Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

so many movies

I have been gorging on movies this holiday. Here are my haiku reviews for a few of them

The Savages Synopsis:

we'll all die some day
in the meantime, life is hard
but worth the effort

The Savages Review

comedies about
dementia are rare but
this one is damn good

The Golden Compass Review

in a parallel
universe movies don't have
truncated plot lines

The Golden Compass Synopsis

a girl, a witch, an
armoured bear, a bad woman
and Sam Elliott

The Kite Runner

Afghani boy's life
betrayal, loss, then a chance
to be good again

The Kite Runner Review

real people walk from
page to screen in this finely
spun redemption tale

Juno Synopsis

Juno is sixteen
not yet ready to parent
can she know who is?

Juno Review

frank and funny as
boysenberry-flavoured junk
this film rocked my heart

So far so good. One more week to go. Lots more movies to see.

question: seen anything good lately?

mompoet - glug glug glug... ahhhh

This time next year there may be a new hole in Mars

Astronomers funded by NASA have spotted an asteroid headed for Mars. The possible collision is predicted for January 30, 2008. Here's an article.

question: do you think it will hit Mars?

mompoet - wondering what it would feel like to know something is going to knock you in the face one year from today (maybe)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

one I like from the viral videos list

Pop culture/current events blog Yes but No but Yes is doing lists all this week. Check out their list of top 10 viral videos for 2007. You can vote for your favourite if you like. I like this one a lot.

question: which is your favourite?

mompoet - music/video jambalaya is fun

spam I am

We have a yahoo account for Vancouver Poetry House. Mostly I use it to send group emails with announcements of events. I do this by emailing the announcement to our own yahoo address, with blind copies to recipients.

Yesterday I sent out an announcement, but didn't see the message come back to yahoo. I began to wonder if it was actually sent, and if so, if anyone received it.

I found it this morning, in the SPAM folder.

If yahoo can't figure out that the sender is not spamming herself, what can it figure out? Or maybe it was commenting on my pattern of use - probably more likely.

question: do you spam?

mompoet - spam I am (I guess)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Like my Dad, I don't tire of a gag easily (Part 3)

Okay - this is all, I promise, but this one has some artistry/trickery/surprise endings. Then that's enough Human Tetris. I promise. (for the best effect, scroll down and start with part 1 and work upwards)

I still get my sense of humour from my Dad (part 2)

More human tetris? I thought. But I still thought it was funny when I watched it (more shrieking).

I get my sense of humour from my Dad - part 1

My father pointed me to the YouTube post. I shouted with laughter when I viewed it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This Christmas - some good

Good about Christmas this year:
  • Everyone has a nice long break from school and work. Andy, the kids and I are all home for many days.
  • Not too much stress leading up to Christmas - not a lot of shopping or cleaning or decorating - just enough of each thing.
  • A WHITE CHRISTMAS! Just enough snow to be beautiful but walking and driving was unimpeded.
  • Beautiful Christmas supper at Andy's Mom's house. She's such a good host and cook. We all helped with the serving and cleanup. She was surprised and delighted to go into her kitchen after and see everything washed and put away.
  • Lots of dark chocolate.
  • Lots of good movies.
  • Christmas Eve Service at our church was inspiring. A new arrangement of O Holy Night by our friend and sympony viola-player Steve. He and Shelley played (viola and organ) while Carlan sang - a new sound to a Christmas tradition at our church.
  • The kids love the Wii. So does Andy. I love reading while they play with the Wii.
  • Cozy, warm, peaceful, yummy, safe, happy, together.
Not as good about Christmas this year:
  • My mom expected to be home from the hospital in time for Christmas but is not. She had hip replacement surgery on the 21st and should have been turfed out on Christmas Eve, but the surgery was more complicated than planned, so she's still in. Christmas without her at home was just not as bright. She will be fine. Recovery will be longer, but she'll have all of her mobility once she's healed. She is also tough, stubborn, determined and energetic. If anything, we'll have to tell her to slow down and accept our help. Still, we wish it was different.
  • We're not even halfway through our days off. Lots more time for treats and togetherness, to welcome Mom home, to see more movies, eat more chocolate, play some board games, do the giant crossword puzzle in Christmas Eve's Vancouver Sun (I promise not to peek at the answers if you promise not to tell me the answers), read to Alex, not shop.
question: what are the highlights and valleys of your Christmas this year?

mompoet - doing great in the balance

santa baby

Pearl linked this wonderful YouTube vid of Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby, performed in sign language.

question: how are you doing, post-Christmas?

mompoet - at home, enjoying friends' blogs

Monday, December 24, 2007


Fiona made a portrait of her mum out of cookie. She and her friends sat at the dining room table yesterday, and painted with potatoes and poster paint, then made cookies and frosted them. They were at it all afternoon, very happy and contented and peaceful (and silly). I like my portrait very much. She has no explanation for "I AM CAT." It just is.

question: what are you?

mompoet - Merry Christmas to all of my blog friends

another little project

Kirsi's husband Allan is a landscaper. Every December he brings a big bundle of greens to their carport. Kirsi generously shares these with me. Some years I go crazy and staple-gun cedar all over the front of my house, then ask Andy to light it up. This year I just made my usual monster-shaggy cedar wreath for the front door. I think it is very huggable, like a big grizzly bear who likes you very much. It smells good (even I can smell it) and stays green for weeks. I re-use the same wreath form, bow and bauble every year. It's kind of a tradition.

question: do you craft anything for Christmas?

mompoet - west coast happy

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Little projects

While I have some time, I'm chipping away at a few things that need doing. Yesterday it was my car trunk.

These are the before, after and re-loaded photos:

1) before (speaks for itself)
2) after (see note below)
3) loaded (with towels and mugs brought to me by a friend at the gym - these will go to our church's downtown east side mission where they need an endless supply of towels and mugs)

Note re: After

So what is okay to carry around in your trunk? It struck me that if I did not have a car I would have only that shoulder bag in which to carry the essentials. But because I have a car, I have an extra large metal purse and I can port some things around with me all the time. Here's what I keep in the car, even when it is cleaned out:

  • a first aid kit
  • boots, a coat, an extra t shirt
  • umbrella
  • motor oil, small took kit, ice scrapers
  • flash light
  • blanket
  • plastic table cloth (good ground cover for a picnic or otherwise)
  • a couple of plastic grocery bags
  • reusable cloth grocery bags
  • shoulder bag with work papers - I have weaned myself off actually carrying this every day in and out of the office, but keep it in my car in case I need any of the contents (I don't usually need any of it)
question: what do you keep in your car/shoulder bag/other means of hauling stuff around?

mompoet - encumbered but happily so

A festive coffee table centre

I like stuff like this at Christmas.

question: what's your Christmas decorating preference: traditional? eclectic? natural? red? silver? blue?

mompoet - red, definitely - and eclectic I think

Friday, December 21, 2007

A beautiful blog

Do you read "The Daily Coyote?" If not, please check it out.

question: what creatures reside in your habitat?

mompoet - liking the furry things very much

a cooked book and a new job - all one story, I promise

Recently, I have become aware of a change of mood and memory. I have been more stressed, more forgetful, and less able to find the deliciousness of every day. I attribute this to busy times, lots of responsibility, hectic pace etc. But I also worry: Am I losing my capacity to multi-task? Is my grip on the spirit of fun and adventure slipping? Will I forget something crucially important and endanger someone? let someone down in a big way? screw up in a way that I will regret? Will I begin collecting regrets? I don't want those!

An illustration: when the phone rings, I usually think - HEY! The phone! that might be someone interesting. I'll go get it... Lately I've been saying - HEY. The phone. Who is imposing on my limited resources by phoning me now? That's not good.

Another illustration: I spent some time last weekend in my kitchen. It's a way that I calm myself when I am feeling overwhelmed. I was baking biscotti from a recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks, in my small kitchen. I was making a BIG batch of biscotti - quadruple proportions, so I had my biggest bowl on the counter, plus a cutting board covered with chopped up apricots. I set the cookbook on the stove. That's safe, I'm not using the stove top, just the oven. A few minutes later I was still measuring and mixing when I decided a cup of tea would be nice. I put the kettle on the back burner and continued to mix the biscotti batter. A moment later - WHOOOSH! There was my cookbook - ON FIRE! I put it out before there was a major disaster. I had turned on the wrong burner. I had to cut off the badly burned back cover and part of the last page of the book, but otherwise it was okay. I'm grateful I didn't run downstairs for some raisins, get distracted and light the house on fire.

So these are signs that an adjustment is needed. Something has to change, but what? Things are good for me, maybe a little more volume than is needed, but when I tally up my home, job, family, friends, community, I find nothing that I'd even consider eliminating or drastically changing.

Then out of the blue there's a shuffle at work. Two days before I leave on a 3-week Christmas break, my boss phones me and asks me if I want to do a different job (same organization, lateral move) for one year, to fill in for someone else who is doing likewise. With barely a thought I said, "YES!" Of course then I talked to my family about it and slept on it, and called back in the morning and said, "STILL YES!" So starting in January I'll be working at the community centre instead of "out and about" in the community, and I'll be supervising seniors programming and some kids stuff too. I'm excited to be doing something different after 10 years in the same job, which I love, and will return to in January 2009. The new job is closer to my home - I think I can even take transit a few days a week, and my employer provides subsidized bus passes, so I'm sure I'll do it. I could even walk to work when the weather is good and I have an hour and a quarter to spare. The gym where I work out is in this centre (bikes and office in the same building - YIKES!) and the people there are wonderful. Of course I will miss the Mary Annes at my current office, but we'll see each other at meetings and lunches, and they say I can visit any time.

My friend Michele says I was born with a built-in horseshoe. By this she means whenever I need something it seems to drop into my lap. I accept these blessings gratefully. Here I am, needing a change, and a low-risk, moderately high-challenge opportunity has been provided. Thank you God. Thank you job. Thank you friends and family.

Now I just have to clean out my desk at the old office, find out who they are getting to replace me, and get one of those transit passes. If it all works out I will be answering the phone with a lift in my voice, and not barbequeing any more cookbooks any time soon. However, if you give me a nice Canadian Tire Catalogue or one of those gazillion paper phone books we get every year, I will gladly toast it up for you. Yum.

question: did you ever know you needed something, but not exactly what, then it came to you out of the blue?

mompoet - boing

What Crappy Christmas Gift are You? (I am Ugly Underwear.)

You Are Ugly Underwear!

Comfortable and soft, more people like you than let on.
But it's very difficult for you to show yourself in public.

Thanks Daisy, that was fun.

when I was little, my Dad held me in his arms under the night sky, and told me that the moon was mine

I also remember that he taught me to make the letter "C" on the frost inside a window pane, and he built a giant snowman for me, and once made me stay inside when it was too cold to play.

Today he sent me this link. He's still giving me the moon.

question: did you ever think you owned the moon?

mompoet - thanks Dad

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My adventure in the neighbourhood

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk around lunchtime. We walked our usual route, partway up the hill into the neighbourhood above our home, then back down. The local bus stops along the route, and it did this yesterday as we were walking by. A man got off the bus, followed by what looked like a teenage girl. The man hopped back on the bus as the girl started down the street. Then the man got back off the bus and shouted at her, "HEY! Where are you going? That way!" The bus left. The girl turned and walked back to the bus stop, then continued down the street with the man, walking away from me and the dog.

I walked down the stairway toward my home, thinking, "There's something not right." The feeling was strong enough that I turned around, went back up the stairs and went to look for them. I thought, "If it turns out that girl has been abducted, I don't want to know that I saw something and ignored it." Very quickly I spotted the man, a couple hundred meters up a sides street. He stood beside a driveway. A moment later the girl came out of the driveway and they both walked down the hill toward me. I allowed the dog to sniff a patch of grass, while I stood and watched. As they passed by me I saw that the girl was actually a young woman. Her clothing and slight build made her look younger, but her face was old - probably older than her real age. Both the man and the woman had that tired, hard, partly closed-up look that people do when life is not easy for them. They were wearing jeans and nice coats, and the woman had leather gloves and dress boots, but something about them looked sad.

I followed them along the main road, just a hundred meters or so behind. The man was talking to the woman in an imposing tone. She wasn't talking. Every couple of houses he would say something, and she would approach a front door of a house and knock while he stood on the sidewalk a few houses down. They went to about 4 front doors in this manner. I stood far enough back that I wasn't sure if anyone answered the door at any of the houses. They could see me clearly. About this time I called the police. I felt concerned to know that the young woman was safe. I felt concerned that maybe they were thinking about breaking into a house. I also wanted to know if they needed help. We have a temporary shelter program now in our community. Maybe they needed a place to stay, and not everyone knows yet that there's an option in our neighbourhood. Part of me wanted to go up and ask them if they needed help. The other part said, "wait."

The police operator kept me talking on the phone as I followed the two people. I gave descriptions and explained what I had seen. She said a police car was on the way. After a few houses, the woman stopped knocking on doors and the man and woman walked along the sidewalk. They turned a corner and kept going. I kept following. Then I saw what I thought was the police, so the operator said I could hang up. It turned out to be a bylaw officer. I walked over to his truck, and asked if he could radio the police to let them know where we all were. He said okay, and I kept following the people. It was pouring rain, and I think the dog thought I was crazy. She was wet as a seal and we were way off our usual route, but oh well. She's a good dog, and she's big and black, so she was helping me feel safe.

Now the bylaw officer was following me, following the people. I think he wanted to make sure I was safe and that everything was under control.

Finally the police arrived. I saw an officer get out of the car and go over and talk with the man and the woman. I turned around and walked home quickly. I didn't want to be standing around after the police left. First I went over and thanked the bylaw officer for his help.

About 10 minutes later, my phone rang. It was the police officer. He told me that the man and woman said they were going door to door looking for work cleaning gutters. He told me that they weren't dressed for cleaning gutters and had no tools. He asked me if I could tell him which houses they visited, because he was going to go knock on the doors and ask owners what happened. I did my best to describe which ones. I asked the officer if the man and woman needed a place to stay or any help. He said no. He knows these people. They have a place to stay. By this time I was home. I went into my nice warm house with a Christmas tree and everything we possibly need in the world. I dried off the dog (she was soaked!) and made some lunch and sat down to calm myself.

Later I told Andy and the kids about it. Fiona said, "really? you followed them?" I told her yes I did. I told her that I didn't expect her to follow someone when she was out walking the dog. We talked about why I felt safe (the phone, our dog, daylight, lots of neighbours around). I also told her I thought that I looked more imposing that she would, if she was following a suspicious-acting adult. "Yeah, she said - OH, LOOK! A middle aged woman with an old dog and a cell phone - RUN!"

question: do you know this feeling?

mompoet - still a bit jazzed and sad and curious

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yi Yi

I began my Christmas vacation by watching a dvd after the kids left for school this morning. Yi Yi is the story of a Taiwanese family going through most of the major events of life. It's honest and understated and very beautiful. I stopped counting the aha!/just right! moments and enjoyed it from start to finish. It's almost 3 hours long and very very lovely.

It was made in 2000 but it's still at the Rogers in North Burnaby - or will be tomorrow when I return it. Good stuff.

question: watched anything good lately?

mompoet - still enjoying my 2007 New Year's resolution (watch more foreign films)

8 (or under) MeMe

Carol, conductor of the the famous "Friends of the Friendless Marching Band," tagged me at her blog, A Revision.

8 things I am passionate about:
my family (nuclear and extended)
my community
social justice
poems, stories, plays and movies

8 things I want to do before I die:
travel the world
drive across Canada
go back to university
learn to relax
be a better listener
be a Grandma
write a novel and/or a play
sing in a choir

8 Things I say often:
What do you think about...
My suggestion is...
Tomorrow we will...
I love you.
Thank you for your help today.

8 books I've read recently:
Turtle Valley
A Recipe for Bees
The Golden Compass
Moosewood Low Fat Cookbook
A Roald Dahl Treasury
The Artist's Way
A Thousand Splendid Suns

8 songs I could listen to over and over again:
Love Cats - The Cure
Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Lover Man - Billie Holiday
The Lord's Prayer sung from the Voices United Hymn Book
Life is Sweet - Natalie Merchant
Slide - Ani di Franco
Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

8 things that attract me to my friends:
not perfect
have experiences different from mine

8 People who should do this "MeMe":
the first 8 who are moved to do so

question: If you could make a list of 8, any 8, what list would it be?

mompoet - not usually a doer of memes, but there you go.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A wee Christmas Story

Poinsellia’s Christmas Eve

Poinsellia Ferrarret- Rocchio awoke with a special smile. “Today is Christmas Eve,” she thought, “the day of my big, amazing Christmas Eve birthday party. Everyone who is anyone will be here, and it’s all about ME.” Christmas Eve was Poinsellia’s favourite day of the whole year. “Time to get going,” she thought, swinging her legs out of bed, and sliding Christmas-red toes into fluffy white slippers. She glanced toward her bedroom window and noticed that the curtains were lopsided, and the light unbearably bright, even though the shade was still closed. “Maybe it snowed out there. I’ll go look.” Poinsellia lurched across the room, grappling the dresser-top for support. “Oh my…CHOOOOO!...HAAAAAAAA-CHOOOOO!” Poinsellia reached for a Snow Queen Facial Tissue (imported from Switzerland) from the green sequined holder on the night table, just in time to intercept another mighty “HHHHAAAA-CHOOOO!”

It dawned on Poinsellia that she had a cold. Upon this revelation, the world turned cockeyed-scatterwaggle.

Poinsellia persisted, showering and dressing like always. Her morning toilette was usually an exercise in polishing perfection, but today her frock was brinkled and crambly, hems tippling lib-dobbity up and out in excruciatingly faux-parallel fashion. Her hair, always a confection of satinography, was lank and scrabulous. She frugged her trush through rabbling tresses, then threw it to the floor in frustel-ration.

Surely a cold would not – could not - spoil her day. There was much to look forward to: her guests arriving in horse-drawn sleighs, ice skating on the lake, the crystal palace birthday pavilion, (built with genuine Swarovski crystals on the palatial grounds of the Ferrarret-Rocchio estate), the wild boar hunt, the parade of the dachshunds, and the judging of the ice sculptures, all followed by the feast in the great hall, lit by glittering candelabrum and warmed by trained pelicans carrying crucibles of smoldering cherry-wood charcoal among the elegantly clad guests. Why, Poinsellia herself had no fewer than seventeen outfits arranged in her dressing room so that she would be suitably adorned for each stage of this wondrous occasion. Her guests had sent their wardrobes and attendants ahead earlier in the morning, to set up in spare bedrooms in preparation for this day. They too would dress and redress in attire suitable for the festivities, all regal and just-so, but none as just or nearly so as Poinsellia’s own couture.

Poinsellia emerged from her chambers and started down the grand staircase. The clush plarpet on the stairs swained and boobled. Poinsellia bripped the glammester, but all in vain. She sat down with a blop, on her pottom. “Oh dear,” she thought, “this won’t do.”

Stiff upper lip had always been mumsy’s advice (prior to her genteel passing). Before the servants could witness this momentary awkwardness, Poinsellias retreated to her rooms.

Peering into her mirror, Poinsellia glabbed jetrolebum pelly on her lupper ip. It soothed the raw redness but did little to improve her appearance. “Blasted obsessive lip-licking!” she exclaimed, dibbing at her kostrils with another tacial fissue. Glancing in the pull-fength lirror, she reached down to kraighten the plirt of her prock, and swoozled once more, just in time for Mrs. Rumball, her housekeeper to run in, catch her and prevent her from falling.

“You’re to go to bed now,” Rumball clucked, “Don’t fret. You’ll be right as rain in a few days. Doctor Rottibussin is downstairs tending the servants and the guests who’ve arrived already. Most will go home and to bed, but a few we’ll have to keep, they’re swoozing and sweening so’s they can’t travel.” The single globe light in her dressing room divided into three dancing white orbs, assembling and disassembling themselves into a leering snowman wearing emerald earrings and a purple feather boa.

“What about my party?” Poinsellia croaked.

“Doctor says no parties or gatherings of any kind until this epidemic’s over. Half the county is flattened with the flu and it’s so terribly contagious, the other half might as well climb into bed now and be ready for it to hit.”

Poinsellia droozled a timid objection, then allowed herself to be wafted back to the eiderdowns by Mrs. Rumball. Delicate and pathos-laden tears leaked and plobbered onto the counterpane. “My Christmas Eve birthday is my favourite day. And now I’ll miss it.”

“There, there now. I’ll bring a hot stone for your feet, then you get some sleep. There’s a dear.” Mrs. Rumball left Poinsellia adrift in a sleigh, whirling through galaxies of chill and flame, lilacs and brimstone. Thoughts of the plum pudding, the fire dancers, the gnome nativity and the gifts, oh – the gifts, flashed grandomly before Poinsellias blottering and krabbity-shud-blot eyes.

“No birthday, no Christmas Eve…” she sighed, and drifted into blackness.


Some time later. The next morning, I think. Poinsellia opened her eyes, which were clear and bright. The curtains were straight, the light gentle and appropriate to early morning. Her pillow was cool and felt good against her cheek. She detected a faint scent of lavender and knew it was only the linens. She looked around. The sleigh had landed. She was well.

Cautiously, she reached for the floor, flexing feet newly-freed from aches and shivers. Still a bit weak, but feeling more herself with every breath, she crossed the room to look out the window. The grounds still showed evidence of the elaborate preparations for her party, but the ice sculptures had melted, the crystal palace was partly disassembled already, and the dachshunds and wild boars has been taken to their warm stables.

Stiff upper lip, Poinsellia remembered (noting that her own was now smooth, supple and chap-free). Then her heart warmed with sudden inspiration:

“Only a day or two until New Year’s. A belated birthday will suit me wonderfully.” Poinsellia pirouetted, wobble-free, and began a new day.

question: What's your favourite day?

mompoet - the characters and situation in this story are in no way meant to portray actual people, places or situations. Any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

another link post - will write more when I can type without coughing

It's almost the weekend and I'm still feeling crummy so I'm posting another link. This one's really good though. Kind of evocative of how a lot of us are feeling at the end of the work week. Check out bent objects - an awesome blog to follow any time.

question: did you ever feel like that?

mompoet - still craning to see the top of the hill

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a dog tale

Dooce linked this lovely Japanese short film on her site. If you haven't looked at Dooce lately, Heather has updated the site. It's better than ever.

question: have you ever loved a dog?

mompoet - me too

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pie Face

My friend Valerie, who I call Mary Anne (the reason why is a whole post unto itself) has been working at my office for 2 years. At the end of the month, her two year contract ends. While my co-workers and I fervently hope that we will be able to keep her, we have begun the celebrations and recognition that go with an ending of a work term.

Somehow in our discussions with Mary Anne, we found out that she really wants to be hit in the face with a pie. Of course we decided this must become part of her send-off. We have a lunch planned for next week, so that would be the natural time, but also the time at which she would expect to be pied. Pie-hits should be surprises, so we cooked a plan to pie Mary Anne on Friday. My two other friends, who I will also call Mary Anne (we are actually all called Mary Anne in our office) did most of the work, baking the pie, arranging a time when Mary Anne would be in the office and concocting the perfect ruse to lure her to her meeting with the pie. My job was to bring towels and face cloths, and a spare shirt in case Mary Anne needed to change after the pie-ing.

So our boss came to the office to meet with Mary Anne (part of setup). The two other Mary Annes made a loud noise outside the back door of the building by dropping a stacking table on the ground, then one Mary Anne yelled and lay down on the ground, appearing to be injured, while the other Mary Anne hid behind the door with a pie. Mary Anne the pie target rushed out of her office to help, saw injured Mary Anne on the ground, spotted pie-throwing Mary Anne but thought she was "a thug" and ducked to protect herself. The pie was launched and nearly missed our boss, who had come out to see the pie-ing. Luckily she was only grazed, and pie-thrower Mary Anne had baked more than one, so she grabbed pie number two and hit a bull's eye "SPLAAAT!" on our dear Mary Anne. All the while there was screaming and laughter for about 5 minutes without stopping. I snapped the photos, then offered the towels, and was reaching for the spare shirt, when "PHWOP!" pie thrower Mary Anne hit me in the face with the secret pie number 3. It felt cool and mushy and muffly, and tasted delicious. My glasses were full of pie, Mary Anne's face was dripping with pie and she had a chunk of banana on her cheek. We were tasting the pie and squishing it out of our hair and laughing and shouting and stepping around clumps of pie on the ground. There was pie everywhere! We got our Mary Anne. She has been pied. And it's always nice to be pied with a friend.

The pictures tell the rest of the story.

question: have you ever been pied?

mompoet - vanilla scented and somewhat sticky

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lettuce Wraps

These are very good. They are tasty and healthy, and they invite everyone to sit down together, pass plates, scoop and drizzle and lick fingers.

1 head of curly leaf or iceberg lettuce
2 small bundles of vermicelli rice noodles - the fine size
1 pound of protein (minced or ground beef or minced chicken or firm tofu)
vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 tsp fresh ginger - grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
1 small red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 small green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 zucchini, chopped fine
4-6 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
Asian chili sauce to taste
hoisin sauce for garnish

1. Wash and spin dry the lettuce leaves, being careful to keep them whole. Arrange on a plate.
2. While you are washing the lettuce, heat a couple of inches deep of veg oil in a saucepan. Every few minutes, test the heat by dropping a piece of dry vermicelli into the oil. When it sizzles and puffs up rapidly, the oil is hot enough. At that time, drop in one vermicelli bundle at a time, turning once after it puffs. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. The noodles will be dry and puffed up and crispy. (We call them styrofoam but they are much better.) Do the same with the second bundle. You may want to wait a couple of minutes in between bundles to let the oil heat up a bit.

While the oil is heating, go on with the next steps, but keep checking the oil.
2. Stir fry the meat or tofu in some oil. Cook until browned and slightly crispy. Set aside.
3. Stir fry the onions with the ginger and garlic, until just cooked. Add to the protein that has been set aside.
4. Stir fry the carrots. After a minute or two, add the other remaining vegetables (except the green onions - these are for garnish) and cook the lot until it is fresh-crispy cooked.
5. Add the protein/onion/garlic/ginger mix back in and stir fry together lightly.
6. Season with the soy, vinegar or lemon, sesame oil and chili sauce.

On a large platter or shallow large bowl, break the vermicelli noodle puffs into a nest.
Spoon the stir-fry mixture onto the nest of vermicelli.
Sprinkle the green onions on top.
Serve at the table with the lettuce leaves and the hoisin sauce on the side.

How to eat:
Take a lettuce leaf, fill it with the stir fry mixture, including some vermicelli noodles. Top with hoisin to taste. Fold up the leaf and eat the wrap. Have napkins ready.

What to do with leftovers:
Lettuce wrap salad is yummy. Reheat a bit of the stir fry mixture, or serve it cold. Use it to top a bowl of torn lettuce. Dress with hoisin.

The stir fry filling reheated and served over rice is yummy too.

question: what do you like to cook?

mompoet - I like to cook

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The big holiday peel-out

We are all shuffling our feet getting ready to jump out of work and into the holidays. I have (specifically) nine more workdays before I take 3 weeks off to just be at home and enjoy the break with my family.

I have more than 9 days worth of work to do but oh well.

A co-worker of mine leaves for Europe for a family Christmas there next Monday. Another goes on education leave for 4 months when December ends. Another is finishing up a 2 year contract on the 31st, and who knows if she'll work with us after that. Most of the rest are doing pretty much what I am - taking a couple of weeks and returning in January - sooner or later.

This year the kids get out of school just before Christmas, then stay out until Jan 7. I like it that way. We begin with a bang, then the holiday is pretty relaxed.

Things to look forward to (in no particular order):

The Golden Compass opens at the movie theatre this weekend.
Shoreline Writers' holiday meeting with anonymous poems is soon.
We'll put our Christmas lights up on the house on the weekend.
I'm making lettuce wraps for supper tonight.

Gotta go chop veg and wash leaves before I leave for work, so all I have to do tonight is puff up the vermicelli and sizzle and season the fillings. Wonder if I have enough hoisin? better check.

question: is there ever enough hoisin?

mompoet - counting down

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some pictures from my birthday

Birthday Weekend

Yesterday was my 46th birthday. My gift to myself was to have a weekend full of stuff that I want to do, so...

I worked just half a day on Thursday. This half day included a one hour break for a massage appointment. My employer arranges for massage therapy students to come in and do massages for their practice work. I had a one-hour lovely treatment for my tight trapezius and sub-occipital muscles (upper back, shoulders, neck). That was great! Then at the office we spent the lunch hour building festive hanging baskets for our skate lobby. We had a potluck lunch too. I brought a birthday cake that I baked for five of us who all have birthdays about this time. We all sang, and the five birthday girls blew out the candles.

After the lunch I went to the movies by myself. This is my idea of the happiest, most indulgent way to spend an afternoon when life is just too busy. I can check out for a couple of hours, go to another world, and be there by myself. In the darkness of the movie theatre the disconnection from all other distractions is almost complete. I love it.

I saw Lars and the Real Girl. It's about a man who is disconnected from the people around him, unable to respond to love or express his emotions. He gets a life-size plastic woman doll and interacts with her as his real life girlfriend. His family thinks he is having a mental crisis, so they consult his doctor, who advises them to go along with it and behave as if the doll is a real person. Pretty soon the family and the whole town has embraced "Bianca," as a real person. It sounds really weird but it is very good. It's not crude or silly. It's very tender, in fact. There are lots of funny parts, and sad ones too. Mostly it's about love: how we give it, how we accept it, and how we learn to do these things. If you haven't seen it, hurry and do. It will be out of theatres soon, and it won't be the same on DVD.

At home after the movie, I hung out with the family a bit, then we went over to my parents' house for supper. Mom made a beautiful Thai food supper, and Fiona brought her specialty chocolate layer cake. It was very nice. We were home before 8pm, and I crashed before 11. Oh yeah, we watched the DVD of Hairspray. Well, I watched about 80% of it, in between naplets that kept capturing me on the couch.

Today I'm off work again. Fi has a Pro D day from school so we'll do a bit of shopping. I went to the gym this morning and got a new workout from my friend Adriana, who is getting her personal trainer certifications, so I am one of her practice clients.

Lots more fun coming: Andy's work Christmas party at a fancy restaurant, Fi's Christmas recital, and of course, snow. We're ready for it. It may mess with our plans a bit, but that's okay. We'll work around it and enjoy it.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me emails, facebook greetings, cards and sweet surprises on my doorstep and on my desk at work. My birthday was wonderful, and I'm now basking in the continuing treatsy-ness of the weekend.

question: do you give gifts to yourself?

mompoet - life is delicious

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I am at the produce store. Earlier, I have emptied and organized the veggie bins in my fridge. I realise that I have brought with me an old hand of ginger that was in my fridge. It's a bit puckery, but still good for cooking. It's awkward to carry it at the produce store, because I'm afraid someone will think I'm shoplifting it. Then I see a sign on the wall, "This rack for produce you have brought from home." I put my wrinkly ginger in a plastic bag, stow it on the rack, and resume my shopping.

question: ginger?

mompoet - puckery

Friday, November 23, 2007

sweet potato

Dooce linked this livejournal post. It's good if you like dogs, or sweet potatoes, and maybe even if you aren't interested in either. Check it out.

question: what's that sound?

mompoet - co-habiting with omnivores of various species

Thursday, November 22, 2007

chilly morning haiku

frost, soft on green moss
tempts bare-toed shock-bite firewalk
come gently, winter

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

if you are bored at work

spellcheck your co-workers names then substitute their spellchecked names for their real names in you Outlook contacts.

spellcheck if my favourite joke

blogger spellcheck corrects "poo" to "pew" "polo" "pogo" "poor" or "pool." My choice.



Driving home from the photo booth last night I spotted some strange debris on the road. I remember thinking, "it can't be." Well, it was. When we got out of the car, Alex complained long and loud, then ran into the house. It smelled really awful. But it was dark and I thought, "it couldn't be." Well, it was.

In the morning, dressed for work and in a bit of a hurry, I went out to my car..."OH CRAP!" (literally). It was awful. In the light of day I saw it. My nearly new left front snowtire (you know, the one beside the driver's door) flush-deep in dog poo. Worse, the poo was kicked up all inside the wheel well. It seemed to be evenly distributed all around, in amazing quantity. That was a big dog, and I must have made a direct hit (of the poo, I mean. I did not hit any dogs in this story).

This was worse than stepping in it in Vibram-soled hiking boots. This was a full-on embedded poo experience.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, I do have a garden hose, but I was dressed for work (heels, nice jeans, velvet jacket, earrings) and had little time to spare. I just didn't want to risk splashback and the resulting delay. I drove the stinkmobile to work, parked at the far back corner of the lot, and resolved to spend my lunch hour driving to the carwash.

Only the course I was in all morning went long and I had to run to my next meeting. Now the stinkmobile was parked outside the mall. I'm helping with an event there this weekend and I had to check in on a couple of details. Poo-bus sat in the underground parking, for the first time in NO danger of being stolen.

After the meeting I picked up some oranges and broccoli at the produce store inside the mall then hopped in the car and drove to the carwash. The carwash guy did not seem enthused when I told him of my plight. But he didn't send me away so in I went. It's one of those auto-washed with big fleece arms, like a giant wet soapy Muppet washing your car. When I got out I hopped out and looked. $7.24 for 85% poo removal. I saw the sign guaranteeing a perfect clean or we'll gladly re-wash, but I decided not to push my luck. I hope they flushed the place out before they let the next guy in after me. Worse, it still smelled bad.

I drove to work (I work at an ice arena) and pulled my car into the Zamboni bay. Bill, who drives the Zamboni and otherwise takes care of things physical and mechanical in the building, hauled out this big hot water hose and sprayed the tire and wheel well. The hose was a bit short, and I didn't want him to have to move the Zamboni out, so I repositioned the car a couple of times. After 10 minutes of good-natured blasting, we had 97% of the poo removed.

But it's like with shoes. You need to get rid of 101.5% or you can still smell it.

The weather report says sunny all week. Nertz.

question: did you ever have something you were trying to get rid of, but you couldn't?

mompoet - p.u.

the photo booth

Alex got his grad portraits done last night. I went with him to the high school, where the photography company had a big truck trailer parked on site - like a construction site breakroom or first aid trailer. Inside, it was outfitted for picture-taking. There's a small waiting area and change room, and two studio spaces with cameras and backdrops.

Alex and I were both a bit nervous. He does not dress formally very often, so we had purchased his first white dress shirt ever for the cap and gown photo. We had decided against a suit. He's going to rent a tux for the dinner dance, and his work and church never require a suit. There will be a time for that. He could probably use a jacket of some kind that would go with his dress pants that we bought for the Senior Sail formal earlier this fall. We'll see - there's a time for everything.

It turned out that most of the students we saw coming and going were equally nervous and variously-dressed. About half were there with a parent or adult friend. The others came on their own. I'm glad I accompanied Alex. He seemed to like having me there. I helped him make sure his shirt was tucked in right and tie straightened (he wore a different shirt and tie for the casual poses so he had to change). I stayed out of the way and out of sight while the photgraphers did their work. We don't plan to buy a whole bunch of photos. I bet they will be nice, but also expensive. We'll get cap and gown shots for us and Alex's grandparents, and see about some copies for godparents and others who will recognize his graduation.

The whole experience (including waiting for a while because we nervously arrived early) took about 1 hour. It wasn't as scary as we thought. Alex looked awesome. So did the other grads who were there. They are all simultaneously younger and older than we expect them to be. I'm glad that I was there.

question: did you ever see someone in a different light because you were in a new situation together?

mompoet - always looking

Monday, November 19, 2007

I think it's going to snow tonight

I have four snow tires on my car. I carry boots in my trunk. Today, on a day off from work, Andy and I went out for lunch near my office, then I asked him to please stop at my office for a few minutes. There were a few things that I needed to put in order in case I am delayed or prevented from getting to work in the morning by snow.

He is still laughing. He says I am paranoid.

At the office, they did not laugh at me (coming in on my day off). They just smiled and said, "It's not going to snow tomorrow."

I think they are wrong.

I am not afraid of the snow. I have 4 snow tires. I have driven in the snow lots of times, and the bus service is pretty good, and I have more than one pair of good boots. But I see no need to join in the mayhem, especially on "snow day number 1" when half of the people aren't ready, and everyone is in a panic. The roads get jammed. The buses get bogged. It's just no fun. If I could walk to work, I would, but driving down to the bottom of the last hill to be plowed in this town every year, then lining up with the slipsters and slushgrinders is a big waste of time, frustrating and sometimes dangerous.

So when it snows I stay put unless I really need to drive. Like last year, on my birthday, after an all day field trip with Grade 10 and 11 students to Bodyworlds on a school bus, just when I though I was going to have a lovely Thai supper at my mom's it snowed and snowed and snowed. I didn't drive for the supper. That could easily be postponed. I drove over the inlet to West Vancouver - the snow kingdom of the Vancouver area - to get Fi to a rehearsal. It was snowing so hard I decided to stay put. Sure enough the school where the rehearsal was held got closed an hour early and the night janitors were sent home. Driving home we saw people driving frontwards, backwards, sideways and almost upside-down. I was nervous but sure-footed with my four snowtires. It was kind of exhilarating (then exhausting) adventure at the end of a long and somewhat disappointing day. The point is, I had to drive in the snow, so I drove.

Tomorrow, I have it set up so I do not need to drive in the snow. If I am paranoid, that's okay. Maybe it will be a beautiful day. It's just feeling like snow right now, and I like to be ready.

question: how to you deal with "the snow?"

mompoet - respectfully relating to congealed precipitation

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Things are turning right-side-up again

Life is still speeding by faster than I can perceive, but I seem to have found a safe and steady current and righted my boat, so the view is less overwhelming and the deliciousness is returning.

I was talking to a friend on the phone last weekend (canceling a meeting I had agreed to, and arranging to have the conversation by phone). I told her I was doing this because I was feeling overwhelmed. I needed to get smaller, quieter, closer, until I could feel more steady and confident again. She said that she understood, that it was a relief to know that others feel this way too sometimes.

I wonder why we spend our lives trying to look "just fine," even when we aren't always "just fine." I know if we all walked around moaning and groaning about every worry and irritation we'd be bogged in misery. Still, it is a good and friendly thing to admit it when we are feeling like we can't cope. Ask for help or sympathy or a reprieve from overwhelming commitments and we will be met with compassion and a feeling of fellowship.

In my neighbourhood, it is considered a compliment to invite a friend into your house when your house is a mess. By doing so, you say, "You are my friend. I trust you. You can see my mess and still be my friend just the same." It would be good if we could get better at revealing our messes of the psyche and soul sometimes. It would lower the bar for personal perfection and on-top-of-it-ness among friends. That would be good. We would all be allowed to be a little less secure, and we could take turns leading and nurturing. I would like that.

question: do you suppress your yelps of anguish? or let them out?

mompoet - practising the yelp with friends who I trust

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am going to bed now

and in the morning I will read the newspaper


as in look at words and think about what they mean, for fun. yup

good night

some thing funny

We just had a pub night fundraiser for Alex's Aftergrad. We're raising funds for an alcohol and drug-free all-night party at the school after the formal dinner-dance in May.

We sold 91 tickets and raised a little over $1,000 after expenses. We'll do two more pub nights between now and Aftergrad.

I was in charge of organizing the 50-50 raffle. We did things by the books: got a license, read and followed all of the gaming regulations. Along the way I found out that there are three things that it is illegal to raffle in British Columbia:

1. alcohol
2. live animals
3. restricted firearms

Now, you may have a bottle of booze as a prize in a "twonie toss" which is a game of skill, not a raffle as governed by the gaming regulations. So Andy and I got to thinking, could you also have a toss for those other forbidden raffle items? How about a twonie toss for a handgun? or for a live goat? I guess that would be legal, which is good, because we'll have to disassemble that "gun basket" that we had almost ready for the next pub night. We could have a combo-toss for a rifle, a duck and a bottle of wine. I bet we'd clean up (only it would be hard to get the duck to stand still, so we wouldn't know which twonie was closest).

question: did you ever think the law is funnier than most greeting cards?

mompoet - I bet bureaucrats just roll around in their offices laughing their heads off.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

egg in a hole for two

what I learned from a night of not talking

I dressed up as a mime the other day
an attention-getting move, considering
I was going to the poetry slam
mimes are reviled by slam poets because
they make more money than poets
and they don’t have anything to say

I concocted a costume like Marcel Marceau’s with bits from Value Village
bought a wig and a top hat
sewed on a red rose – ah, the fragility of life
applied white face paint and exaggerated lips, brows, eyeliner
and once I was done, I did not talk – not one bit
I can’t honestly say I was a mime – that takes years of having nothing to say
but I was dressed up as one

I expected to have some fun
and make a statement
and maybe get punched
well, not really, it is the poetry slam after all

What I didn’t expect was the experience
of becoming unrecognizable
at least to some of the people
invisible to others
irritating as hell to others still

Here’s what I learned from my night of dressing up as a mime at the poetry slam:

People don’t like it when you know them, but they don’t know you
but they pretend that it doesn’t bother them
I got more fake smiles and waves that night
it took me a while to figure out
people did not know it was me
but I could read their thoughts
“Who is that scary clown? What a freak!”
and feel their relief when I passed

I learned that
people admire you when you go out on a limb
the ones who knew it was me told me
that it was very cool that I really didn’t talk at all, all night
they said they liked my costume, my poster-card haiku
my effort to reconcile mimes and poets at a tribute slam
no matter who you are, it’s still what you do
that shapes the way that people think of you

I learned that
people say things to mimes that
they would not say to someone who might answer back
and that people say things near mimes that they wouldn’t risk having overheard
in regular circumstances
I learned secrets in my night of mimehood
that would not otherwise have been revealed

I learned that people do not like to struggle
to understand
maybe they’re tired of deaf people handing out those sign language cards
and asking for money
maybe they’re just creeped out by
the one-sided experience of talking with a non-verbal adult
it’s not one-sided, really
it’s just different
it could be fun
that, perhaps, was my only disappointment
nobody attempted to speak mime back to me

I learned that it is very hard
not to talk when you see people who you know
not to shout with delight
roar with outrage
heckle with impunity
clapping, beaming and handshake pumping only go so far
to express the thoughts that jump like beans behind a clenched-jaw smile

So I took photographs
finally, I felt a sense of place
in the stereotyped behaviour of the clinch and grin
my friends who did not know me
knew what was expected, and breathed out
pretty much everyone in the place posed for my camera
allowing me to capture them
in their own nonverbal moment of
and even though I lack the skills to convey it eloquently, without words
I knew in that moment what it was to be a mime
loved and welcomed
at a poetry slam

And that’s all for now because
I really don’t have anything

to say

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weekly Poll about Temporary Shelters for Homeless People - Please Vote

The Tricity News' weekly poll asks readers if they support the plan for 5 area churches to take turns hosting a wet weather mat program, to provide dry sleeping places through the winter months.

Here's the question: Do you support a plan to set up temporary homeless shelters in a number of Tri-City churches?

Please vote here

Vote for HUNTER

One of Soleil's (and our) favourite dog friends has been nominated for "Cutest Dog." Please log onto the Province newspaper website and Vote for Hunter. The prize is a big gift certificate to a pet supply store. Voting carries on until noon Thursday.

Vote for Hunter

loaner baby

Bowen (about 18 months old) came over tonight while his mom was out and his dad took his big brother Tristan to swimming lessons. We had fun with him for a little more than half an hour. He can come over any time. We don't have any toys left in the house, but we do have some picture books, so we sat on the couch and read. Bowen also composed some abstract poetry in large colourful fonts on the computer (thanks Fi) and talked in a loud, insistent voice to the dog but avoided kisses (thanks Soleil). Toward the end of the visit he played with potatoes.

When I was a daycare-giver in my home, I offered the potatoes to the baby whenever I had to do something in the kitchen, like make lunch or load the dishwasher. Babies like to take the big plastic bin of potatoes and take the potatoes out, put the potatoes in. They like to put potatoes into measuring cups and baking pans. They like to arrange potatoes in muffin pans. Bowen had fun with potatoes. He tried to feed them to Soleil, so I had to watch out. Thank you Soleil for giving me back all of the potatoes. I know you would be willing to eat them.

When Tristan (4 yrs) came to pick up Bowen he told me that Bowen likes me. He also told me that he is not my neighbour. Only his mom and dad are his neighbours. I told him I like him, even so. Tristan let me carry him home, even though he is TOO BIG!

It's nice to borrow a baby or a little boy once in a while. I am glad we are a house full of teenagers and adults, but once in a while it's nice.

Soleil (49 in dog years) was somewhat relieved when that baby went home. I think she was afraid we were going to keep him.

question: what do you offer a baby when he comes to visit your house?

mompoet - remembering

oh darn

my statcounter just passed 3333 and I missed it.

mompoet - waiting now for 4444

did you notice

I went for a whole, long, quiet day Monday (a holiday from work) at home without reading, tv or radio, and no whining? I didn't do anything spectacular. Mostly puttered, cooked, organized a cupboard or too, talked to my family, walked the dog. In the evening I went out to a meeting but all day long I was with myself without wanting to bolt or zone out with reading. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration, I did want to read, but not desperately so. I went online and learned how to post announcements to the Vancouver Poetry House website, and how to update the Volunteer page, for which I am responsible. So I read a bit doing that, but it was okay.

Two more days after today. I can manage it. The weekend was the dark forest of long stretches and I walked through the woods with myself for company, at peace with my own thoughts.

Tonight I came home early from work and crafted an awesome lettuce wrap supper. This recipe requires lots of fine mincing and coordinating times that food is hot and ready to serve. I even deep-fried vermicelli noodles for an authentic presentation. It was good. And I know the recipe by heart, so I didn't even have to read it.

question: what do you like to do when you have time to putter?

mompoet - puttering is the imagination in freefall mode

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Andy and I saw Into the Wild tonight. I thought it was pretty good, although I think it tried a bit too hard to answer the questions that everyone must ask about a story like this. I would have been comfortable with the movie just telling it and letting us do a little more of the figuring. But that's Hollywood.

I read the book by Jon Krakauer when it first came out. I have only a partial recollection of it, but I remember that there were gaps in the story, and that the book left a lot of questions unanswered. At the time, I found that frustrating, but in retrospect, it's more honest than making it up to give the movie a more satisfying story arc. Then again, maybe Sean Penn (who wrote the screenplay and directed the movie) did some additional research. The credits included thanks to Krakauer and to the family of Christopher McCandless, the young man whose story is told in the movie.

Still in all, it's an engrossing tale of a very strong individual on a quest for meaning. It's visually stunning, with a good sense of humour and tender characterization. The sound track is very nice too. It is a bit too long (about 2 and a quarter hours I think). I recommend it. I don't know if the critics do. I'm not allowed to read reviews at the moment. Whether or not you've read the book, it's a good movie to see.

question: did you ever go on a quest for meaning?

mompoet - loving the movies


Today is Remembrance Day, and also Sunday. I stayed in church and so missed the ceremony at the cenotaph. The Legion is about a block from the church, so we heard the fly-by of jets that signaled 11am, and the sounding of the cannons that marked the end of the moment of silence. Our church service recognized Remembrance Day very well, so I'm glad I stayed.

A young man in our congregation, Greg, sang "The Green Fields of France." His song made me think about the play I saw last weekend, The Wars at the Playhouse. Then it made me think of Afghanistan, then I was crying, and I looked around and so was mostly everyone else. Then Greg choked and cried and had to take a few breaths, then he finished the song. Then Svend, a WW2 Navy veteran from our congregation spoke about The Memory Project. He told us about the sinking of the Canadian warship Valleyfield in the North Atlantic in 1944. We prayed about memory and peace and "us" and "them," and how it's really all "us" everywhere. It was a good service.

I spent extra time after the service checking in with young and old friends over coffee. I left feeling that the well had been filled again. It's funny, when I skip church, I think it's going to be some luxurious thing and I'll have extra precious time for an activity or the family. In reality, I miss it significantly when I do not attend, even for one week. Worship in community helps me renew my courage and optimism. Somehow after spending the morning in church I find more time and energy for everything else. It's a wonderful thing.

At home this afternoon without TV or newspapers I met by phone with a friend to plan a meeting for tomorrow evening. I edited some poems, sent a few emails and made salad rolls for lunch and a warm supper for the family. It was dark, damp and grey outside, fitting for a day to remember those who fought in wars to protect us, and to think about peace. Bundled indoors in a sweater, it seemed right to look out, think ahead, be aware and be sure. And I'm sure that only in community ( a really big one too ) can we find the courage and power for lasting peace everywhere.

question: how did you remember today?

mompoet - remembering

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday without reading is ridiculous

I always read Saturday. If I have time I read the weekend newspaper. If I don't, at least I read a magazine and always a chapter or two of whatever book I'm in. Whatever chores or commitments I have for the day, reading is the breath that I take in between. And when I'm driving or cleaning it's radio or tv just to have something to listen to while I do what I have to do. Today has been very quiet.

Andy and I dropped Fi off at the Arts Centre early, went out for breakfast and did some shopping. That part was easy. We talked, and there was lots to see and do. We got home in time for late lunch. Then I began some housecleaning, in the quiet. In between tasks I checked email (I'm allowing myself email). Please, someone email me! I found myself hungrily reading the headline on the newspaper that I tidied away, and the captions on the cover of the magazine that still sat near my place at the table. This is really weird.

I wish I could say I got more cleaning done, as a result of not being diverted by reading opportunities, but I can't. I did get done what I needed to do. Just the floors left to sweep then I'll dress for tonight. We're going out with friends and will be home late enough that I'll only miss reading a few chapters at bedtime. And I got such delicious books from the library this week.

hunger, hunger, hunger

question: what would you like to read?

mompoet - thought-sounds clanging

dreaming from a fixed perspective

I am sitting on the floor in front of a glass window. I am trying to see the view, which is partially obscured by a spray-snow Christmas stencil of a sleigh and reindeer. The view is the North Shore mountains, covered with fresh, real snow. I crane my neck and turn my head to see through the gaps in the stencil and past the smudges that distort what I can see.

There are other people in the room, co-workers I think, but also friends. They are exclaiming at the beauty. They have renamed Hollyburn, Black Mountain, The Lions all as one majestic mountain with a special name. We all say the name of the new mountain. I can't remember it now. It glows brighter than anything around it, a brilliant, clean white. When I look away it is burned into my visual field.

question: did you ever dream that you couldn't move, and were having trouble seeing something everyone else could see?

mompoet - fixed

Friday, November 09, 2007

one day down, six to go

This is not going to be easy. I like to read. I like chatter on the radio in the car. Thinking my own thoughts is quiet and noisy at the same time.

It occurred to me that the stress I have been feeling may be triggered by this Artist's Way process. Maybe I'm having a change of demeanour because my perception is changing. Julia Cameron warns of the "kriya" or cry of the soul. Perhaps that's just what this last week has been.

On Wednesday, my nephew Lukas in Cranbrook had an accident on his bicycle. He was riding home from school at lunchtime and something broke in the fork on the front. He pitched over the front of the bike and landed forehead first on the road. He was in the hospital Wednesday and Thursday night and had surgery for some skull fractures but he is okay. His eyes are okay. His teeth are okay. He is still Lukas. He is hurt and scared and sad and angry but he will be okay. We have been very scared too. Now that we know it's okay, the sad is allowed to come through. I wish I could go there now and hug him (but not hard, and not on the head).

Lukas was born the very same day that Fiona was born. He is her special twin cousin and very close to my heart. Especially now.

The doctor says he can return to school after the weekend, although he looks pretty banged up and can only eat soup and liquids for the moment. He's also not allowed to play sports for a while. Lukas is a soccer player and a hockey player and he can skateboard too. Right now his brain needs to be safe. My sister says that while she was at the hospital with him, the woman who stopped on the road to call for help told her that she covered Lukas with a blanket and lay beside him. He was unconscious for a few minutes, then woke up. The woman stayed with him and reassured him until help arrived and he was taken to the hospital. The police came to the school where she teaches grade one to tell her that he was at the hospital.

She says they are lucky, well not lucky, but lucky that things weren't worse. We are grateful for that.

question: what's important?

mompoet - wondering

no reading

This week I am doing the "no reading" week of The Artist's Way. In case you don't know about the Artist's Way, it's a 12 week program of recovering creativity, created by artist Julia Cameron. Each week there are readings and exercises and an artist's date. Daily, I write morning pages as prescribed by the program (3 pages longhand before I do anything else). I have been joined by a group of people from my office in a "creative cluster," which is simply a group of people doing the artist's way program together. We meet weekly (or a little less often) to discuss our experiences and share support and encouragement.

I was doing my weekly Artist's Way chapter reading this morning when I got to the part that said that this is the week in which you do no reading. By cutting out novels, newspapers, magazines (and also TV and other time-wasting input-guzzling) you free up your time (and awareness) for other experiences. The chapter predicts an increase in re-organizing and enhancement of the personal environment (closet-cleaning, buying a new throw pillow) followed by time for play. I'm interested to find out how this works for me. I know that I divert myself from being by myself with myself by being busy and by reading. I know I'll miss it, but I know it will be good.

So I will continue blogging, but I won't be reading anybody else's blogs. Please forgive this one-sided behaviour, my blogger friends. It's for a good cause.

I will not watch TV (don't do much of that anyway).

I will not listen to the radio just for the sake of chatter. If there's something good that I want to tune in to to really listen, I'll do that. In the car, CDs will be okay, as long as I choose the CD and don't just listen to what's in the player by default.

I will read email, but will instantly delete anything that is junk-joke or precious platitude stuff, and I won't follow links to articles or websites. Not this week.

Maybe I'll clean a closet or buy a new throw pillow. Maybe I'll skip straight to play. We'll see.

Question: do you ever try something to find out what it will be like?

mompoet - Given the choice, I prefer the thing I have not met before

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The finished product (see below for instructions)

Mom to Mime in Six Easy Steps

It took me about an hour and a quarter to transform myself from mompoet to Marcel Marceau for last week's Dead Poets' Slam. It took me about 10 days to get the pictures out of the camera, but thanks to mighty connector guy (aka my husband Andrew) we have all new high-speed USB connections so our gadgets will communicate more reliably with the mother ship of our computer.

Here goes...

0. I came home from work, had supper with the family, then got dressed. I had the costume all prepared: clothing mostly from Value Village with a bit of cutting and stitching to get it right; hat and wig from beloved Dressew; makeup from various sources. I asked Fi to take my photo for a baseline. Soleil got in the picture too, which is rare. She's afraid of cameras, and apparently also afraid of mimes. She disappeared pretty quickly.

1. After I loaded the dishwasher, I put on the clothing. Nice and stretchy. Like pajamas. mmmm

2. After that I ditched the glasses and squished the hair. I still have a couple of pairs of contact lenses in their sterilized jars. They came in handy this night. If you've never had a wig cap on before, you should try it. It really takes care of the hair (well, most of it).

3. Now the wig. I had to give it a haircut because is was even more shaggy than in the photo. There was fake black wig hair bits all over the place for a few days.

4. White face all over. Niiiiiice.

5. The lips, the eyes, the eyebrows. The white stuff I got was not nearly good enough to hide my bushy brown brows. Well, I could have shaved them off, but I decided not to.

6. The hat. Now I can't talk any more. zip.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

snap crackle plop

I'm still a mess of stress. I thought I was over it but nope, not, still frazzing. A neutral-intentioned comment from a co-worker yesterday sent me in a tizzy of self-righteous "she done me wrong" that's all straightened out today but whooaaah. For the first time in ages I DID NOT SLEEP AT NIGHT. Me, the one famous for 3-2-1-unconscious whenever I want to. I listened to my husband breathing for a few hours and did the pillow/blanket/flip-flop/shuffle until sometime past 2 in the morning. Ug.

Today was another matter. Things smoothed down considerably. It was Take Our Kids to Work Day, so Fi and her friend Kira came to work with me. I had some pretty boring moments, and a private hour with my Artists' Way group, so they spent some time working with an awesome preschool instructor and toured the Burnaby Art Gallery without me at the lunch hour. They sat through a Ministry of Children and Family Development presentation on child abuse prevention in my afternoon staff meeting, which made me feel proud. Then we started up a soccer program before I had to drop Fi to her rehearsal and take Kira home. After that I thought I was home free, but I got called back in to work for a minor emergency that didn't last long and was nicely resolved. Still, I know I am teetering.

I don't like to feel like I am not on top of my work.
I don't like to feel like I am doing less than a great job.
I don't like to miss deadlines.
I don't like that impatient and bitchy feeling I get when I start resenting someone calling or just sticking their head in my office door. That's not why I signed up for this.

I remind myself that there will always be times when I will feel overwhelmed. The time will pass, the feeling will fade. I'll be back on top of the horse.

Meantime, self-care: cancel what I can, do things I like to do, eat/sleep/love healthy and strong, get some exercise, be with people who nourish my soul, pray daily and go to church on Sunday. There it is.

All will be right, but right now, don't tip me - I splash sad/mad/illogic-globs. Watch out.

question: do you ever feel like not your best self? What do you do to recover your centre?

mompoet - lopsided, definitely