, 2009

birthday part two

Oh joyous delight! A birthday weekend full of time treasures.

Saturday I slept in(ish) and read a book over breakfast. At 10 I went to the spa and had my brows shaped. I drove Fiona to rehearsal, then came home, ate spicy carrot soup for lunch and organized the crawl space.

Okay, organizing the crawl space doesn't really count as a birthday treat, except that I got all of the new wine that I bottled last week organized for easy access, and recycled about 20 cardboard boxes that we had been keeping just in case the contents needed to be returned. While I was in there, I got out all of the Christmas decorations, and decided that I either need to do some canning, or give away all of these jars and tell my friends to stop giving me all of their old jars now that they have stopped canning. hmmm

I finished reading Remembering the Bones. Awesome ending. I am now a confirmed Frances Itani fan. I cleaned my bedroom and put all of my baubles in the new jewelery box that Kathy gave me for my birthday. At 5, I went over to the Hyskas and fed Sasha supper and tried to let her out to pee. She did not want to go out, but she let me pet her belly.

Andy took me out for pasta supper, then we went to Cafe Deux Soleils to see Sweater Vest's remount of the bubble gum ballet that shut down the Swiss Parliament in 1975. It was both historical and hysterical, an evening of weirdness that was, in turn strange, boring, alarming, disgusting, rousing and hilarious.

We came home and crawled into flannel sheets. This morning I woke up hoping for snow. None yet, so I wrote a poem.

It was a simple day, but delicious.

question: how did you spend your Saturday?

mompoet - loving this birthday

my plan (a poem)

if I thought I could plan this day, I would
sometimes segments
sometimes segments
easily defined as taut time packages
run run stop
run run stop
ballpoint never out of ink
each line fully punctuated

more often:
run-ons of undetermined duration
pitch - halt - restart - overlap
incomplete transmission
incomplete transmission
bleat blat

television teaches us
30 minutes for every story
one hour for significant communication
dark screen feeds us neat-wrapped trays of
weekly what's next

when really, a minute
a day or week not nearly long enough
for what I need to say to you
years evaporate - just puddles on pavement
every list, every thought, every hope
someone else's elephant
a leaf on the wind

question: how do you plan?

mompoet - happy birthday to me

Friday, November 27, 2009

my birthday present to myself

Today I took the day off work, as a birthday present to myself. I'll celebrate with the family on Sunday, but today was my day to do just what I want with just me.

I slept in until YIKES 7:15am, which felt totally luxurious. I don't even sleep in on the weekend anymore, what with driving Fi to rehearsal Saturdays and going to church Sundays. After breakfast, I went for a super hard bike workout at the rec centre. I love the Friday morning class, but I can't attend when I'm working, because my work partner, Linda, teaches it. It felt great to sweat and sprint and pedal up imaginary hills. I like those bikes.

After showering and dressing, I went over to the mall for only about 15 minutes and grabbed a couple of small Christmas presents. I bought a child's toy for our work Christmas party. It's fun to shop for a little girl again. I hope she likes what I chose.

Then I drove to the movie theatre, and saw Precious. It was totally satisfying. I cried a lot less than I thought I would, and felt more admiration and wonderment than sympathy for the people in the story. This is a gem of a movie. I won't tell anything about it. You just have to go see it. Just know it's not the sentimental story you think it might be, having Oprah Winfrey as a producer. She came on board after the movie was finished, to help the show get out. It's really good. If you listen to the podcast of today's Q from CBC radio, you can hear a repeat of an interview from a couple of weeks back, with directory Lee Daniels.

After the movie, I grabbed a couple of groceries. I'm planning a communally cooked supper for my family birthday celebration. I picked up a few things I needed, and a couple of small gifts for my friends, Michele and Kathy.

At 6, Michele will pick me up and we'll go out to Kathy's place for friends' birthday supper. Birthday girl always gives gifts to the other two. I hope they like what I chose. We'll drink wine, and eat a home cooked meal, and sit on the couch and talk and laugh for a few hours.

So that's my day for me. Pretty simple. Oh, it's 4:30 now, so until Michele arrives, I'm going to sit on the couch with a good book and hopefully almost finish it, because I have another one waiting.

ahhhhh! (happy birthday to me)

question: what do you do when you want to give yourself a treat?

mompoet - taking care of the poet, and the mom

Saturday, November 21, 2009

two takes on a wonderful old favourite

question: do you love it?

mompoet - happy earworm!

flu shots

I got my flu shots this week.

1) Seasonal Flu Shot
My employer arranges for flu shots every year. On Thursday I went to City Hall, where Council Chambers has been transformed into an immunization clinic. A mega-jumbo syringe was on display, labeled "to be used for Mayor Corrigan only." There was no lineup, and I was in and out in five minutes. The City had planned to provide H1N1 shots at the same clinic, but eligibility was still restricted so I received the seasonal shot only (all of the other flu strains, but not H1N1).

2) H1N1 Flu Shot
The very next day, H1N1 immunization eligibility opened up to anyone who wanted it. So today I found a clinic online and attended. It was at the Poirier Rec Centre in Coquitlam, from 9am-3pm. When I arrived at 9:05, a long lineup snaked around the outside of the building. It was cold, but undercover, and seemed to be moving forward periodically. I was not in a hurry to be anywhere, so I stayed. Luckily, I had my iPod with me, so Dan Mangan kept me smiling and provided the 45 minute soundtrack to the outdoor waiting portion of my visit. Luckily also, the outdoor lineup was under cover. While we stood in the cold and damp, a deluge of sleet pounded down.

In the lineup, I saw people of all ages, lots of multi-generation families and all kinds of ethnicities. It seems like everyone wants to be safe from the virus. For a little while, a girl about 15 months old entertained us with her interpretive dance expression of healthy immunity. As new people arrived, their brows furrowed at the lineup, but most stayed, and the line didn't seem to grow any longer after I arrived.

Before 10am, I was indoors, holding a number and a piece of paper onto which I was instructed to print my name, phone number and birthdate. A nurse screened people in the lineup for health issues, and ensured that the children present were with their parents (you can't take someone else's kid to the flu clinic). A volunteer handed out pens, and ferried very elderly and infirm people to a place where they could sit down to wait their turn. I saw two security guards who seemed calm and friendly. At one point a police officer came in and looked around. A pretty mellow vibe prevailed, so he left pretty quickly.

I spent about 30 minutes more, waiting indoors. By this time, the little dancer girl had tired of waiting and alternated between running and laughing and crying to leave. Her mom managed amazingly well, and everyone around offered supportive comments and smiles. The tot was noisy but adorably cute, and probably expressing all of the emotions that were running through our adult minds, only it's not acceptable for grownups to run, laugh, scream and cry while waiting to be immunized against a pandemic virus.

In the big room, about 15 nurses were administering flu jabs. Families went up together and stood around for support as each member received the vaccine. I went up by myself, so my visit with the nurse took only about 5 minutes. I got my shot in the same arm that received the seasonal jab on Thursday. I've heard that the H1N1 shot makes your arm more sore than the other shot does. We'll see. I've been lifting weights this week at the gym, so I'm guessing the flu shots will hardly make a noticeable difference.

We were all instructed to wait for 15 minutes before leaving. Little dancer girl was eating dried cranberries and cheese crackers, and looking much happier than when she got her shot (her indignant roar echoed through the building when that happened). After a few minutes I felt sure I wasn't going to faint or turn purple, so I left. All in all, it took me about an hour and a quarter to be vaccinated. The shots are supposed to take effect within 7-10 days, so by the end of the month, I should be well-protected against the awful bugs that are floating around.

Now I'm hoping my husband and kids will get their flu jabs. It would be good for all of us to be well this winter.

question: have you been immunized yet?

mompoet - all done

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

flue clinic updates

Note to all people who are alive, but not yet vaccinated: the public health authority has declared flue shots will be available to an expanded eligibility list.

Please read the important information below to determine if you can get the flue shot this week.

H1N1 Immunization is now available to the following people:
  • children over the age of 37 months and under the age of 643 months who have not yet learned to play the harmonica OR if they do play the harmonica, who do not know how to inline skate
  • aunts and uncles who buy loud, battery-operated toys for children under the age of 37 months
  • adults under 65 years of age who are scared
  • adults 65 years and older who have an odd number of tattoos and body piercings (combined) NOTE: for these purposes, zero is considered an even number. NOTE: 3, 5, 7 and 9 are excluded.
  • adults who know how to spell the word asthma, or if they do not know how to spell asthma, who know how to spell the word fuchsia. NOTE: spelling tests will be held 30 minutes prior to clinic opening.
Seasonal Flue immunizations (formerly knows as "the flue shot") is now available to the following people:
  • people over the age of 65 who do not have middle names
  • people under the age of 65 but over the age of 91 months, who have hyphenated surnames
  • people who love too much
  • people with confirmed allergies to sudoku, agnosticism and/or mediation
  • ringette players
  • anarchists
Please note: anyone who has already received the H1N1 vaccination may come in for a seasonal flu shot despite the fact that the H1N1 virus is the seasonal flu (this season). A special booth will be set up at each clinic for patients who wish to argue semantics with a registered nurse.

Please note: a fine of $500 to $14,982 will be levied on anyone convicted of arguing with a registered nurse.

Please note: the nurse is doing the best she/he can. Do not argue with him/her - it will not register anyway.

To find the location of the nearest flue immunization clinic in your neighbourhood, drive up and down the street until you see a long lineup. Be sure to bring your Care Card, a healthy snack and a paint smock. We will be painting a mural while you wait in the lineup.

If you have questions about H1N1 or the seasonal flue, please tune in your local news and read group emails to accelerate your level of hysteria. Please talk with your family physician to dispel your hysteria. Please call the provincial Health Link Line to receive a recorded message that call volume is too high to even queue your call.

If you can speall queue, you go to the front of the queue.

Wash your hands. Sneeze into your elbow. Do not lick the handles on the bus.

That is all.

question: have you been immunized?

mompoete - oops - just flunked the spelling teste

Sunday, November 15, 2009

how to make a movie

I finally saw Where the Wild Things are last Sunday. It was wild and sweet.

I also heard Catherine O'hara interviewed on CBC Radio's Q. She told about Spike Jonze's direction, and her experience playing one of the monsters, named Judith. Here's an article about it.

I think that the movie speaks honestly and directly to adults about our own child selves. Lots of people say that there are parts of the movie that go over children's heads. I would agree with that, but I'd also say there are parts that speak a child language that I, as an adult, have forgotten. Parts of the movie went over my head because I am no longer a child. This is not to say that these parts were simple or babyish. They were conveyed a way that has nothing to do with catering to smaller, less sophisticated people. I wished I could have got them, but instead, I felt that child sense of, "huh?" only from an adult point of view.

Almost everyone has seen it, I know. If you have not yet, please go. Take your child self, and some people who are currently children, then talk about it after.

question: have you seen the wild things?

mompoet - let the wild rumpus begin

Saturday, November 14, 2009

scary story

I was listening to the Halloween podcast of CBC's Definitely Not the Opera, and I got to thinking about times when I have been scared, or scared others. Then I remembered something that happened a long time ago, at a place where I worked.

Our workplace was bustling during the day, but at night, a skeleton crew remained on duty. Skeleton was a good word for this bunch, considering their macabre sensibility and black sense of humour. They liked to scare each other. One way they did this was to plant a life size human dummy in various places, so that an unsuspecting co-worker would come across it and be startled. The dummy disappeared in between pranks, so nobody was sure where it was, or when it would pop up next. Imagine walking into a darkened room and finding a realistic looking person lurking behind a door, or slumped in a chair. booga booga booga!

At some point, one of my co-workers (who we'll call prankster #1) decided to notch the gag up a bit. He enlisted the help of a buddy (who we'll call joker boy), who convinced another co-worker (who we'll call poor sod dupe) to plant the dummy, then wait for his friend - prankster #1 - to be scared. Joker Boy and Dupey hid and watched as P1 walked into the room in the dark, saw the dummy, shrieked, then had a (fake) heart attack. As P1 writhed on the floor in faux cardiac agony, Joker Boy jumped to his rescue. "Look what we've done! Oh my God! We've killed him!" he shouted to poor old Dupey, who was just about dying himself of panic and guilt. Dupey ran to call 911, and it took everything P1 and JB had to convince him it was a hoax.

After this incident, the dummy was dismembered by a supervisor who had had enough of practical jokes. I'm sure they just went underground a bit deeper, but that was the end of dummy ambushes and fake coronaries.

question: have you ever pulled (or been the object of) a prank?

mompoet - wondering where the line is between startling someone in fun, and actually scaring a person to death

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halloween Pictures from Work

Belated Halloween Pictures

Life has been altogether too busy for blogging. Finally I have time to upload some photos from our Halloween celebration at work. These were taken on Friday the 30th, the day before Halloween, when the staff at the rec centre dressed up and participated in a pumpkin carving contest.

My co-worker Linda and I dressed as scary Phys. Ed. teachers, and stomped around the centre all day, bossing people around and making them run laps and do pushups (when we weren't going to the staff room for a smoke break). My other co-worker Diane was dressed as an English garden, complete with a lovely British accent. I think the other costumes are pretty self-explanatory.

Linda's and my pumpkin was the veggie-lantern. It did not win the contest, but was subsequently eaten by a racoon. The winning lantern's multi-eyes were picked out by passers-by and eaten over the next day or too - this is not a joke, people actually ATE THE EYES!

question: is it a bad costume if you have to explain it to people?

mompoet - DAILY PE!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fin Wins!

He won! He WON! YAYYYY! I knew he would, but still, HE WON!

Tired now from a long day, and looking ahead to a 4:30am wakeup and early shelter volunteer shift. I will provide details from mompoet perspective tomorrow evening.

question: he won, no question!

mompoet - jubilant

H-whu? N-wha?

Today is the day that we DON'T have a flu clinic at the community centre where I work. Coincidentally, I won't be at work today, having booked the day off to volunteer at the by-election. At work, we find that our usual annual seasonal flu clinic, geared to seniors and qualified others, has been canceled while the public health people scramble to provide H1N1 vaccine to the public. Regular flu shots will be provided at a later date. Having promoted the clinic for some weeks, we are ready for people to arrive and be disappointed. I'm sorry that I won't be there to help.

As for H1N1, this is, apparently, the week of low supply of vaccine. The special doses for pregnant women will be available, but their production has postponed production of the regular formula for everyone else. To complicate matters, everyone else is still a short list of especially vulnerable people. Ordinary people will get their vaccine later, IF they want it.

Andy, Fiona and I went out to a play on Saturday. A woman in the row behind us was coughing up a storm. To her credit, she seemed to be catching every cough in her arm or elbow, but we were uncomfortable. Should we try for other seats, we wondered? The theatre was full, and seats were reserved, and we didn't want to seem paranoid. Still, we wished that she had not come out, coughing like that. We settled for drinking bottled water to keep mucous membranes hydrated, and followed the "don't touch anything and wash your hands on the break and after the show" approach.

Our sandwich-making group at church meets later this week. While the church is being used as a temporary homeless shelter, we are relocating our sandwich night to a member's home. At church on Sunday, some of the ladies spoke to me with their concern that our host has been ill. Will it be safe for us to go to her house? I phoned her and found out that she has been well already for a couple of days, so we should be clear for our evening at her house, unless other family members are ill. To be doubly sure of the decision, I phoned the Healthlink info line (811 in the province of BC). At 8pm, the lines were so busy that the system wouldn't even queue me. At 10pm it took about 10 minutes to get through. The nurse on the line told me that people are thought to be infectious from 1 day before symptoms appear and remain infections for 7 days. Incubation period is thought to be 2-7 days from time of exposure. That's a big window, especially if others have been exposed and are incubating.

Of course, once we're all immunized, we won't have to worry. The vaccine is thought to take 1-2 weeks to take effect, so by Christmas, the liklihood of anyone getting H1N1 will be diminished, if the vaccination program goes as planned.

I am planning to be immunized for both seasonal and H1N1 flus. Our employee clinic has not been postponed (it's next week), although I think it may be rescheduled because most of us still don't meet the criteria for priority H1N1 immunization. In the meantime, I'm trying to be responsible and reasonably careful, but not paranoid.

I think this whole experience is demonstrating a lot about human nature and social behaviour, and making us think about our personal values and our trust in authority and in each other. It's an interesting time.

question: will you/have you been vaccinated?

mompoet - washing hands and giving hugs

Saturday, November 07, 2009

green bean salad with chickpeas and mushrooms

My Dad sends me recipe links from the New York Times. I cooked this one last night, and it was especially easy, fresh and yummy.

question: where do you find new ideas for cooking?

mompoet - thanks Dad!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

nelson is back

My friend Diana's cousin Janet took Nelson with her to Egypt, to watch her husband run a race in the Sahara Desert. This is Nelson's first visit to Africa.

Here are some photographs, taken by Janet, who reports that the security guards at the Luxor airport insisted on looking at Nelson, then laughed and offered to buy him. The lady at the airport is Marc and Janet's friend Lara. The beautiful building is the Cairo Museum. The sandy shots are at the race site, where it was 50 degrees out.

question: where would you go, if you were a plastic rat?

mompoet - thank you for not selling Nelson to the security guard, and for taking him with you on your trip, Janet!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

two Ella treats

night of the living dead celebrities

Tonight, Lorenz Hart will make an appearance at Thundering Word's dead celebrity open mic, with Ella Fitzgerald! At the suggestion of host Bill McNamara, I'll dress up as Hart (of Rodgers and Hart) and get together with the talented and wonderful Wanda Nowicki to perform a duet. This is a truly fine Hallow-eekend.

The show is at Cafe Montemartre on Main St near King Edward. Show starts at 8pm, with signup at 7:30. Cafe fills early, but oh my goodness the food and bevvies are good so it's a nice stop for supper a little earlier than that. Admission is what you put into the hat.

question: as which dead celebrity will(would) you dress?

mompoet - won't dish the dirt with the rest of the girls