Monday, April 26, 2010


these cherry blossoms
big, fat, pink ones - your birthday
seems like yesterday

the deep end

Some days I understand 100% how lucky I am, to have people around me who "get" me and go wherever I ask them to go, even if it's not where they thought they were going. One of these times happened this Sunday at church.

At our church, when the minister is away, one of the members leads the worship service. I've done this a couple of times. The first time I was really nervous. The second time I was really excited. Both times before it turned out well. This time, when Julie said she would be away at a conference and asked if I would lead the April 25 service, I said, "Sure, and can I do something that we have never done before?" Of course she said, "YES!"

This big idea popped into my head, and I decided to follow my impulse and plan a playful worship service. I patterned it on something that I remember doing with my sister and brother and our friends when we were kids. We'd scrounge up a bunch of pieces of cardboard, print big numbers on them, and lay them out on the lawn in the shape of a board game. Then we'd mark up a box to make it into a die, and scrounge up a few prizes. We played the game by rolling the big giant die, and moving ourselves around the game board according to the numbers we rolled. I think we all got prizes. I remember it was exciting and big and fun.

So I made a giant board game and set it up in the basement hall of our church. Three players moved giant game pieces around the board according to their rolls of a die. The game pieces were: a toy high chair, an oversize Ukranian nesting doll, and a giant inflatable Oscar Mayer wiener. The players started wherever they wanted, and ended wherever they ended (because life is like that). Each game space prompted a part of the service, so we sang, when someone landed on "SING" and made a joyful noise when likewise prompted. There were "take a card" spots for which players took discussion cards, prompting everyone to discuss a situation with the person sitting beside him or her. We fit in call to worship, prayers, passing the peace, scripture reading, offering and dismissal, all prompted at the whim of the rolling die, which had numbers on some sides, and suggestions on others: "ask" and "what you need." It was somewhat unpredictable and definitely playful and silly, compared to a regular church service.

What made it wonderful for me is that everyone jumped right in. Three people were quick to volunteer to be players. One of the space prompts was "Share your path." After that turn, each time a player took a turn, she would find someone from the congregation to go with her - roll the die and count the spaces to move the big game piece. The youngest and the oldest in the congregation were recruited to play along in this manner. Several people volunteered how to teach us how to say "Praise God" in various languages, including American Sign Language, and everyone made a joyful noise. In fact, several people remembered that I asked the week before for them to bring instruments or noisemakers, and we had extras for those who forgot. We were in the basement, but I think we still rattled the roof on the church. There were spots that asked the players to "give a gift" (potted flowers that I brought from the plant nursery) to someone else in the congregation and to "be a gift" with a hug or a kind word to another person. Those parts were definitely warm fuzzies, and prompted rounds of applause from the congregation.

I had lots of help from friends who volunteered to play music, set up the sound system and project the words to the hymns on a screen for the singalong parts. My friend Lynn came early to help gather up everything we needed, and to set up and run the game, and provided wonderful encouragement as we went along. The kind acts of these good friends helped me feel sure that everything would go okay.

We had a few first time attendees. Boy, did they pick an interesting day to come to our church. I made sure they knew that we usually worship upstairs in the sanctuary, but assured them that we are fun and playful like this, even on a more ordinary day. I think they'll come back to get to know us some more. Coincidentally, my neighbour came to our church for the first time, with her young daughter and infant son. I think they enjoyed it. The little girl said, "church is fun."

So I'm glad I took the plunge and tried something different. I'm totally delighted in people's willingness to participate. We are playful, curious, trusting and generous. I am blessed to be a member of this community.

question: when you say, "Come on in, the water's fine," who jumps?

mompoet - happy splashing all around

Sunday, April 25, 2010

why I love my job (one of many)

This is my friend and co-worker, Richard. I gave him a broken electric can opener from the seniors' kitchen and asked him to throw it away. Instead, he and my friend Carol (not in the photo) recycled the small appliance into a lovely pet for me. I carried my new dog around work for part of the day, then she had a nap under my desk (in the trash can). Thank you Richard and Carol, for making my dog, and my day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

hey sad turtle,

have some time here, so truth hangs slowly together. Her soft touch hazard should take his sombre throat. How shall this hairy siren tributary hide silver tightrope heaven? Shoot tuna heart symphonies 'til holiday sunflowers tell historic shadow tales. Happy sonata Tuesday! Hilarious seashell tulip! Heinous salt tundra! Hallowed skirt tool hangs sweetly, hardly stating things he says trump hockey sticks. Tell him, Sharon, "today happened, so tomorrow harbours significant threat." Help save theatres. Heave sour trumpet.

question: how should Tallulah?

mompoet - tacks

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the beginning

the sand depends on the foot
depends on imagination of ligaments
hypothesis of granules
depends on concepts: sea, wind, volcano
as yet abstract, not in order of appearance
still only imagined
by the sand

question: which came first
mompoet - imagining

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bat Boy the Musical

When Fiona told me that Patrick Street Productions was putting on Bat Boy the Musical, I thought that it was a singing play about baseball. Eventually, I found out that it's actually based on a tabloid news story about a creature who is half boy and half bat, who is adopted by a family in the southern US.

I am so glad it was not about baseball. Fiona and I went to the Norman Rothstein Theatre and saw it last night, and loved it. It's full of grim humour, social satire, bestial romance, blood, and mistaken identity and amazing revelations about the nature of humanity. Several times I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did a little of both. Mostly I laughed.

If you get a chance to see it, don't miss that chance. It's on until Saturday only. Here's a review for encouragement.

question: what would you do if you met a half bat/half boy?

mompoet - making a joyful noise

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Fiona is in Royal City Musical Theatre's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We saw a preview on Friday, and were bowled over by what a tight, engaging production it is. We've seen various versions of it over the years, starting when I designed costumes for a junior high school production when I was just 14 years old. Fiona was in the kids' chorus when she was little, and we've seen other community theatre groups do it. RCMT's show is the brightest and best version I've seen. The musical direction and choreography are done with just the right touch, which is good, because the whole story is told in song and dance. The music and lyrics are tremendously corny, but it's yummy corn, beautiful, quick-paced, funny and delightful. Vancouver Sun's Peter Birnie likes it too.

It's on at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster until April 24. You should go see it. I'll go twice more, which is also good. First time, I pretty much tracked Fiona around the stage. Next time I'll pan out and watch the whole thing with both eyes.

question: have you seen Joseph? multiple times?

mompoet - any dream will do

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

a week of mushroom discovery

Last Sunday I visited the Port Moody Farmer's Market. It's a great place. There's local produce, fresh baking, luscious preserves and the work of local artisans. The produce pickings are suitably wintery: kale, potatoes, apples, squashes. I can't wait for the summer market with its corn, lettuce, carrots, baby beets...mmmm. I just about walked past a table set with brown paper bags, but the young woman seated behind it called to me, "Do you like mushrooms?" I told her that yes, I love mushrooms. She showed me what she had for sale: Wild Mix of Mushrooms, including King Oyster, Cremini, Portabello, Shitake, and Black Trumpets, all from Misty Mountain Specialties in Richmond. It was this big bag of assorted mushrooms for just $5. I bought it and brought it home.

So this week, I have been eating mushrooms pretty much every day. I'm the only mushroom-eater in the house, so I have actually been guzzling them. Here are some of my discoveries:

I used the shitake mushrooms to make Fettucini with Braised Mushrooms and Baby Broccoli from the New York Times Cooking for Health section. I had broccoli on hand, but I also had some fresh kale that Fiona's friend grew in her Port Moody garden. I couldn't resist substituting this really local green for the one suggested in the recipe. The effect was awesome. I tossed in a few spears of asparagus too (definitely not local, but a good bright contrast to the earthy flavours of the shitakes and the kale). The leftovers made a yummy reheat for lunch the next day. I found the shitakes to be more dense than the white mushrooms that I usually eat, and definitely more flavourful. I especially appreciated the definite "snap" they give, even when cooked to a gorgeous brown/gold. Shitakes are my new favourite.

I thought that the Black Trumpets looked like the fungus that I've enjoyed in some Chinese soups and stir fries, but they seemed more delicate. Upon reading about them, I decided just to saute them in a bit of butter. I served the family stir fried chicken and veg that night, so I had brown rice ready. I ate the black trumpets and their gorgeous liquor with a bowl of brown rice. They were definitely the most fragrant and yummy of the mushroom bunch. Where all of the liquid came from, I don't know, but I'm glad it did. That's the nicest rice I've eaten in a long time!

Time for the Portabellos, which I have eaten barbequed as burger substitutes before, and as a substitute for eggplant in eggplant parmigiana. I chose another NY Times Recipe and made Stuffed Portabellos with Swish Chard. I eat almonds every morning with breakfast, so I chose the pine nut option. I sneaked in a bit of goat cheese along with the parmesan, too. What a lovely, lovely combination. Two big stuffed mushrooms and a glass of pale ale made for a memorable supper. Portabellos are the pita bread of mushrooms, only tastier!

Last night I pan-seared the Creminis and the King Oysters and put them on some quick pizza that I made up with Persian flat bread as a base. I found these Creminis to be the most familiar - pretty much equivalent in consistency, flavour and aroma to white mushrooms, only a more gorgeous colour, which was nice for the pizza. The King Oyster looks like a giant toadstool stem, with the cap missing. The flesh is so pale, you would conclude that this specimen has never seen the light. The flavour is light, and ever-so-slightly sweet when cooked. I sliced it into rounds and halved the rounds, seared it after the Creminis, and alternated brown mushroom silhouettes with pale half-moons over the top of the pizza. I also made kale and pesto and goat cheese pizza (for Fiona) and tomato/pepperoni/onion/red pepper pizza (for Andy and Alex), so I chose to make my mushroom pizza with tomato, mozzarella and parmesan, and some sauteed fresh garlic. It was very good. In fact, there are several slices lurking in the fridge making me think pizza would be yummy right now. I'll eat one slice, and freeze the rest to take for work lunches.

I have yet to try this recipe recommended to me by my friend Kristy, but I will soon. The cauliflower awaits - just have to buy more portabellas, Bella!

I hope, one day, that others in the house will come to discover the wonder and deliciousness of mushrooms. In the meantime, I will continue to double-cook supper some nights, so that I can enjoy more yummy mushrooms.

question: do you have a favourite mushroom recipe?

mompoet - toadstools, toadstools, yum yum yum