Friday, September 30, 2005

it's going to be okay

Everyone at work has helped fix my big blunder. Men have delivered picnic tables to a meadow. Lost shovels have been found. Scouters have laughed at the prospect of a bunch of Beavers wandering into "Lord of the Rings Come to Life." Teen volunteers have taken venue changes in stride. Extra leaders have agreed to work Saturday on incredibly short notice. There is sharing of toilets and much generosity with photocopying. The soil is damp and rich, the little trees are growing. The creek is swollen with the rain. Everything will be okay.

question: is anything more delicious than the first gulp of air when you get your head above water?

mompoet - relieved



Thursday, September 29, 2005


It's still a beautiful world

a bit overwhelmed

It is not my nature to decline, recline and relax. Even in my leisure I accelerate. Right now I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with work, helping, volunteering, ramping up to the kids' fall schedule, buying a new car. Then I made a gigantic mistake at work - not that hurt anyone, but nearly scuttled a major special event and nearly let down a community stakeholder with whom I am planning the event. We recovered, I have been forgiven (I'm pretty sure of that). I won't make the same mistake again (forgot to check if something else was happening at the park where we were planning the event - something was). Luckily everyone involved is being gracious, positive and understanding. They probably think, "Thank goodness it wasn't me who made that stupid mistake." Luckily everyone has pulled their resources in to help solve the problem. Luckily things will be just fine Saturday and on the outside it will hardly look as if anything has gone wrong. Luckily I understand how lucky I am. Right now I owe God, karma, my built-in horseshoe (that's for Michele) and the good people around me. Big Time.

question: Did you ever open your eyes at the edge of a cliff and say, "ooops?"

mompoet - stepping back carefully and gratefully

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Tale of Two Squash

I had some really good squash and corn soup at a restaurant in Gibson's Landing a couple of weeks ago, which has got me in a squash-cooking mood. The local produce store wanted $1.69 a pound so I did not buy it there. That would have made a modest-sized squash cost about $6 which is just silly.

So I kept looking and I told my parents that I needed a squash. My mom bought me a glorious turban squash about the same time I bought an odd-shaped and coloured squash at a little market on Hastings Street. The lady there could not tell me the English name for it, so I took my chances, it being only 39 cents a pound and costing $2. Mom and Dad's squash is of indeterminate price. I picked it up from their place when I went to give the cat a pill after Word on the Street on Sunday. My parents buy me cheese and other things when they go to US once a week to pick up their mail. Dad keeps a tally of my grocery bill. Every once in a while I pay him $47 for cheese and squash etc and clear my tab.

Anyway, I now have two squash upon which I propose to experiment. I have named them Rosalie and Bruno. I will investigate them, cook them, eat them and report back.

question: what is Bruno anyway?

mompoet - duped by a pale pumpkin?

Maybe not so much like Hank Hill up Close

In July I wrote a post about George Bowering, renowned BC Poet and former Canadian Poet Laureate famed for slamming slam poetry. In my post I expressed my surprise upon seeing him read at the West Coast Poetry Festival, where I discovered that he looks like Hank Hill on the tv show King of the Hill. That's Hank on the left in this picture, if you don't know the show. I compared the reality to some of the publicity photos I had seen of the poet George Bowering like this one, and pondered just what it is a poet is supposed to look like.

I saw him again at Poet's Corner at The Word on the Street, where I volunteered on Sunday. I don't think he looks like Hank Hill anymore. You can decide by looking at the photo that I took. Now I think he looks like George Bowering. Having seen him twice, I have decided that it's the other photos that are wrong, and this is what he looks like. Similarity to a primetime cartoon character has faded. I met quite a few poets in the audience who have taken a poetry course that he taught. His poetry is very good, and from all accounts he is also a good teacher, and from what I saw on Sunday, a solid performer too.

One other thing I learned. He didn't wear his nametag. Most of the feature poets did not wear their nametags. That's okay, I'm sure they let them into the VIP lounge without them, unless of course the door person there was relying on old publicity photos or reruns of King of the Hill. Then George would not have got in, I don't think.

question: why does the way a person looks change with repeated exposure?

mompoet - minutiae-ponderer and nametag-kleptomaniac

Saturday, September 24, 2005

an arm and a leg

I called my dad to tell him we bought one of these today, and to thank him for some help he and mom are giving by loaning us money to buy it.

He was gracious and enthusiastic, then dropped the other shoe. "Now you can do me a favour," he said. So it turns out I will be giving a pill to their cat for the next three days. Oops. that's not their cat. This is their cat. Oh, no, sorry. This is their cat.

Actually, their cat looks like this. And dad admitted that I do not have to actually put the pill inside either end of the cat (phew). This is good, because if I want to drive the new car I will need two hands and two feet intact. It is a standard transmission after all.

Their cat is fierce. But there is nothing I would not do for my mom and dad. Now or ever.

question: What does your cat look like?

mompoet - preferring felines who look like this

Friday, September 23, 2005

blog with fake spam

if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

question: why the heck not

mompoet - creative in the face of annoyance

At least we're not buying a house

Andy's car died yesterday. Today we are shopping for a car. We decided to get a new car, as in nobody else ever owned it before. The last time we bought a new car was in 1981. We both still lived at home with our parents and we bought a Toyota Tercel liftback to share. Brand new, $7 thousand. It was a great car. We kept it until our son was 2 years old.

Since then we have bought used cars and we have been fortunate to have been given two cars for free. The best ones have been the Subaru and the Civic that I'm now driving.

If you know me, you know I hate to shop. It's not that I don't like to spend money, it's just that I find the process of looking, comparing and choosing to be excruciating. I get overwhelmed very quickly by the visual stimulation, the hype, the apple-and-orangey-ness of it all. But off we went together to make this decision. So far we have looked at one of these and one of these and even one of these. Andy likes the Mazda best so far. Tomorrow we will go look at these. Soon we will own one of them.

Andy and I are trying to make a good decision, reading Consumer Reports, discussing price, options, reliability, styling, handling, long-term repair records, colours....I'm trying not to get stressed about it or overwhelmed by it. We are well, we love each other, the kids are wonderful. We'll own our house outright in just a couple more years. We have everything we need in the world and more, and finally we'll have a car that is not a rolling liability. We could not ask for more. In a few weeks it will feel like old news.

Please send me lots of positive energy on Saturday, for our continued auto shopping and probably decision-making day. And thanks, mom and dad for your help with this. We couldn't even contemplate it without you.

question: why are the silliest things sometimes the hardest?

mompoet - alloy wheels? what the heck are those anyway?

ps We're getting a stick shift!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What are you doing this weekend?

Go to Word on the Street. It's the best free thing to happen in Vancouver on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday, September 25 11am-5pm all around the block near the downtown Vancouver Library. I'll be at Poet's Corner. Come say hi.

Would you rather can tomatoes or can't tomatoes?

Would you rather squash a squash or be squashed by a squash?

Would you rather lend lint at Lent or be lent some Lent lint?

Would you rather be a butterfly butler or butter a butler's fly?

Would you rather knot or not? nitpick or nutpick?

Would you rather sprout wings or brussels?

Would you rather flex your clams or your mussels?

Would you rather be a cow or cow a bee?

Would you rather I stop?


question: yup?

mompoet - ok

ps - that last bit is not meant to reflect the quality of Word on the Street. Believe me, it's much better, Word on the Street, I mean.

cat peace

Daughter brought the cat downstairs this evening and soothed her into staying in the living room. She kept the dogs quiet and calm and the general noise level low. The cat came down before 8pm. It is now 10pm and the cat is snoozing on back of the couch. The little dog is not barking at her. All is well.

Our daughter, the cat-whisperer.

question: who convinces the cat at your house?

mompoet - giving credit where credit is due

dog love

The little dog loves me now. Partly I think because I remind her of Michele - but mostly because she has figured out I am the mom. She whimpers at the door when I leave, the kids tell me, and she follows me around the house. She is jealous of the big dog. She barks when I pet Soleil, and tries to get in between Soleil and her food at meal times, until I shoo her away. She is eating things she does not usually like because I feed them to Soleil and she does not want to be left out. Like carrots. She likes to be cuddled and enjoys her own little dog version of rough-housing. When I pick her up the big dog looks at me with sad eyes. I cuddled Soleil and told her I know she wishes I could pick her up too, but she is WAY TOO BIG.

question: does sibling rivalry apply to canines?

mompoet - imagining what it would be like to carry the large dog around in my arms

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How could you not love this face?

Sienna was pretty anxious for her first couple of days. She's feeling better now. Meanwhile, the cat ventured out from under the bed and came downstairs for a couple of hours this evening. Big black dog says, "Whatever."

question: do you think this is a scary dog?

mompoet - trying to convince the cat..

Monday, September 19, 2005

the creature from new westminster

We are dog-sitting this week. Our good friends Michele and Brent are in Montreal for a week and this time they took Michele's mom, Pauline, who usually looks after the "monster baby." Chiclet/Sienna is an American Eskimo miniature. Here's a google image. I'll take a photo later. It's just so early in the morning, everyone is asleep except the dogs who are lying down NOT BARKING and the cat, who has come out of my bedroom for the first time since Friday evening (we put her litter box up there finally yesterday afternoon for fear she's going to pee under the bed or explode). Anyway. The cat has finally come downstairs and she is sitting on the dining room table but I don't have the heart to shoo her down because she is afraid of the new dog. Sienna is the littlest furry mammal of the 3 (Soleil 70lbs, Amy 14lbs, Sienna 6oz - just kidding - 12lbs). But she makes up for it in volume and feistiness. Actually, she's settling down and feeling safer, and she must feel better now that she is actually eating. Did I mention that nobody is BARKING???

So now I'm going to eat my breakfast with 2 dogs under the table. My toes will be very warm. I hope the cat does not drink my coffee.

question - how many furry mammals at your house today?

mompoet - WOOOF!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

rainy day

On Friday it rained in the morning. I was happy. I love when the weather matches the time of year and the feeling in my heart. I did not feel sad. Just cozy, happy, focussed. The rain fit.

The summer flowers looked like people who had stayed too late at a party and now the lights are on and they have to decide whether to go home or go to bed or just have breakfast. The rain made them moist and lush.

The dog loves to walk in the rain, not so much the walking part, but the drying after. When we get inside she heads straight for the towel closet. I dry her off from head to toe. She especially loves having her head and face rubbed, but she gives me her paws one by one, very solemnly and allows me to dry between her toes and fluff the feathers on the back of her legs. I can feel how skinny her tail is under all that fur. Sometimes, when she is completely dry and I am folding laundry, she comes and sits in front of me with a hopeful look. So I say, "Are you wet?" Then I dry her all over with a towel even though she is really dry already. That's how much she likes it.

Welcome fall, goodbye flowers, hello rain, thank you dog for loving so much.

question: do you like the rain?

mompoet - dry

That explains it

Tracie, the cycle class instructor, told us yesterday that she qualified for the Canadian National Triathlon team this summer. Sadly, she won't go to the World Championships this fall. They're in Hawaii, and she can't afford the trip. Yeahhh Tracie anyway!!!

So I guess that explains why, in her class, I regularly get my heart rate up in the 160s. Hmmm.

I started back to the weight room this week. Took a break over the summer for no particular reason. I kept up walking and cycling, but laid off the lifting for a bit. I can still do most of my weights but the next day I feel like I am made from owie-dough. Owie. I know it will get better if I keep at it. Over the summer they painted the weightroom and put in a new floor. All blue. It looks good.

Today will walk. No weights, no bike. No triathlon.

question: did you ever take a break from something just to find out what it would feel like to begin again?

mompoet - life is a triathlon

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


you know you're having a very busy day when you eat for supper (at 9pm) the same thing you ate for breakfast (at 5:30am) - well, the supper part did include a glass of wine, but in a way, that's worse....

question: what's for supper?

mompoet - frosted mini-wheats

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

looks like a lemon, feels like a grape

I thought I was doing so fine with the changes of the season and goodbye to Barb and her family, then I was driving to work listening to Joni Mitchell singing "The Circle Game," (the seasons, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down. We're captives on the carousel of time...) and I thought how grown up my niece and nephews will be when I next see them and BOOOOOOHOOOOO! Then I regained my composure and went into the office and told my friend Robin about it and she told me the storyline to a country music song she heard on the radio about a teenage girl with cancer who goes to the prom and her date shaves his head to make her feel better and BOOOOOHOOOO!

Geeeez. I guess I am sad. Lucky I can deal with being slightly embarassed and there are people around me who love me and understand.

Meantime, I'm not reading any hallmark cards or looking at velvet paintings of large-headed children with sad eyes.

question: have you had a thin-skinned day lately?

mompoet - love is hard but good

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hemp is Everything, Everywhere, Everytime

Did you ever notice how hemp people attribute everything to hemp? I was in the hemp store in Sechelt, buying hemp string for my daughter to make friendship bracelets. The guy at the counter rang it in, and the total was $18.12 for two big rolls (purple hemp and yellow hemp - very cool and lots of it). As I fished for twelve cents in my coin compartment, the hemp guy said,

"You know, the War of 1812 was over hemp, you know."

"Hmmmm, I did not know that!"

Bleary-eyed happy hemp guy number two emerges from the fragrant back room and joins in the conversation,

"Yeah, Napoleon wanted to eliminate the British Navy by cutting off its supply of hemp. They needed hemp to make their ropes and sails. It was the only thing available."

"Wow! I didn't know that!" I find 12 cents, decline a bag and leave smiling.


question: Did you know that the arabic alphabet and modern calculus were both inspired by hemp?

mompoet - full of hemp (not really)

home sweet home

I am glad to be home. I got big hugs and sighs of relief and I found dirty dishes in every corner of the house. The dog is following me around like I am her mom. My kids like the small gifts I brought them. My husband says he okay with no gift. "I just want you," he says.

But I do want to go back to the Sunshine Coast. Do you believe that I have only been there once, and then only to one place, although it was a very good place. Except I also did go there when I was in Girl Guides and that was pretty miserable for a number of reasons but not because it was Guides. I had some stuff going on, but I was 12 so that was normal, or at least typical.

Anyway, here's where we stayed. It was beautiful, and comfy and totally welcoming, and my friends were there, in their pajamas most of the time.

But I do want to go back with my family. Here's where I want to take my husband. And this is where I want to go with my mom and daughter. And my son, well, we'll figure something out too.

Question: Who would you take where if you could take anyone anywhere?

mompoet - just lucky I guess

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Standing Together

Here we stand. Mostly we sat in comfy chairs in front of the fire at Willow House, or on the beach, or lay in beds and screamed with laughter until we fell asleep. We cooked, we shopped, we read, we talked and talked and talked. We put our pajamas on before supper. It was a good weekend. Thank you Myrna, Kirsi, Leanne, Cathy and Karen. You are the best. We are the best (although we should not try singing Mustang Sally in public just yet, especially with pasta lifters as microphones).

question: what's your favourite air band song?

mompoet - in the turquoise toenails

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ladeez Road Trip

Six momalicious mamas will go to the Sunshine Coast in the Myrnamobile. We'll leave Friday morning and come home Sunday night. We have ambitious plans: drink coffee and read books in the morning, walk, sleep, eat, laugh, throw rocks in the water, drink wine in the evening, laugh, eat, sleep.

Just the right ending to the first week of school.

Back Sunday

question: who do you take on the road?

mompoet - 'alicious!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

not goodbye

I just realised that I don't usually say goodbye. I say "See you soon."

We drove Barb and her family to the airport tonight. Got there plenty early but I couldn't stay until gate time. I know you're supposed to live in the moment, but this was a moment I wasn't doing well with, so I said goodbye like ripping off a bandaid and got out fast. Driving away from the airport I wanted to turn around and go back and try again, but I didn't. Then I wished I'd written a letter to give to Barb to read later with all the stuff I couldn't say. But I didn't. Then I thought I should have given each of the kids some little package for on the plane - some gum and a MAD magazine or something. But I didn't.

Then I realised there was nothing I could have done to make goodbye easy or feel right or be memorable for the all the right reasons. That only happens in movies.

So I'll write them a letter and start learning how to be close from the other side of the world. I bet we'll get to be pretty good at it. We've done it before when Barb has lived in other countries.

And I'll quit fantasizing about life having a rewind button, and remember the feeling of her hug and also know that they are coming back. So maybe I should have just said, "See you soon." Because I will.

question: NA

mompoet - sad

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I love my family pictures

My predictions for August 2007:

Barb and Kim will be fluent in Arabic. Maya will have invented a way to cross-country ski in the desert. Lukas will be famous all over Eritrea for his soccer skills. Simon will be a top-notch camel polo player. The kids will be taller and smarter and even more wonderful than they are today. Barb and Kim will be glad they made this commitment to adventure and growth together as a family. We will be glad to have them home and proud that they went.

mompoet - happy and sad

This is a picture of me calming myself down

The kids went back to school today for an hour each. We spent some time over at Mom and Dad's visiting, and the children said goodbye to each other and Alex and Fi to their aunt and uncle. I'll see them one more time after work tomorrow to help drive to the airport. After supper I cooked up a storm. Our first crock pot of the fall. I know it's not really chilly enough for chili, but that's what I felt like making - one for tomorrow and one for the the freezer. The crock pot is lovely. It will feed Andy and the kids at supper and still be warm for me when I get home later tomorrow night and need a friendly bowl and probably also a big glass of red wine.

I use a "heart smart" recipe that's a mixture of several I've tried. Andy's not crazy about it. He likes a very meaty-beany concoction with flour added to make a brown gravy. It looks positively...Scottish! But he pours in lots of cayenne pepper so it does not taste Scottish at all. He never uses the crock pot - just the stove and a big pot. My chili has tons of onions and carrots (sometimes zucchini and cauliflower, but don't tell!) and garlic to stretch it out. I pour in some wine too, which makes the flavour more round and full, and the smell...mmmmmm. Mine is medium hot with firey sauce and pepper flakes available on the side. I like to serve it with some cheddar cheese on top.

So I'll come home from the airport tomorrow and have some chili and think about Barb and Kim and Maya and Lukas and Simon flying away to spicy and nourishing adventures in Africa, and everything will be just fine.

question: what's your comfort food?

mompoet - partial to pasta with olive oil, salt and parmesan

old poems don't always stink

I was updating my friend Neana's resume today so I had to re-install WordPerfect so I could convert it to Word. I miss Corel. It is such a simple and easy program. Word is such a left-handed bionic gorilla. I hate it.

Anyway, before I uninstall Corel again, I decided to convert a bunch of old poems that I have saved to cds and floppies, so I have them in Word, before we get a computer that I can't run Corel on anymore. I came across this funny one in my "kids poems" folder. I wrote it about 5 years ago.


You crave the weight of three blankets,
Me, I prefer a duvet.
You like your bedsheets all crispy and snug,
I just can’t stand them that way.

You rest on three or four pillows,
I like no pillow at all.
You sprawl from corner to corner,
While I curl up close to the wall.

You like to snooze on your tummy,
I always snore on my back.
You shine a nightlight beside you,
I need the room perfectly black.

You leave the window wide open,
I always lock it up tight.
If it weren’t for our wonderful bunkbed,
I don’t think we could get through the night!

I will go to sleep and dream some dreams and dream some poems and write some poems. Meantime, there's some leftovers re-heated.

question: how was your sleep?

mompoet - craving a nap

The Slam

We raised over $500 for the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word last night (counting the take from the door and the raffle). The raffle was a lot of fun, with poets donating tons of stuff to stuff the boxes. The winners took home treasure chests filled with goodies from my kitchen and chapbooks, cds, books, t shirts etc.

The playoffs were spectacular. Nine poets competed. It was one of the best evenings of poetry and performance I've seen in a long time. Good good good poetry and poets trying their best and brightest to get onto the second Vancouver team. Any four of the nine would have made up a great team.

I was thrilled to be part of a "slam-off" at the end of the show. Three poets (including me) tied for 3rd place at the end of the second round, with room for just 4 poets on the team. We each performed one more poem. In the end, I came in behind the other two, so I will continue as a "close but no cigar" supporter and active participant in the slam. I am sincerely delighted to have come so close. I feel like I am improving my performance skills and connecting better with the audience each time I perform. I just love the feeling of being part of the show. It's a thrill to write and prepare a piece, then bring it to the stage. It may sound corny, but being part of the Vancouver slam community and Vancouver Poetry House is as good as winning.

Now it's time for me to help with festival preparations, and also to write some of the poetry that's bubbling around just below the surface of my creative/thinking/feeling self. And to support our two wonderful Vancouver teams as they go into our own Canadian festival. Congratulations Magpie Ulysses, Dunce the Wizard, Kim Shaughnessy and TL Groves as you join Zaccheus, Chrystalene Buhler, Brendan McLeod and Barbara Adler as Vancouver's representatives in slam poetry. What great teams! What a night! What a community!

question: Is it really the first day of school? How can it be?

mompoet - turning pages

Monday, September 05, 2005

Festival Fundraiser

The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word will happen in Vancouver, October 11-15. This is a second annual event (the first was last fall in Ottawa) combining a slam poetry tournament of Canadian teams with fabulous showcases of spoken word artists from Canada and other places. I'm helping to organize and run the event.

We didn't get two big grants that we had hoped for, so we're doing fill-in fundraising. Tonight's proceeds from the Vancouver Poetry Slam will help the festival. I'm organizing a basket raffle to help raise a bit more cash.

My daughter and niece helped yesterday by making signs to decorate the baskets and advertise the festival dates. They were brainstorming Canadiana themes and teased me about maple syrup. I said "anything but maple syrup, okay?" Of course, they made maple syrup. I think it turned out just fine - especially the sequins.

question: what are you doing on October 11-15? huh?

mompoet - accepting help wherever it is offered, and finding lots of it

I love my family

We did family stuff last night: went out for supper at Capitol Hill Szechuan then came back to my parents' house in Burnaby for early birthday celebrations for my nephew and brother-in-law. We also played balderdash (with slips of paper and a dictionary - not the board game version). We laughed our heads off and ate home-made lemon cake and home-made ice cream (a successful cooking experiment by my niece). This is our normal, noisy, silly, family self. We're soaking it up while we can because it will be a different shape soon.

If you are interested in following the adventures of my sister and her family, they have set up a blog. Here it is.

question: what small practices define your family?

mompoet - Geog Bust is the new 9-sided yurt

Sunday, September 04, 2005

the funniest things

When I go to a party, I like to sit on the floor. Our friends Kathy and John had a small supper party last night. We ate supper at the table. It was nice, but I could hardly wait to sit on the floor. When I sit on the floor I can laugh lying down, which feels very good. These friends are the kind of friends who don't mind when I do that.

John is one of the funniest guys I know. I absolutely love his sense of humour. He is 100% uncensored, so much so that partway through the evening, Kathy came and cuddled up to him on the couch then commenced to jab him in the side with her elbow every time he crossed over some conversational line. A couple of the other women said "too much information" a few times and even put their hands in front of their faces. I just fell on the floor laughing, a lot.

Here's a John-ism: You know that guy who looks like Jesus, but with short hair, who walks up and down the street all the time?

I know, it's not very funny when I post it, but it is when John says it. I'm glad that John is Kathy's husband so she gets to do the poking and groaning, and I get to laugh.

question: who's funny in your life?

mompoet - tickled pink by frank talk

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Five days, five minutes, five seconds

Five days off work...I do love flex time work hours. flex flex flex...ahhhhh..

Five minutes to read my email now that we have eaten supper. Daughter has a friend over for a sleepover. They are making chocolate chip cookies, or rather a chocolate chip cookie. A big one.

Five seconds to post my blog. Son wants to play the new version of roller coaster tycoon. I'm getting out of this kitchen before the big cookie pops the oven door open like when Lucy baked bread on I Love Lucy and so a roller coaster crash and burn can be orchestrated to impress everyone. Ahhhhhh. Did I ever tell you about Zoo Typhoon? That's when son and daughter cooperate to set all of the animals in Zoo Tycoon free to eat each other and all of the park guests and zookeepers. It's built into the program, so it's intended to be used that way.

five, four, three, two, one bye


ps 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp soda, 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips 350, drop by spoonfuls, ungreased cookie sheet - don't cook them (it) too long