Monday, October 31, 2011

halloween care package part 6 - pumpkin seeds

I scooped lots of seeds out of two of our 3 pumpkins. I soaked them overnight in salty water. This makes it easier to detach the remaining bits of pumpkin string.

I seasoned them a bit, then put them on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven. About 30 minutes later we have a lot of yummy seeds ready for munching.

question: what's your favourite Halloween treat?

mompoet - cooking for the spooky season

Sunday, October 30, 2011

halloween care package part 5 - my costume

Okay, so Dad has gone to bed, Alex is at work, and I Lukas is studying. Besides, I won't torture him and ask him to take a picture of me in a sock monkey costume that I made out of pajamas, a toque and work socks sewed into a tail and ears. I'll wear this to work tomorrow and get a picture there.

I hope you like it! I am loving it.

question: whose momma is a monkey?

mompoet - OOOO OOOOO ahhhh ahhh eeeee!

halloween care package part 4

Pumpkins! I carved them on Sunday while Dad cooked supper.
 The first one I cut open had a bit of rot inside - YUK!
Poor Jack - got a wooden spoon stuck in his eye!
 The second one was nice and fresh. I saved the seeds from this one and the third one.
 This is pumpkin number 2 - a classic triangle eyes and nose and jaggedy mouth.
 Pumpkin number 3 just had the most wonderful stem and ridges that looked like eyebrows, so I flattened one side a bit and carved it that way.
Here they all are, lit up on the back porch to make sure they are of sufficient quality. They'll go out in the garden in front of the house on Halloween night.

question: do you carve pumpkins?

mompoet - lanterns made from pumpkins are tremendously wonderful

halloween care package part 3

This is the third installment of my blog care package for Fiona at university. This is the best way I can think of to send you a bit of Halloween at home.

Our neighbourhood continues to be decorated.
 When we drove past the neighbours' house I thought someone had some kind of trouble with spelling. The banner seemed to say "AP ALWE." But up close, I get it.

 This is a cool creepy spider. Think how scared they'll be when they open their kitchen window for a bit of fresh air and THAT crawls in!
This is just really cool and tasteful. I like it very much.
Remember when all of the cherry trees were severely pruned in the springtime? Most of them came back, but this one is the exception. It makes a splendid Halloween tree, don't you think?

I'll take some spooky photos in the dark Halloween night and post them. Just thought you'd like to see things getting ready.

question: isn't preparing for Halloween half the fun?

mompoet - looking around the neighbourhood for spooky stuff

halloween care package part 2

Fiona, you woke up to a few inches of snow in New Jersey. Amazing! I hope you are having some fun with it, and keeping safe and warm. Here in Port Moody, it's foggy this morning.

Here's some more detail in the carport. I wonder if you like the orange spider webs?

Dad was pretty ingenious about skeletons. The plastic glow-in-the dark skeleton lost its head, but he used the skull in its place.

Everyone's favourite is still the flaming pumpkin. Here's a natural shot, then some shaking up the camera fun.


More to come. We're carving the pumpkins later today - GOOPY!

question: Are you dreaming of a white Halloween?

mompoet - blogging west coast spookiness to Fiona in New Jersey

Saturday, October 29, 2011

halloween care package - part 1

I did not send Fiona a Halloween care package because I could not think of anything to put in it that wasn't junky or disposable. Instead I am posting these photos, partly for fun, and partly in place of a care package. Hey, Fiona, here are photos of Halloween at home. Tonight - getting ready on Saturday:

Three big pumpkins are waiting on the deck, ready to be carved. I will carve them tomorrow. So far Dad, Alex and Lukas are not jumping up and down to help with the carving. I am sure they will all be happy to eat the pumpkin seeds, though.

Dad decorated today, while I was out at the opera with Grandma and Grandpa. I am so glad that he does this wonderful and creepy job. What you can't see is the orange spider web all over the carport ceiling. I told Dad you would not like it if you were home. He said, "I know."

Of course, Phil Haig dropped off a bag of Halloween candy. YUM YUM! What would the weekend before Halloween be without a bag of Phil Haig Halloween candy?

Tomorrow I will sew my sock monkey costume. I'll show you when it's done.

Happy Almost-Halloween!

question: what is the best thing you ever received or sent in a care package?

mompoet - sending love in images

Monday, October 24, 2011

learning to use my camera

Michele and I took an photography course on Saturday. We met in a coffee shop in Fort Langley with our teacher Lesley of Lesley Ann Photography, and one other student. I was excited at the prospect of walking around Fort Langley and taking photos of some interesting things and places, but it turned out to be different, and even better! Lesley helped us find out what our cameras could do, and explained to us what that meant, then we went outside and tried it. She talked mostly about light, and how it makes a good photograph, and how we can work with it, even in the automatic modes on our cameras. She told us that we could become better photographers by practising 10 minutes a day with our cameras, and suggested an approach to do this. So now I'm excited about learning more about photography. Watch out for some photos coming up!

After the workshop, we met up with Andy, and Michele's husband Brent, and we went to the pub for supper then to Michele and Brent's place for a while. It's been a super busy year for all of us, and too long since we've spent an evening together. It was very good to re-connect. It was a good day, with good friends.

question: what was old and new in your weekend?

mompoet - recalibrating my pace

Friday, October 21, 2011

for fiona - the raptor is here

I think it's a good thing...

question: anything hatch in your neighbourhood?

mompoet - zilla-happy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

sausage poem

At our writing workshop weekend before last, my Shoreline Writers friends and I wrote a sausage poem. We passef a sheet of paper around the table. Each person wrote one line, then folded the paper over, and told the next person what the last word was on that line. The next person wrote a line beginning with that same word, then folded the paper, passed it on, etc. We agreed to write to a theme "Get What you Want," inspired by a newspaper clipping. Here's our poem:

Get What You Want

Whatever you like, you can get what you like.
Like it or not, too much to ccount.
Count the times when the clouds have parted,
Parted in haste - only to regret.
Regret is what I felt when I sniffed the perfume,
Perfume of garlic welling up from your lips,
Lips lie lightly on the object of desire - where do yours lie now? and how?
How, who, what, where - important to know.
Know that every bird flying high must soon crash to earth.
Earth with its enless promise of lore revived.
Revived were my plans when I got home from vacation.
Vacation is what you get!

question - did you ever write a sausage?

mompoet - it ended up making a ring

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tosca Cafe

I saw Tosca Cafe today at the Vancouver Playhouse. It was excellent. It's the story of a cafe in San Francisco from the time of the First World War to the 80s, and the owner of the cafe and all of the people who come into the cafe, and their stories. It's conveyed completely in dance and movement, no dialogue at all. It's about 1 and 3/4 hours without intermission, but it seemed like 25 minutes. It was beautiful.

The music is from the ballet and movies and popular music of the different eras. The dancing is ballet, modern, jazz, disco. There's some beat poetry too. Dean Paul Gibson is splendid as the cafe owner. Rex Harrington is beautiful in a bunch of different roles, and Peter Anderson is a genius. That is all. Oh, Annie Purcell plays the orphan. She made me cry.

I like the Playhouse season because it always has things that stretch my imagination and invite me to look at something new, or a new way of doing something that's been done before. Tosca Cafe is an excellent start to the season. Lots of performances left - go see it!

question: how would you tell a story without words? and how do ballet dancers fold and extend their bodies in such a marvelous manner?

mompoet - full up with richness and beauty

some good things

Some good things appeared this week. They were small but very nice. First, on my walk to work Tuesday morning I met 3 deer standing just behind the fence of the Petrocan plant. This gorgeous guy with antlers was closest, with 2 others close behind.

The next day, I was walking to work again, and I glanced across the street at a high fence. POP! a knapsack flew over the fence and landed in the grass. Then I saw one hand, and another, then a head and a foot, and somebody clambered over the fence - a student on the way to school, no doubt. I know it's probably a very ordinary occurrence, a shortcut like this, but it's the first time I've observed it happening. It was nice.

Then, on Friday, a baby. When somebody walks around the corner unexpectedly carrying a baby, it's like a wolverine or a unicorn just strolled into the room. In this case, it was my co-worker Adriana, carrying Marisa's baby. Marisa was visiting the office for the first time with her two-week old son, and Adriana had taken him upstairs to meet the ladies in the seniors' coffee lounge. Oh my goodness, a two week old baby is a marvel. I got to hold him until he got tired of rooting around on his hand and wrist and really needed mum back. That was nice plus!

Three good things in one week. I think there were more, but these were the little gems that stuck with me.

question: what is remarkable in your day to day?

mompoet - noticing and appreciating.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

for Fiona: Thanksgiving snowballs and salmon streams

Here are two photos for Fiona, who is celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving with a college residence floor-full of Americans. Please use these photos to further confuse the Americans with untrue stories about life in Canada.

These photos were taken in Canada, on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend 2011 - Today, to be precise. Say about them what you will. Very little is likely to be true.

question: do we live in igloos and catch salmon from the creek with our bare hands?

mompoet - Canadian, eh?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

good things

This week has been full of good things...
  • some stellar suppers at home (if I do say so myself) - I took the Greek Chicken Skewers recipe from Thrifty Foods that Cathy showed me, and translated it into a dish with boneless, skinless chicken thighs done on the George Foreman grill. I served it up with tzaziki, roasted garlic potatoes, home-made Caesar salad, pita bread, mmmm. Another night, I cooked a sockeye salmon fillet in parchment and served it with roasted yams, butternut squash puree and green beans. Something about fall weather makes me want to cook homey good food.
  • these led to some stellar lunches - I love leftovers! The leftover pita made good pocket sandwiches, with mixed greens and feta cheese and the leftover chicken. Reheated yams and potatoes are probably even better than first time around.
  • Alex and I went to a screening of Peace Out at the Vancouver Film Festival. It's a film directed by one of his university profs, about energy production in the Peace River Valley in Northern BC and Alberta. The film looks at how we produce hydro power, natural gas, nuclear power (yup, there's a proposal for a nuclear plant in northern BC), and the Alberta oil sands. It was entertaining, informative and thought provoking. It made me want to go home and turn off all of the extra lights in the house and notch down the furnace. If you haven't heard about "fracking" yet, please look it up. Also, imagine an open pit mine larger than Vancouver Island, covered in toxic residues from oil extraction. That would be the oil sands.
  • Niece Maia and I saw Next to Normal at the Stanley Theatre. It's gorgeous and gut-wrenching at the same time. This is a musical about a family whose mom has bipolar disorder. It's billed as "The feel-everything musical," and I think that's accurate. Fiona and I just missed it on our first trip to New York (arrived the day after it closed), so I'm glad I got to see this local production, which is top-notch. It's strong in every aspect, but I was particularly struck by the performances of Matt Palmer as doctors Fine and Madden, and Eric Morin who plays son Gabe. Maia and I had a good evening together. We even got into Vij's restaurant for gorgeous Indian food before the show.
  • Excitement at work. I am preparing to lead my first Insights training session at a workshop for 80 to 90 co-workers (gulp!). I'm getting some great help from my mentor at work, and all kinds of exciting ideas are bubbling up. I know I'll lead a fine session, and once the first one's done, it will be less intimidating. Even now, it's more exciting than it is intimidating, and that's good.
  • some good couch time with the family - we are catching up on The Big Bang Theory season 4 (now that season 5 is underway). We've watched our way through the first disc of the 4th season, enjoying some episodes a second time around, and seeing ones we've missed. The Big Bang Theory is the one show everyone in our family agrees is good. Nephew Lukas agrees, fortunately, and is being brought up to date thanks to our dvd collection of past seasons.
  • tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes - Thanksgiving weekend and I'm still picking ripe, fresh tomatoes every day. I love growing tomatoes on my porch.
  • mIpod - I keep finding out new fun things I can do with my new little iPod touch. I watched a TV show without commercials the other day, downloaded the word game Moxie, caught up my NPR podcast collection and listened on my walks to and from work, and used the BC Liquor Store app, which is really awesome. The only thing it doesn't do is pour you a glass of wine.
  • emails and texts with Fiona - we are truly delighted that she is having such a wonderful and successful time at university, but also that she is staying in touch with us. We are sending letters and packages, but also enjoying texts, phone calls, skype calls... We miss her, but we are in touch throughout each week. It's good.

This has been a lovely week. It feels like we are settling nicely into our new "normal." I love my family and being at home, and enjoying all the richness of our community and the people all around me.

question: what good things have come your way this week?

mompoet - definitely thankful

Monday, October 03, 2011

what if they held a community art event and somebody came?

This weekend was "Culture Days" in BC. I took part in a few community art events as part of the celebration. Friday night at work, my co-workers Diane, Shelley, Anna and I hosted a tile mosaic workshop. Along with members of the Seniors' Society at the rec centre where I work, we are developing a community art project for the park just outside. About 16 tile mosaic dragonflies will be installed in the pavement around benches and planters. The first half dozen mosaics were created Friday, by community members who dropped in to arrange tile bits. Parents, children and seniors all came in to fit the jagged little pieces into the dragonfly shapes. Shelley and Anna, our artist facilitators, preserved the arrangements with clear sticky film before they took them away.

Saturday afternoon I went over to The Burnaby Arts Council Gallery to visit Diane's show about community art. Diane has visited Cuba and Louisiana to facilitate art exchanges between children and families in Burnaby and those places. She has also collected art made by children here, to send to children in Haiti. I looked at art samples and photos from these projects and talked with Diane about her experiences and insights. I also made some art myself - a great part of the show!

Sunday evening, Shoreline Writers' Society hosted a "Writing Playshop" at a cafe in Port Moody. Our members were the only ones who showed up, but we had a good time. We did get two little boys to make storybooks, then we did some writing ourselves. It was low key and fun for us to write together in a public place. It reminded me that I'd like to include writing together in our monthly meetings.

question: how artful have you been lately?

mompoet - 3 days of art in the community - nice