Saturday, June 30, 2012


I am going to get two crowns.

Not like this.

Like this.

And oh, if only it was as easy and pretty as it looks in the picture. Well, maybe not with the gargantuan sanitized tooth decay shown in the adjacent tooth.

When you get to a certain age, you find out what's wrong with you. With me, it's a few things, but one of them is cracking up molars. Yes, I'm so funny I crack up my own teeth. HA HA! No, really, my 6 and 12 year old molars have been around for a long time. They all got amalgam (silver coloured) fillings when I was a teenager. Apparently amalgam fillings put pressure on the remaining tooth material which, along with the general pressure of chewing for 20-35 years, causes them to get tiny fracture lines. Eventually a fracture develops into a crack, then there's pain, then perhaps a replacement filling, but sometimes a crown.

On Wednesday I sat in the dentist's chair for 2 and a half hours while my lovely dentist and his kind and skilled assistant worked on two of my teeth, side by side (my teeth that is - the dentist and assistant sat across from one another, with me in the middle, with my mouth open). The dentist and his assistant removed my old fillings and put in new composite (white) fillings. Then they proceeded to grind away most of my two molars leaving what felt like stumps, but which had to be mostly fillings, jutting up from my tooth roots. For a little while I got to rest, so of course I poked around with my tongue and felt two peg teeth, waiting for lovely crowns to make them whole again. I should say that the poking was done with a half-frozen tongue, so my perception was a bit wacky. To clarify, only my tongue and face were frozen. My brain was a-ok. My brain was saying, "please let this be over!" and also, "this is very interesting and cool - how often do you get to have peg teeth? and to poke them with your tongue?" Fortunately, not often. But still, it was interesting.

At the end of the procedure, the skilled assistant produced two "temporary" teeth made out of glue and sawdust or maybe silly putty and hairspray. She glomped them onto my peg teeth and I had to bite repeatedly on blue paper to make sure they weren't too high. Nobody like high teeth.

In two weeks, I will return to the dentist's office. At that time my lovely dentist and his skilled assistant will glue on two lovely crowns made out of diamonds and fairy dust and titanium and rainbows. They will match my other teeth perfectly only they will not be cracking up. I can tell my funniest jokes and slip on banana peels and other such hilarious hijinks, but the new crowns will not crack up.

In the meantime, there are rules: no sticky food, no super-hard crunchy food, no playing fetch with rebar rods, okay to floss in, but not back out (instead draw the floss out sideways from between the teeth). For those of you who know about my (slight) obsession with dental hygiene, you will know how difficult this is for me. Two weeks without a good thorough up and down floss back there is difficult for me. But I will survive. After all, the queen has survived. I can too.

And when it's all finished, nobody will know the difference, except for my dentist and his skilled assistant and my curious tongue.

question: do you wear a crown?

mompoet - temporary

breathing out

The theme of June was anticipation. Side themes were suspense, curiosity and anxiety. Now that we are at the end of June we can at least see what some of the next steps are.

First of all, I got my job, for real and for permanent. I have a permanent job with the city, but have been acting in another job for 4 and a half years. This acting job is the one I blog about from time to time. I work as a recreation programmer at a community centre. My area is seniors' recreation. My "people" are 1000 members, 55 years and older, who come to the rec centre for fun, fitness and learning. The person for whom I was acting got another job recently so the job I have been doing was posted. I applied and interviewed for it and I got my job. Every job I have done with the city has been great, but this one is the greatest. I am very happy to know that I can keep going with it, without the worry of a potential end date. HOORAY! I can't wait to move into my new office. Oh...I am already there. YAY!

Second of all, Fiona will be continuing with the Over the Rainbow competition. She'll go back to Toronto in August as one of the top 20 performers from all across Canada. So in a way, we have replaced the anticipation and anxiety of "will she make the top 20?" with "will she make the top 10?" but I guess life is like that. And I guess we're all still in the same office at this point, cheering her on from home and knowing she'll have an exceptional experience, whatever the outcome.

Last summer seemed like it had to be the most anxious summer, with Fiona preparing to go to university. I thought, at the time, "Next summer will be so relaxed. We'll know just what we're doing." But I guess this is the way it is a lot of the time: working, waiting, wondering what's next. It's all good and really pretty delicious. I'll keep you posted.

question: are you waiting for news?

mompoet - anticipating

Saturday, June 23, 2012

radio silence (punctuated by rhubarb)

I can't tell you how Fiona did at her Toronto Over the Rainbow callback. I can't tell you anything about several other things we're waiting to hear about this week. I am bursting with curiosity and wonderment and walking around with lips zipped and question marks dancing over my head. All will be revealed in the fullness of time. In the meantime, I am considering a new career as a standup comic. Well, maybe a sit down comic. Well, maybe a sit down and go home comic.

Here are my two jokes, prompted by typos and misquotes I spotted this week:

Q: What kind of trail does a bookworm leave behind?
A: A paper trail!

Q: What kind of pedals do weevils have on their bicycles?
P: Flour pedals!

Q: What kind of pants do slugs wear in the garden?
A: Petal pushers!

Question: Now wasn't that better than no post at all?

mompoet - keeping my day job, yeah...

ps - Did you notice, that was three jokes? I have a special on today: buy two, get one free.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

night at the track

My friend Linda and I went to Hastings Park last night. We had intended to bring our husbands, but tickets sold out so fast for our CUPE 23 Night at The Races that we had only 2 tickets, and our husbands really didn't mind.

We drove to the park and found seats in Silks Buffet. The supper was gorgeous - a great salad bar, prime rib, lovely seafood and pecan pie as my choice for dessert. mmmmm While we ate, we studied the racing form and tried to figure out how to bet.

Our first betting aid was the form itself, which contains a "picks" section - one horse race expert's guesses about which horses will win. There was also a man who walked around and gave us a sheet with his picks listed. There's lots of information there to help the uninformed know how to place bets and how to decide which bets to place. Linda and I paid careful attention to this good information then we followed our hearts:
  • bet on the grey horse - of course!
  • roll the dice - we put stickers on a pair of dice and rolled them to decide by using the colour of the jockey's uniform. The dice also told us whether to bet win, place or show.
  • cootie catcher - Linda made a paper fortune teller. We used it to pick the number of the winning horse, and whether to bet win, place or show
  • my favourite number - at one point I loaned my racing form to somebody so I had no idea who to bet on in the next race, so I bet on number 5, which is my favourite. Number 5 won.
We enjoyed seeing a bunch of friends from work, and noting that our bets were modest and cautious compared to how most people bet. We did not bet any "exotics," like exactor, triactor, X-factor, pterodactylactor etc. We just chose horses to win, place or show.

At the end of the evening, Linda reported that we bet $22 on 5 races. While she kept track of our expenditures, I kept the winning tickets safe, so we could cash them all in at the end. What suspense! the cashier fed the tickets into her machine, and our winning amount increased and increased. We got up to $20 on the display, with one winner left - could we make it to $22????? Then we saw it, $24.60!!!! Woo Hoo! The cashier gave us our money so we could easily count it out and split our $2.60 winnings! We were euphoric. We could retire and live the life of luxury - maybe even buy our own racehorse! We drove home happy for a fun evening.

Then I woke up in the morning and remembered that one of the bets we had placed for our friend Diane, who sent us with $11 to bet on the first 3 races. One of her horses won, and we owed her $3.30. So Linda and I actually won $1.30 between us. I texted Linda the news. She replied. "You mean we can't retire?" Nope. I guess I'll see her Monday morning at work.

question: do you like the pretty horses?

mompoet - we left the dice and the cootie catcher on the table for someone else to use to win big like us

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

mr rogers

There's a re-mix youtube video of Mr. Rogers that everyone is watching these days:

I think it's okay, but I really prefer the original version of his songs. This one is a particular favourite:

I'm too old to have watched Fred Rogers on TV as a kid, but as a mom of young children I remember that Mr Rogers' Neighborhood was my favourite TV place. There wasn't a thing about the show I didn't like. Mr. Rogers' kindness and respect for all people, especially children, was exactly what I needed to give me the courage to navigate the world of stay at home mom. Mr. Rogers made it easier for me to feel caring feelings about the people around me, even on days when I was tired or discouraged or grumpy or afraid. Simplicity, humanity, empathy, respect. He modeled these for me and help me be more kind and brave.

To this day I still like to say, "When you were a little girl, did you want to be a ______?" That was one of my favourite Mr. Rogers sayings. Sometimes I just think it. Sometimes I really ask it. Recently I asked the cat, "When you were a little kitten, did you always want to be a cat?" Hmmm, I guess I AM special.

question: when you were a little boy (or girl, or kitten), did you always want to be Mr. Rogers?

mompoet - we are special

Sunday, June 10, 2012

quick post link blog

I have a busy day today, so I'm going to post a link to a recipe that looks wonderfully delicious. Martha Rose Shulman's New York Times column, Recipes for Health, is always spectacularly wonderful and nourishing. Let me know if you try this recipe for Quinoa Asparagus Salad. I hope to serve it this week. But for now, I must get on with some projects that require my immediate attention.

question: do you think about cooking when you are not cooking?

mompoet - always!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

the big muck-out

There are so many things I would rather do than clean my house. Still, every 2 or 3 weeks I look around and say, "Ye-gads! how did it get like this?" Then I either have to do something, or go away for a couple of days. Today, I have to do something about it. But first, I will sit in my pajamas for 10 more minutes and post my blog. My friend Louise would call this, "positive procrastination," I think. That's when you are consciously procrastinating by doing something of value other than that thing which you have committed to do. Other forms of positive procrastination may include: tooth flossing, muffin baking, phoning a parent or friend who is owed a call, reading the serious sections of the newspaper, checking your bank account online, watching the weather report on the news and eating, if you have not eating in the past 3 hours.

After I complete this positive procrastination I will get dressed and clean up. I will be thinking about my original question (how did it get this way?) and understanding that I know exactly how it did:
  1. People live in this house.
  2. People bring things into the house.
  3. People shed skin cells, hair cells, muck and guck from the outside world.
  4. A cat lives here too.
  5. We cook and eat.
  6. We wear clothes and sleep in beds.
  7. We use toilets and sinks and the bathtub/shower.
  8. We make trash.
  9. Other related organisms co-exist, living, eating, sleeping, shedding, toileting and procreating, mostly at a microscopic level.
  10. There is buildup from all of the above activities.
Buildup, here I come.

My technique for cleaning up is pretty standard. I make a list and cross off the accomplishments as I make them. This gives a bit of validation for this work of cleaning, that is almost immediately undone as fast as I can do it (darn buildup!) I mix up small actions that make a big difference, like picking up the shoes and putting them back in the shoe rack in the closet, with big actions that make a small difference, like washing the kitchen, dining room, hallway and bathroom floors.

My least favourite chore is changing the kitty litter box. My most favourite is cleaning the bathrooms. Wow, it is nice to have a gleaming bathroom. It always goes more quickly than I thought, and WOW, what a difference! Good thing I do it every 2-3 weeks. In between, I might give a quick wipe to the worst surfaces and take out the trash. The real scrub-up actually only takes place every 2-3 weeks. So now you know my secret.

While I clean up, I prefer to have everyone out of the way. I like it when Andy goes out shopping or to work in the yard, so I can zoom around the house cleaning up without having him have to lift his feet or jump out of the way of the vacuum cleaner. I also really don't mind moving the kids' shoes, bags, papers etc., but I prefer to do it while they are not around, which increases the chance that they will come home and say, "Hey! what did you do with my tuba?" So I can say, "I put it in the tuba closet, Silly-Billy!"

My standard every second or third Saturday muck-out (which is about to begin as soon as I finish procrastinating) includes: bathrooms, floors (vacuuming and floorwashing), kitty litter, picking up, dusting, wiping end and coffee tables, putting out fresh candles and assorted other decor items, kitchen, windowsills, dining room table and computer tables. By the end of the day, the place should look and smell reasonably clean, and I will feel like I have imposed order on a little corner of my world, which is the real reason I ever clean at all.

So here goes nothing. Buildup, look out!

question: what do you clean and when do you clean it?

mompoet - clean, clean, clean

Thursday, June 07, 2012

the mom burger

On Wednesday, the Kitchen Table volunteers at the seniors' recreation centre where I work made a barbeque lunch. They do this once every month from May through August. They sell about 70 tickets each time, to members of our seniors' centre. For $5, members get a fresh-cooked burger, potato chips, coffee or tea, and dessert. It's all cooked and served and cleaned-up after by volunteers. Volunteers even do the shopping. It's really spectacular. My staff team and I help in little ways, but it's really the volunteers' show. For example, once all 70 people are served and the volunteers are sitting down eating their burgers, we staff members serve up the dessert. My co-worker Brenda and I scooped about 80 bowls of ice cream and squeezed on chocolate and caramel sauce. Wait - 80! I think some people without burger tickets sneaked in and got a bowl of ice cream! Then the volunteers finished their lunch (including dessert) and they did the dishes and folded the tablecloths and wiped everything down and put everything away. They rock.

I was starting up the ice cream scooping, when one of our volunteers came over to fix her burger. Cheese, lettuce and tomato slices are served up by volunteers behind a table. When it's the volunteers' time to eat, the staff takes over and we serve up the toppings to the volunteers. This one volunteer came over and saw the scraggly, raggedy ends of cheese and tomato on the serving trays. She was ready to take 2 crescent moon slices of tomato and a dog-eared slice of cheese. I told her we have a plate of tomatoes and cheese and lettuce set aside for the volunteers so they will have toppings just as fresh and nice as the first person who came to the table. She said, "no, these are fine!" Well I had to tell her that I though she was taking the mom burger. She agreed, and we laughed.

The mom burger is the meal that is eaten by the person who cooks and serves - sometimes mom, sometimes someone else. Often it's the last piece that nobody else chose. It might be cold or dried out. Often it is eaten standing up, or in a rush, because the rest of the table has been sitting for a while. Maybe they are ready for coffee or dessert, or just to finish up and leave the table, and here comes mom with her scraggly raggedy mom burger. She says it's fine, but it can't taste anything like the yummy burgers she served up to the first to the table.

I wonder why we do this? I know we don't always do it, but sometimes it's the way. Even if people offer to help, sometimes it's easier just to keep doing the job and serve them up and get it done. Sometimes, by the time the food is prepared, cooked and served, it doesn't seem that yummy after all. Once you have looked at 70 hamburgers, you might not feel like eating a hamburger, especially with 70 dirty plates with bits of chewed burger and bun and tomato are waiting to be cleaned once you finish eating your mom burger.

I sincerely admire the Kitchen Table volunteers for the work they do. They make a lovely meal for a big room full of people who are mostly grateful and appreciative. I make sure, once they are seated, that they all quiet down for a moment and I thank the volunteers and ask everyone to thank them and give them a big round of applause for their work. Then they eat their mom burgers.

Thank goodness for volunteers. Thank goodness for those who take the time to express appreciation. Thank goodness we mostly take turns serving the meal and eating the mom burger. I hope all of those volunteers went home and had a very yummy supper served by someone else, or at least cooked and eaten in a leisurely fashion. If I could go to all of their houses and scoop ice cream especially for them, I would.

question: did you eat the mom burger?

mompoet - I brought a salad and ate it after I scooped the ice cream for all of the eaters

happy happy foot foot

I walked home again this evening. Not a bit of pain. Both days I drove to work in the morning because I needed the car for a work meeting during the day. Each day, one of my amazing and wonderful children came to my office and took the car away, so I could walk home.

So far no foot pain. Just to be sure, I am stretching and massaging, and I won't walk for an hour tomorrow. I want to keep this good foot feeling.

question: could this be recovery?

mompoet - happy happy happy

happy foot

I walked for one hour yesterday, all the way home from work. My foot felt fine. It feels good this morning. this makes me very very very very very very very very very very happy. VERY.

question: what's good for you today?

mompoet - thinking about car-free commuting once again

Sunday, June 03, 2012


three same-dressed students
June - too cool for flip-flops - Ugh
Ugg Ugg Ugg Ugg Ugg

question: what are the girls wearing on the way home from school in your neighbourhood?

mompoet - not quite ready for flip-flops in these parts


I'm scheduled to facilitate an Insights workshop Monday morning. Thoughts about this must have invaded my dream...

I am at my office, packing up my gear for the workshop. I get a phone call from my Insights mentor. Actually, it's a video call. She looks strangely like someone from a movie set in the 1950s, but that's okay because it's a dream. She tells me, "It's good to have some of the mini Halloween packs of Lifesavers candies when you facilitate. You can hand them out to the people in the class who you especially like." I'm okay with this, because coincidentally, I am going to meet with the group at Burquitlam Plaza, a nearby shopping centre, and there's a Safeway there. I tell myself to go to the Safeway and get the Lifesavers before I meet with the group. So I go down to the carpark, which is not the parking lot outside the community centre where I work, but the underground parking at Northgate, another shopping centre which is really close to my office. I take my 2 suitcases of facilitation notes, props and other assorted gear with me and hop on my unicycle, which is stored in the carpark. At the top of the car ramp, turning out to the busy 6 lane street that leads to Burquitlam, I think to myself, "It's going to be tricky riding my unicycle in the rain all the way to Burquitlam, especially carrying these 2 big suitcases in my hands. So I turn around and go get my car. End of dream.

Interpretation? There's a lot about safety in this dream (Safeway, Lifesavers), but all in unreasonable terms. I would never pick favourites in a facilitation group and give them special treats. Even if I do have treats, they have to be more imaginative than candies - lots of facilitators do that! So maybe this is about building up unnecessary expectations and precautions and safeguards - being anachronistically sweet, for example? Trying to carry a heavy load solo when that's not the best choice (symbolized by the unicycle and suitcases)? I think the dream is telling me to get real and get on with what's really important, and not try to do everything the hard way.

question: have you had any unicycle dreams lately?

mompoet - subconscious speaking!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

over the rainbow

Fiona is going to Toronto!

CBC TV is running a competition to find an actor to portray Dorothy in a production of The Wizard of Oz in Toronto. On Friday, they held auditions in Vancouver. Fiona made it through to the Toronto callbacks. In mid-June, she and Andy will go to Toronto, where she and about 100 other actors will participate in callbacks, in hopes of moving on to the next round.

I was at work when my phone rang. Fiona and Andy told me the good news, and I burst into tears. Apparently I wasn't the first to do so. Andy told me he had his fingers crossed for about 40 minutes as he waited outside the audition room, and he was being careful not to stand on a crack on the floor tiles. He said, "I just had to do everything right to hope that Fiona would get through." When Fiona and the camera crew emerged, even though she was hiding the ticket behind her back, Andy knew she got it, and he burst into tears. "I'm an emotional guy," he says. The whole thing is being taped for a TV show. When they get to the ten finalists, there will be a live TV show with audience voting through the Fall. I'm guessing golden ticket Fiona and crying Andy will be part of the regional auditions episode.

We are so proud of Fi for doing this. I'll keep you posted. Meantime wish her well in Toronto later this month.

question: where do your happy little bluebirds fly?

mompoet - already there