Sunday, August 26, 2012


We are on the Sunshine Coast, visiting with Andy's brother Dave and his wife Pam. Their home here is just beautiful. We are having a lovely time, exploring, swimming, cooking, eating and lounging and enjoying the beautiful view out over the ocean.

On Friday evening we went out for a walk after supper. We brought a bowl and picked blackberries along the way. Blackberry bushes are fierce, with thousands of slanted prickles. People try to keep them cut back, so you often have to perch on the side of a hill, or wade into the brush to get to the good berries. Then you have to find the ripe ones: All of the berries are black, but the ripe ones come off the bush easily. The sour ones hang on tight. So you have to shake hands with 50 blackberries to pick 20 good ones.

Here are some photos of our blackberry adventure, which began around 7:30pm and ended as the light was failing just around 9.

The reward? A brimming bowl of late summer sweetness. We gobbled them Saturday morning with our breakfasts.

question: do you pick blackberries?

mompoet - shaking hands with summer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Andy and I went to volunteer training tonight, for the Vancouver Fringe Festival. We're going to be ticket sellers for some Fringe venues. Here's the yummy burger that members of the Fringe staff team cooked up for my supper.

We're pretty impressed - not just with the supper, but with the organization and spirit we felt all around us. We know the shows are excellent. Now we're going to get an insider's perspective on the festival. We hope to see a bunch of shows too.

question: what's your fringeburger?

mompoet - I like doing new things.


Fiona has been in Toronto since Monday. I miss her a lot. I'm also very curious about what she's doing and how she's feeling. On the surface, I'm pretty calm about the whole thing. After all, this is an amazing experience for her. I'm sure it's stressful but it also has to be a wonderful treat to be immersed in what she loves to do, and surrounded by people who love it too. I am cool with that.

There is, however, evidence that I have been experiencing moments of extreme dunderheaded panic and bewilderment:

1. We left our house Monday at 4:45am, to get Fiona to the airport for 5:30 check-in. We parked at the airport. I got out of the car and checked in my purse for my cell phone. Guess what I found? The cordless phone from my kitchen! Um, I think I brought the wrong phone. So I took it out of my purse and stuck it in the console of my car. Then I forgot about it when I got home, but looked at it and remembered, whenever I was out in the car. On Tuesday evening I finally remembered to get the phone out of my car and back into my kitchen.

2. Tonight I was out with Andy at volunteer orientation for The Vancouver Fringe Festival. What a wonderful night we had! The training was excellent, and we're going to have a splendid Fringe experience. We got home and there was a message on our answering machine. It was a nice long message, and it was from Fiona! But the connection was so bad, her words were all broken up and we couldn't understand anything except, "Love you!" at the end. Darn it! I was totally disappointed and sad and wishing I could unscramble bad phone sound and know what she was saying to us. Blegh!

So now I just have to breathe out and acknowledge that I am jazzed about all this. There's nothing I can do but be calm and patient and try not to haul major appliances out the door. What will be will be.

question: did you ever wish you knew everything about everything right now?

mompoet - sigh...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

seniors' games

This week, 4,000 athletes will be in Burnaby for the 2012 BC Seniors' Games. As a staff member at a Burnaby recreation centre, I have been helping with preparations. I have seen our athletes practising and preparing for their competitions, and I have given my support to those who are volunteering to help organize and run the games. It's a huge undertaking. Athletes will come from all over BC to compete in everything from archery to one act plays. The youngest will be around 55 years old. The oldest will be in their 90s.

Last night I attended volunteer training and accreditation. Now I have my name badge and T-shirt, and I'm ready to report to work on Thursday evening, when I will assist at a participants' social evening at Burnaby Village Museum.  I know it's going to be a marvelous night for everyone. I am looking forward to seeing the athletes and volunteers who call our recreation centre home, and to meeting people from other parts of the province.

I hope that when I am 70+ I will participate in BC Seniors' Games! In the meantime, all the best to our Burnaby athletes and volunteers, and a warm welcome to everyone who is visiting us. Thank you for making 2012 BC Seniors' Games a success!

question: what will you do when you are 72?

mompoet - I'm not totally sure, but I bet I will be having some kind of fun

Monday, August 20, 2012

playoff eyebrows

Andy and I are home from the airport this morning. We dropped Fiona off for her 7am flight to Toronto, where she will participate in Dorothy Farm, the next part of the Over the Rainbow competition. We will be thinking of her and wishing her well all week long. We don't know how much we'll know about what she is doing, as it is being kept quiet so as not to spoil the surprise for the TV show that will begin on September 16. I told her I will try to post my blog throughout the week, so if she needs a smile from home, it will be here for her.

Since she came home from callbacks in June, Fiona has been growing her eyebrows. The top 20 Dorothy contenders were asked to leave their brows alone until their return to Dorothy Farm. Fiona has beautiful brows, but I know it has been hard to let them grow. I told her earlier this week that I have been holding off on going to have my brows shaped while she has been growing hers. It's been a quiet act of solidarity, not having super neat brows while she has been managing her growing-out ones. I think she genuinely appreciated that.

Andy was in on the conversation. He mentioned that Alex, our son, grew a beard for hockey playoffs. He suggested that we, as a family, should grow playoff eyebrows. We could show our support for Fiona in the Dorothy competition by letting our brows grow bushy and wild. Those of us (ahem) who are susceptible to mono-brow could even let that happen. The more our brows grow, the stronger Fiona's chance of success.

I pictured us in a CBC TV interview, looking like a Cro-Magnon family.  "Me McIntyre! Me support daughter!" That would beat "Go Fiona" t-shirts all to heck, now wouldn't it?

question: what do you do to show your support for someone you love?

mompoet - whatever it takes...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Barb's binary birthday

My sister Barbara was in town for her birthday. At her request, I baked a delicious lemon cake from The Moosewood Cookbook. It's actually called Sour Cream Orange Cake in the cookbook, but Barb has adapted it to a lemon cake, and it's her birthday favourite. I substituted lemon for orange, Limoncella liqueur for Gran Marnier in the syrup that soaks the baked cake, and baked it into two layer pans instead of a bundt, sliced the two layers to make four, filled it with lemon curd between the layers and frosted it with fresh whipped cream. Did I mention it is a birthday favourite? The cake was about a foot tall when I got finished, and everyone's eyes about popped out when we sang happy birthday. Here's Barb blowing our the candles:

Thank you to Fiona for snapping the photos. Thank you to Barb's and my Dad, for teaching us how to count up birthdays in binary, thus saving us many 30+ cake meltdowns. In case you are checking how old Barb is, please read from left to right from the birthday girl's point of view. Although Barb might tell you otherwise.

question: how do you express your age in binary?

mompoet: ON, ON, off, off, ON, ON this coming November (which is not a prime, and also symmetrical - oh well, there's always next year)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

catching up - BC Day weekend

This summer is going very quickly! I think I'm out of the habit of posting my blog regularly. The days just keep filling with lots to do and not so much time to reflect and record.

We had an excellent BC Day weekend. My sister Barb and her husband Kim and their youngest son Simon came from Cranbrook for a visit. They stayed with my parents, so we had some get togethers at their house including Barb's birthday supper, which is still in my camera, I think.

On Saturday we had lox and bagels on the porch, a traditional Ryeburn family breakfast (except in winter when we have lox and bagels in the dining room). After that Alex and Lukas took off to see Spiderman in the AVX theatre at Alex's work. Andy went to the beach. My Mom went to White Rock with a bunch of people to visit a yarn store then have a picnic. Fiona went to dance class. My Dad stayed home (well maybe he also went on a walk around Burnaby Lake).

Barb, Kim and I took the Skytrain into Vancouver, then walked from Waterfront Station all around the Vancouver waterfront and Stanley Park, to English Bay. Kim went in for a swim. Barb and I waded in. There were thousands of people at the beach, enjoying the sun and staking out spots for the fireworks display that would happen later.

We walked up Denman and had lunch at Number 1 Pho Restaurant. I loved my avocado milkshake.
As we continued down Robson in search of a birthday latte for Barb, we met some people selling "Gay for a Day" kits, in preparation for the Pride Parade. We bought some.
Then we found lattes at Cafe Artigianno on Robson. I had a birthday cake in the works at home, but I think these lattes tasted even better.

By the time we finished the lattes and caught the Skytrain home, we were tired! Mom and Dad took Barb, Kim, Simon and Alex out for sushi supper, but Andy and I decided just to chill with a quiet supper on our porch at home.

What a splendid day in Vancouver with my lovely family.

question: where would you go? what would you eat? who would you go with? if you had a day in Vancouver?

mompoet - full up with summer's goodness

Thursday, August 02, 2012

our family vacation

We had a super nice time. After our big adventure at Skookumchuck Narrows we decided to have a quiet day at the house. We watched eagles, played board games and barbequed steaks. It was great.

Nelson was a bit frightened by the eagles, and also by a couple of bard owls who whooted intermittently from the treetops, but he relaxed and enjoyed himself after a while.

Just before we left, we captured a family photo. I think we'll use it for our Christmas card this year. What do you think?

Oh yeah, we could be in a catalogue or on a calendar or something. Don't you think?

Seriously. It was a great vacation. We're home now, refreshed and relaxed and happy to have enjoyed a few days together.

question: what did you do on your summer vacation?

mompoet - feeling photogenic