Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I am Dancing with Glee

A minus. Actually two A minuses. In one class I was one of only four students to get such a high grade. Yay me!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Let's see.
Finished the fall semester- pretty sure I got quite good grades.
New car! - Honda Hybrid. Ssssoooooooooo lucky.
Did makeup on a student/indie/no budget short film- Was reminded why I don't work for free any more.
Been spinning wool - One of the most centering things I have done in a long time.
Knitting secret socks for Oli - After reneging on a knitted xmas gift 2 years ago (still not finished) I am not telling him about these puppies until they are complete.
Making deep and tender connections with far flung friends - love has no long distance charges and e-mail rocks.
Solstice dinner was moose meat fondue with sake, mandarin oranges and ginger cookies - Good way to spend the longest night while watching 25 cm of snow come down.

That's the Coles Notes catch up.

To come:
Indie film wrap party - will bring cookies and not stay long.
Physio is really helping solve my jaw problem saga- That is a blog entry all on it's own
Xmas with a small collection of family - rib roast, roast veggies, ginger beer and laughter.
New Years - having a small group of good freinds over to play board games and more laughing is on the menu.
Then school starts up again on January 5th.

Feeling good about life. Hope you are too.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'tis the season

The term "ginger-goon" started among my friends way back. I don't know who coined it but it doesn't matter much. The term was inspired by Calvin and Hobbes and the snow-goons which are mutant wrong-looking (or wrong acting) snowmen. One friend in particular was fond of ginger bread but not fond of gingerbread men in a traditional sense so began to make strange gingerbread figures. I think it started with gingerbread men with nooses and gingerbread women with alarmingly large bosoms. And we all just ran with it. There were ginger cragen, ginger saphic love bunnies, gingerbread persons with two heads. Gone were the days of quaint ginger bread stars, x-mas trees and men with all eyes and legs where they are expected to be. We had crossed over and there was no going back. Just look. This year, in my stayed old age, I created cookies with cookie cutters only and look what happened!The damage is done. I was never normal to begin with but now I can't even pretend.
I suggest all of you create unconventional holiday things this year. See what happens.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't Chase Me Ahmmy!

I have been reading in bed for about 20 minutes when Monkey finally decides to open her eyes and greet the day. I don’t get the customary “hello Ahmmy” that I am used to because what has caught her interest enough to wake up all the way is a pillow she had been sleepily rubbing her feet against. Her first groggy investigation of it has shown Monkey that the pillow has pictures of animals on it so her first words this morning are the delighted declaration of “Bear!” and the growly grumble of “Tiiiigerrrr!” She sits up to show me her discovery, her light coloured wavy hair sticking out in all directions. “Bear!” she says again.
A game we like to play is about animal sounds. I will ask her what sound various animals make. I go for the ones she knows like elephant which make a kind of raspberry sound. And cows which say moo, as we all know. But I like to throw in some conundrums like seahorse just to see what she will say. I never correct her as I figure in her world roosters may indeed say “eeeee!” She has never met one so anything is possible I suppose. Kangaroos say “Ach” with a strangled surprised sort of sound, as do bats and whales. Giraffes roar almost as fierce as lions but monkeys are quite gentle, only uttering a jovial “ee ee!” Bears, in her understanding, are cuddly and make a “mmmm” sound accompanied by a self-hugging motion. But tigers are always dangerous sounding creatures.
So this morning bears are greeted with delight and tigers are greeted with a knitted brow and a showing of teeth. Monkey goes on to introduce me to the donkey and the pig. It seems the pig is sad as Monkey demonstrates by pushing her lips way out and looking at me beseechingly. “Pig sad” she pouts in an exaggerated way. But there is not pause. We are right back to greeting the bear with joyful abandon. “Bear!”
Soon it is time to get out of bed and greet the diverse items in the kitchen
“Hello table. Hello paper. Hello sink. Hello towel.” This begins a new game of Monkey’s devising.
“Hello ephalent” she says to me with a gleam in her bright blue eyes.
“Elephant? I’m not an elephant. I’m your mommy!” I reply as expected.
She giggles. “Hello puppy.’
“Puppy!? I’m not a puppy. I’m your mommy!”
More giggles. This goes on; tiger, cow, cat, birdy, until it is time to eat.
After having sat so nicely on her chair for a whole ten minutes or so eating peanut butter toast she slides to the floor to warn “Don’t chase me, Ahmmy!” as she runs away. As I clear the dishes she laps me on her circuit yelling “don’t chase me Ahmmy!”
I bend down and make a swooping ogre face as she rounds a third time screaming with delight at a pitch only dogs should be able to hear.
I realize as I wash up the dishes she is being too quiet. I dry my hands and seek her out. She has found my notebook and pen. It is only by luck that she has chosen a page I was not already using on which to do her doodles. She sits on the bed narrating as she makes short random strokes on the paper.
“Doggy” she requests hold the pen up to me.
“You want me to draw a dog?”
We lay belly-down on the mattress and settle in for some drawing. I draw a dog laying with it’s tail curled around it’s body. The only thing that sets it apart from my drawing of a cat laying with it’s tail curled around it’s body is the floppy ears.
“What’s that?” I ask Monkey to see how close my drawing comes to the real thing.
“Doggy” she says matter-of-factly.
Upon request I draw an ephalent, a fish and a seahorse. To her great delight Monkey has just taught herself to do a somersault while I labour over the finer points of drawing a horse.
She stands and gallops out of the room.
“Giddy-up!” she cries, signalling that drawing time is over.
After we gallop around the table a few times I think it is high time to try something less strenuous.
“Do you want to see Gramma?” I ask.
“Yah!” is the decisive reply and without hesitation Monkey is at the door ready to visit Gramma.
As we mount the stairs Monkey calls up to announce her arrival “Laaamaaaa! Hello, Lama. Ah coming, Lama”
Monkey’s Gramma is always delighted to see her and laughs often and easily in her company. Gramma and I sit and chat while Monkey runs circles around the place looking for the cat, pulling the odd book off the shelf for examination or jumping on Gramma’s bed. After she has stripped down to her diaper leaving her clothes strewn around the place, Monkey stands stalk still next to Gramma’s rocking chair and calls out plaintively,
“Help Ahmmy, tuck! Monkey tuck!”
“Are you stuck Monkey?” I reply in mock alarm. As I crouch down to investigate the mystery of her invisible bonds Monkey screams gleefully away calling back “Don’t chase me Ahmmy!”

Dios de los muertos
and I am wondering
if you are passing through
checking for lit candles
put out for you

if you wouldn't mind
if it wouldn't be a bother
would you drop by
to use your razor
or your teeth
and cut this kite string
i want to let you go now
because you never call any more
and i don't have your new number
and if i can't have your laugh
and your brown eyes
i don't want to stand here waiting for them any more
i am a fool
if you can
let me
let you

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Houses We Live In

Fiction is like a spider's web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners [...] when the web is pulled askew, hooked up at the edge, torn in the middle, one remembers that these webs are not spun in mid-air by incorporeal creatures, but the work of suffering human beings, and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the houses we live in.
Virginia Woolf
A Room of One's Own

Having a fondness for spiders and all things "webby" I particularly like this quote I found today. Fiction is felted in with realty, the two cannot be seperated without destroying the whole. Reality is the sum of all the beautifully mundane things like going to the bathroom and looking in every pocket for your house keys. One's body is sometimes refered to as a temple or home- the place where the heart or soul resides. A person's casket or tomb can be thought of as their final house. I have often thought that a person's history/life story/body of work can, metaphorically, be thought of as that person's house. All the proof of where we come from, made of what we have been given and signs of our existance are the houses we have built of our lives. A part of Micheal Angelo resides in his paintings and sulptures. Old Bill Shakespeare is in his plays. Emily Dickenson resides in her deceptively simple poems and perhaps always did and no where else. The funny thing about these homes of the famous dead is they are empty now of all but furniture, old tableaus and echos. But what marvelous structures they are.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tooth-some Wisdom

I wrote this in May 2002. I came across it earlier today and decided to share.

My jaw still hurts from having my wisdom teeth out. I have a quiet frustrated outrage over the fact that they call them wisdom teeth and then pull them out. Leah wrote a thing one time about how they should be called vision teeth. I think it would only be fair if they called them optional or transient teeth so you know from the beginning that you shouldn't get too chummy with them. I was always looking forward to mine coming in. I saw it as a step in my maturity, a rite of passage. But instead my teeth did a thing called "impacting" which could sound good or bad depending on the context. Turns out dentists unanimously agree it is bad. And bad things must be "removed before they can cause more damage"
My wisdom-my potential wisdom was ... damaging me? Couldn't some agreement be reached between me and my malcontent teeth?
Nope, they gotta go-and why did you wait so long in the first place?
Because I want to be wise...
So now I am four teeth lighter and I can open my jaw about an inch and a half, two inches. My back molars feel looser, my eye teeth feel tighter and I am wondering if it was the right decision. But everyone- EVERYONE- complies to the holy word of the men in white coats and I often doubt myself and chalk these feelings up to stubborn innocence of the facts. Still I can' shake the feeling that I gave away something important. So here I sit, struggling through my sandwich, mulling over the significance of four bones at the back of one's mouth and the possibility that everyone is ignoring the importance of them. That, just like when you grow up you realize you lost something important when you stepped away from childhood, it could be that those of us who rid ourselves of these chompers later cannot put our finger on the source of a feeling of unease or loss or distress. Because no one acknowledges this step in the right manner. It is seen as an unpleasant "procedure" that is common place and unimportant.
Well, I choose to give it importance. I choose outrage at the disregard everyone has for my lost symbol of wisdom. I choose to consciously relocate the symbolic physical location of my wisdom. I will have wisdom eyes or wisdom toes or wisdom hairs or wisdom vertebrae! I haven't picked the new seat yet. Perhaps it will choose me.

What are your wisdom tooth related thoughts and stories?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cold Weather Haiku

So chilly-willy
and thick socks just won't do it
lets kindle the hearth

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Surfing the main course

I feel as though I have spent the whole day surfing. It was fun, loud, strenuous, and satisfying but now I am exhausted and sun burnt. I long for my bed. In reality I have not been surfing- it being November, in Canada, no where near a coast, surfing is not an option. But I have been on quite a ride all the same. 18 members of my family descended on our home (at our invitation) for supper. It was a week in the planning and two days in the execution (if you included prep cooking). 12 adults and 6 children under 10 years of age. To our credit the food was tasty and everyone left happy. But our nerves were quite frayed by the end of the night...which is now...so to bed...to bed and no more 18 person meals for at least 6 months. Perhaps only once a year...if that....to bed.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday Haiku

mom says at birthdays
the lions share of the day
goes to who birthed you

Now, being a mom I think I am qualified to disagree. I do not want the beam of festivity shined at me on Monkey's special day. I want to continue to bask in Monkey's imperfect unpredictable splendour just like every day. I think it might be nice as an adult to honour that lady who squeezed you out, or reared you, or both, in some way on your birthday but as a kid there is nothing greater than excitedly ushering in a new faze of this marvelous, mostly unexplored life and revelling in the ritual that is YOUR DAY! I would never want to take that away just because I have a scar to proove where she came from. I am happy I borned her and when she understands stuff like that she will likely be happy I borned her too but for now let us all celebrate the wonderful universe that is Monkey.

Happy birthday, baby.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A New Ancient Tradition

I have been writing Haikus. It is a peculiar poetic medium to me, it feels kind of like word hors d'oeuvers. But I have been seeing whether or not this ancient Asian metre can accommodate modern subjects. They write up very fast so now I have this pile of tiny poems and no idea what to do with them. My solution? Blog it! Therefore at semi-regular intervals I will post a haiku. Starting with this one.

computer still on
my eyes dry from over-use
when will I sleep?

Famous Figures from the 80's - Where are they now?

Monkey came over with a Han Solo doll and a Rebel fighter pilot doll. She handed me Han Solo and said.
"Here, Ahmmy. Take the man."
To which I replied "That's Han Solo."
"Han Solo?" she asked
"Yes" I said.
So I took Han Solo and she held the Rebel fighter.
"Hello Han Solo" said Monkey's doll.
"Hello Rebel fighter" said Han. " How are you?"
"I sad" replied the Rebel fighter, bending low at the waist.
"Oh no" Han responded with concern. "Would you like a hug?"
Han Solo bent to give the fighter a hug.
"Is that better" he asked.
"Yes" said the fighter with relief. "Come on, Han Solo! Lets go see Farmer John."
At this time Han Solo, the Rebel fighter and their two human appendages went off to find Farmer John at the barn but instead they found Teela, He-man's Warrior Goddess friend. Teela, Han Solo and the Rebel fighter discussed many things such as where the farmer might be, whether or not the fighter was stuck and needing help, why Han Solo was sleeping and other important subjects.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CBC Literary Award

Here is an opportunity for every Canadian who secretly or proudly enjoys writing, to step outside their comfort zone, show what mad skillz they have and knock the country's socks off! Here is the CBC Radio writing contest open until November 1rst. Enter a short story, a piece of creative non-fiction or one or more poems. There is an entrance fee used for administrative do-dads but if you win you get a huge cash prize, your writing published in En Route magazine and you likely will be asked on to a CBC radio program to show off those mad prize winning writing skills. If you have some writing hiding in your closet, dust if off and submitt it. You can do so online or by mail. It could not be easier. So plug your nose and jump!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I was getting tired of the black background. It felt a little too moody in that "I write in the dark about dark things and cry in the rain" kind of way. So here is the new face to Bits Of Things.
It took quite a lot of fiddling, to the point that I was messing with the script which I know nothing about. "Whats this do? Ooh that kinda worked. Lets see what happens if I do this?" That kind of thing...might explain why it took so long.
Anyway, tadah!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yay love!

So the friend I was talking about last post (this one) has awarded me the prestigious "I(heart) Your Blog" award. After my "existential muddling" post she sent me a note saying she liked my blog just the way it was. Friends are awesome, dontcha think?

This is a share-the-love kind of thing so I am asked to offer this award to 7 other bloggers I enjoy. Upon looking in my favourites list I realize that I, yet again, am stepping outside the rules. Some of my most frequented sites have little to no words at all! So here is my list despite the fact that it does not precisely fit the expected form.

Knit and Tonic
Skonen Blades' Photos
The AntiCraft
Kreddible Trout's Photos
Claire Land
Brain Goo

Some are craft based. Some are sites of "outerspace" freinds (by which I mean freinds in the real world I knew before the internet "inner space" thing got involved). All smart and often fun folks and sites in my opinion and worth getting outside your comfort zone to have a gander at. I have not included "She Read And Reads" because she is linked at the top and got an award already so she knows she rocks. (I think you rock Avis, in case you didn't know).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Annuality, A New Day.

So it seems I have had this quiet little thing going for two years now. I am as shocked as you are. I even missed the "anniversary". Seems it was officially the 10th of September 2006 this accidental blog started but no matter. Though I took no notice last year, I normally use the beginnings and endings of these annual cycles to review and take stalk; to see where I've come from and where I wanna go. So you are being taken along for the ride. Keep your arms and legs inside the blog at all times please. Enjoy.

Today I received a link to the blog my friend recently started. It is nicely organized, sticks to a theme and is consistently filled with useful and interesting information. Check it out.

So here I am two years into my blog and upon seeing my friend's boffo (yes, I said boffo) site I am wondering if I should be getting my act together.

Should I get a theme and stick to it? I had assumed a theme would organically evolve...but as I reflect the only theme I see is me talking about my life which is hardly out of the norm for me or, I would think, of any particular interest to anyone who doesn't know me. But I might just be being harsh. So let's say I have a theme-of sorts.

Should I fill my entries with useful information? Apart from my last entry where I alerted all non-pirates to International Talk Like a Pirate Day I don't think I have advised, directed or alerted anyone to much of use, per say. I suppose I could begin doing that but where would I start and where would it end? I see the word "Theme" floating to the surface again. Shoo, you silly constructive thought. Well I am a writer and I do like that subject and know where to find info on getting published. I could add those things in. And I am a knitting fool so I could put more of that in, which I haven't much up until now.

Should I be more consistent? I have thus far attempted to make a minimum of one entry a month. I figure that is not taxing and if I write two or three then I am suddenly super productive! You gotta like that feeling. But maybe one a week wouldn't be too much of a strain. If I started to feel behested (not a word? not a problem) I could always ease off. It's not like anyone will fire me if I shirk.

Well alright then.

Okay, Q. Public, you are witness to my second anniversary resolution. I hereby declare that I will write one entry a week. I will include a minimum of one useful or interesting link per month (any suggestions on subject matter welcome). But I have reserved the right to NOT choose a theme apart from whatever it is I have been doing thus far.
Let's see how this goes.


Does this count as my first weekly entry?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Friday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

My pirate name is:

Black Bess Flint

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Having fun, Ahmmy

Some little voice in my head whispers "remember this" as I become light headed from blowing bubbles for Monkey in the bath tub. She holds one gently perched on her outstretched palm as she uses her other hand to swiftly crush every other globe coming within range. Transparent domes girth her pale belly as she giggles, her arm and neck stretched up as she reaches.
The same voice whispers as she walks up to me masking her face with a cardboard from a recent delivery. From behind the partition she knocks. To our combined delight when I "open" the cardboard door her beaming face is framed by a bevelled brown rectangle. "Hello!" I exclaim. "How are you?"
"Having fun, Ahmmy" she replies thoughtfully.
She was recently given a baby doll which she has dubbed Sooshish, the first given name that has stuck for more than a day.
When given a piece of paper and a crayon she commissions works from me instead of drawing her own.
"I waaaant.....hamburgers and apple trees" she declares.
"Really? Are you sure?"
"Yes...please" is her steadfast reply.
Remember this, the voice whispers. And I do.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I was sure I was doing everything right. I went to the fall registration orientation and the next day got up early (first day of registration) to go talk to an academic adviser to be sure there was nothing I should know that I didn't. I told the fella all the classes I wanted to take. He said it all sounded great. He asked if I wanted to register there with him. I said I still had some schedule details to work out so, unless he thought I shouldn't, I was going to register online later in the day. He said that was fine and if I had any difficulty or questions to give him a call.
Then I got home, worked out my schedule and started to the registration process. There was one class (English 212) I had been unable to register for the semester before because I had been too slow so it was my first priority this time. I punch in the numbers and...
I call my academic adviser, the secretary tells me she will get him to call me.
2 DAYS later he calls me all "hey, whats up?" and I'm all "I tried to register, blah blah blah" and he's all "ya that class ALWAYS fills up fast" And I'm all "you could have TOLD me that when I was sitting in your office at 9 am on the first day" And he's all "I don't now everything about every single class" And I'm all "But you just said you know that THIS ONE fills up fast and aren't you PAYED to know this stuff? You're supposed to ADVISE me!"
#@&$ing red tape, bureaucratic, good for nothing, pencil pushing, layabout, no-good-nics! I mean COME ON! I am now 3, count'um THREE, semesters behind in my scholastic plan. And what might have fixed that is a TINY mention of the fact that this is a very popular class and I should get on registering for it right away. IS THAT UNREASONABLE TO ASK FROM AN ADVISER-SOME ADVICE!?
grumble, grumble, snarl, swear...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Puddle Jumping

I would like to spend all my time listing the wonderful things going on. Things like the wonder and delight in my fathers face when he read my "prize winning" poem. And the fact that I received my copy of the magazine in which my poem appears the day after my birthday. And the fact that many thoughtful people whom I love contacted me on my birthday by phone, e-mail and in person to wish me well. And to boot I think I will- very sure I will- get an A in my first university course in over a decade, the one in which I wrote two formal essays for the first time ever and got A-'s on both (please, no autographs). And the fact that I have been having a very beautiful month long e-mail conversation with a dear friend I thought was more or less off the radar for good. A conversation that has opened my thoughts to so many wonderful things.
I would like to spend all my time thinking about and talking about and acting on these splendid happenings.
The reality is there are equal measures of dark and weighty subjects to occupy my mind.
But as Monkey has shown me, if you want to jump in puddles you have to get a bit wet. To live a full life there will be elements that don't feel good. But wet cuffs dry and all things pass in time. And hey, I got to jump in puddles!
I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladies and Mommies

Monkey and I were in the car today travelling to the Value Village to find atrocious $4 sweaters to harvest for yarn. That is an idea I got from my friend on the wet coast and I think it is so brilliant I am following her lead. So on the way Monkey looked out the window, and in her usual way said "What's that, Ahmmy?" As we were at a stop light I could follow her gaze and see that she was looking at a billboard ad of a lady in 80's sweats gleefully holding a cellphone to her ear.
I have just finished a class on mass communication in which I studied, in depth, the ramifications of media on society and my final essay was 8 pages on the subject of billboard advertising; the techniques used and the ways it damages society. So when my toddler pointed out that ad only 2 days after I finished writing this rather dense essay I was at a loss as to what, exactly, to respond to the innocent question; "what's that, Ahmmy?" Do I go into a lecture on how the imagery is misogynistic and may damage her self-esteem? Do I ignore the question all together? Do I lie in some "benign" way by not acknowledging that it is an advertisement for a phone? Do I explain the elements in the imagery and what they are meant to represent?
She's 2, people and I am taking mass media WAY too seriously, I think.
"That is a lady" I replied mildly.
"Lady?" She says, true to form.
"No...not lady" Monkey responds pensively. "That is a....mommy!"
"A mommy?" I say.
"Yes" she asserts. "That is a mommy."
So evidently there is a distinction between ladies and mommies and apparently mommies smile gleefully off the tops of buildings like Olivia Newton John King Kongs! Please adjust all preconceived notions accordingly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Square Pegs

I was talking to a friend recently about this new sensation I have discovered passing through my consciousness on an almost daily basis of late. This sensation is not, in and of itself, new but the urgency and disquiet it inspires is. The sensation is the simple and overwhelming feeling of not fitting in. Now, one expects to have this feeling, say, in high school when one is still working out what and who you are before knowing where you should fit. And that feeling can trickle into your twenties if it takes you some time to mature and really "know yourself". But there is an assumption that eventually, when you have a deeper confidence in the idea of self in regard to your own inner landscape, that your "place" in the world will become evident, that like minded people will surface and you will have a sense of belonging.
Now, I have done a few things in my relatively short 34 years and I believe I have sorted out, to a great degree, who I am (in the deeper senses) and I like and have confidence in who that person is. But to my alarm I am realising that this feeling of otherness has never gone away. I have individuals I feel akin to and resonate with but there is still no group, no demographic, no sphere where I feel comfortable and represented as part of a whole despite the fact that, on the surface, I would seem to fit into many. I am a woman, a Canadian, white, a mother, bilingual, blue eyed, a knitter, a writer, a thinker, a student, a humanist, a lover, a baker of bread. But in any group of any one of those things I feel like the exception in every case.
All this I told to my friend, trying to convey the growing feeling of unease this realisation brought with it. And you know what she said? "Me too." Just turned 40 and just as misrepresented by all she sees as me.
And I think of another friend who kept telling me about how he cannot relate to his coworkers though they all be personable and engaging in their way. They are all...made to fit...or so it would seem.
I am reminded of a song I wrote about how, in our restless youth, my best friend and I would "laugh or yell at the world that had made square pegs of us" as if, perhaps, it was our environment that had made us malformed for the mold, alone in a crowd, in opposition to the norm.
And I am beginning to see that it is not that I don't fit into any group but that my group is not marketable, consumable, sitcom worthy. I am not represented because I am not a sheep. My demographic IS the exception.
And we are legion, honey.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's been a hard day

Watching time pass
over and through
the ice in my glass like a dispassionate god
passively watching things live and die.
It's been a hard day.

Reeling after another day
of reacting to other peoples baggage
feeling empty and tired
wrung out and unwilling to try anymore.
It's been a hard day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Behold! The mighty bomber sock!

Original design inspired by WWII shark-nosed bomber planes. Finally done. Hooray!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How did the show go?

I can put it off no longer! I WILL not!
The show. The cabaret. My first ever production. No pressure, just all me to book acts, advertise and host with no previous experience. And how did it go? Well there's good news and there's bad news.
The bad news is 5 paying audience members showed up, 3 of those being my friends (thank you, you sweet, thoughtful, supportive people). The performers equalled the audience. Ouch. So I lost money on the advertising and gave the performers token pay out of my own pocket out of guilt for not giving them a roaring mob or at least a burbling crowd. In the shows defence it was as cold as a well digger's ass that night and the venue is not exactly central.
The good news? Everyone had a wonderful time! The performers thanked me for having them, the audience members said they really enjoyed themselves and would come again and the coordinator for the space said we should talk turkey about doing another show. We all laughed belly laughs and were moved and made pensive. No one yawned or made polite non-committal comments like "it was ... good...". And my carrot and zucchini muffins were a big hit.
But best of all. Are you sitting down? You know how people say that you loose stage fright after you get up there- I always thought those folks were full of ... hot air but it happened- to me! Normally my stage fright is so extreme that while I am on stage (which I diligently avoid) all I can seem to do is breath in- and in - and in and receded far back into myself wondering just when it is the crowd is going to kill me for being such a talentless hack. When I am up there it is all I can do NOT to rip my own skin off and dive screaming into a dark hole. So perhaps it is easy to see why I had a hard time believing that my feelings of deep peril would ever go away on stage. Well, perhaps the combination of such an intimate friendly audience and the fact that I had to keep getting up there to introduce the next act and read some poems as time filler was the perfect vehicle for riding out my dread and surfacing in this wholly new place of relative ease. I felt exhilarated and energized instead of relieved and exhausted. It was a revelation. Truely.
So all things considered the good out weighs the bad and I call it a success. Enough to give it another go in June. When I have the date set I expect you all to mark it on your calendars and rush to join the fun.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Welcome to the show!

When: Doors open at 7:30, March 20th

Where: Centre St Ambroise, 5080 St Ambroise, Metro St Henri, Montreal

What: A live show of spoken word, improv comedy and music. A feast of language. An opportunity for you to get up and show us whatcha got!

If all goes well this will be a recurring event so tell your friends and come join the fun! Spoken word performance by Catherine Kidd, improv comedy by Without Annette and music by Jenn Anderson.

I will post an aftermath entry to let everyone who could not attend know how it went. But you should attend! You don't want to say to yourself later "Aw I should have gone!", do you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Winning Poem

Of course I forgot to mention which poem I had submitted. Here it is.

The Poem On Your Body

I traced out a poem on your body
With a Japanese brush.
The first uneasy drop
Spread on your shoulder blade
Like a star.

Along your side I wrote the size and span of your wings.
At the base of your back
I catalogued the examples of your courage.
On your inner thigh
I wrote the details of your secrets.
Down your arms
was a list of your desires
and on the soles of your feet
in tiny letters
I chronicled your dreams.
Each word, each letter brushed
spelled out my love.

Our august sweat washed it all illegible.
Rubbing into our pores
the words reduced to m’s and r’s and s’es,
no longer words at all.
Then was the cohesion
when the poem became.
The knitting of cells and ink
braided the poem real
and such a soliloquy can never be spoken.

I (kinda) won!

So I got an e-mail about a month ago from Descant magazine. They are a Canadian mag out of Toronto that publishes literature and art. The e-mail said that the poem I had submitted to the "Winston Collins- Best Canadian Poem" award had made it onto the short list. The e-mail asked if I would go to Toronto and attend the award soirée. It said the short list had 17 other finalists on it.
I was surprised to be a finalist but didn't figure I was going to win and travelling mid-week to TO was not a convenient thing to do so I put it all in the back of my mind. About a week later I got another e-mail saying "You haven't told us if you are coming." So I replied that, officially and unequivocally, I was not attending. A few days later I got a phone call from the editor-in-chief. "Are you sure you can't come?" So I explained that having made the 5-6 hour car trip to Toronto once with a toddler had been a real trial and I was wise enough from the ordeal not to repeat it. Also I work (granted I could take a laptop and work en route but I didn't mention that). She asked if I had a web-cam to "virtually" attend. I said no but offered to make a video poem of myself reading the submitted piece which they could show at the event. She said that would be great. So I memorized the poem, set up my little camera in a quiet spot and did about 3 million takes. When I finally had read it through smoothly I took one look at it and went to bed feeling puffy, lispy, stoned-looking, and unwarrantably pretentious. The next day I sent it anyway because I knew most of my insecurities were in my head and would not be so glaring to strangers.
I figured that was the end of it. But the very same day I got another e-mail from the editor saying that someone else was coming from Montreal with a toddler and maybe we could travel together. I called the editor (as she had kindly given me her personal number) and said "Really I would love to come but will not drive it. The train is a great way to go but I can't afford it. I would strongly suggest you recommend this option to the other people travelling there with a child. Thanks for putting me on the short list, blah blah blah."
To which she replied "Are you really sure you can't come? I shouldn't tell you this but you are on the short list..."
"You mean a shorter short list?"
"Yes. And we really hope you can make it to the event."
"Well as I said, I would come by train but I can't afford it."
I had also previous to all this called a friend or two (because, really, I did want to go, even if I had to do some creative financing later) to see if Morgan and I could be put up for a night but it seemed like all of Toronto was leaving that very day for Cuba!
She e-mailed me yet again that day to say that Descant magazine would pay my train fare.
Well hell. They really do want me there. So I made one last attempt to contact someone in Toronto to stay with. It was a go. It turned out that I would not have any work the two days I would be away anyway so it looked like the universe was giving me a cosmic shove.
Morgan and I made the trip. I gotta say, travelling with a kid really makes me empathize a LOT with single moms-it is not easy doing stuff with a kid in tow!
So all this long pre-amble to say I won "honourable mention", which translates as one of two runners up for the prize. The title comes with publication in the summer issue, a year's subscription, a bouquet, a certificate, a bottle of champagne and $250. Heehee.
This is my first lit prize and only my third or so publication.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Help me, Buddha

This morning while I changed her diaper, Monkey looked over at the mantle and spied someone who might be able to free her from the horrible mommy-monster's wipes-filled embrace.
"Help me, Buddha" she called plaintively. "Help,Buddha!"
As any good offspring of hippies would, I rejoiced in the idea that my little angel recognised the deeper elements of the statuette on the mantle but my plans to enroll her into some kind of spiritual practise in India were cut short when she changed her tactics and started beseeching assistance from the moose figurine sitting next to Buddha. Ah well. We can't all be enlightened every moment of the day, right? Any Roshi will tell ya that.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Putting priorities to bed

For the past week or so I have been trying to convince Monkey that sleeping in her own bed is a great idea. It's slow going. As a compromise to having to wake up as many as six times a night to carry her back to her room and into bed I have set up a bed for me in her room, part laziness, part convenience, plus she doesn't wake up too much so I can get her back to sleep faster. We have been through this drill before only to end up all back in the big bed on a regular basis. I have also been trying to keep a strict bed time, nine o'clock, and getting her to actually fall asleep first in her bed before waking in the night to look for me. Often she won't fall asleep in her bed and has to be put into bed once asleep. I am still trying to figure out how to fix that. It has a lot to do with her not yet being weaned.
- I ranted to a friend recently about how there is this huge push these days to encourage new mothers to breast feed; there is an organisation called the "La Leche League" (spelling?) which is a kind of grass roots support system you can call for help or to answer questions about breast feeding. My rant was this; it's all well and good to push mothers to breast feed (got my own qualifications on that particular argument but lets move on) but where are these mother suckers when it comes time to get the kid OFF the boob!? But I digress. -
So Monkey is not weaned and now associates boob with comfort and safety (I got some exes who can relate). She almost never falls asleep without the boob. This makes it very hard to get her to fall asleep in her own bed and next to impossible for anyone but me to put her to bed. Not fun.
So anyway, because she is going to bed at nine (not always falling asleep for as much as an hour but whatever) she is waking up earlier and earlier. Today it was 8:15. As I lay there while she insisted on me getting up I debated the merits of putting her to bed later so I could sleep in some again. MyDear hadn't left for work yet and was greeted with a delighted "Daddeeee!". After the days first diaper change I put on the morning kids shows so I could go make breakfast and a cup of tea. When I came back with a couple of Eggos and my cuppa (with lemon as I feel a cold coming on) MyDear was watching Monkey rock out to the "Super Readers". We sat and watched her for a while until MyDear had to leave for work.
Once he was gone I started thinking about all the things I wanted to get done today and my mind turned to the sock pattern I am trying to create. At MyDear's request I am devising a sock pattern fashioned after a sharknosed WWII fighter plane. It is not easy but very engrossing. I keep not doing things like dishes, laundry, groceries because I am working out the sock pattern. (Yes, I am obsessed. I accept it.) So, needless to say things are piling up around here and I HAVE TO leave the pattern for a while and catch up some. Today is groceries, shower, put away clean laundry and try to get my laptop fixed for free. Seems like a do-able list but life has a way of stalling things. And of course spending my morning blah blahing on my blog is just ridiculous in the face of things but hey, if I can be engrossed by the idea of a sock I obviously DO NOT have my priorities straight.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Too Quiet

I knew she was being too quiet. There is the quiet when Monkey is engrossed in a benign activity like filling and emptying her vintage barn with the mooing door. There is the quiet of Monkey "reading" herself a story. There is the quiet of watching for the millionth time the most exciting kids movie ever made- whatever that happens to be this week. And then there is the quiet of undertaking a forbidden activity. Every parent knows it. It awakens the parental "spidey sense". And yet I let it go for a few minutes because I was otherwise occupied.
In acquiring a sudden boon of house plants from a friend leaving the province my main concern was in regard to Monkey trying to eat harmful foliage. The sheer size of many of these potted beauties meant, however, that putting them up high or out of reach was impossible or down right dangerous. So the next logical option was to keep an eye on her to ensure no leaf munching went on. Surprisingly - to me at least- she has never attempted to eat the forbidden plants but the dirt... the dirt is at times irresistible.
So what should I find to explain the unnatural silence but my little angel with her tender tootsies nestled in a pile of potting soil while she methodically scoops more onto the floor with the heads of her two tiny "princess" dollies. Her big eyes shine up at me as she waits to see what my reaction will be. She seems torn between sharing her delight and dreading my reprimand. Though I was disappointed and annoyed (as much with myself as her) I must admit we did have fun washing her hands, feet and princesses in the sink before I had to go sweep up the mess.
All parents be advised, heed the "spidey" sense. Do not hesitate.
Lesson learned.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Dark Mistress of Snot

I don't think I have had the flu - the actual flu- since my teens. No wonder everyone rushes off to the doctor thinking they are going to die, that's the way it feels...for real. I think the criteria for judging if one has a cold or flu should be the regularity of complaints coming from the infected person; the more you complain the less likely it is to be the flu, because with the flu, one has no energy to complain, or roll over, or cough.
I started to see the virus in me as the manifestation of some Latin-American style "Day of the Dead" Icon, some skeletal creature in female form working her necessary evil on me through fatigue, head congestion and, the most evil of all, endless viscous snot.
I spent one night dreaming that the bed was a raft on a dark, choppy sea. I and the other raft members spent our time trying to knit a sail out of rags but just kept making more convoluted rags.
My snoring got so oppressive my Dear had to move down to the couch.
One night I sweat through five separate shirts.
For several days I felt as though I had swallowed razor blades and that and a completely blocked nose reduced my diet of tiny swallows of soup when ever I could raise my head.
But as thick as the fog spread by Lady Influenza was it lifted suddenly leaving me with a slight sniffle and little else as a memento.
I am stunned by how healthy I feel. I feel as though I ought to make an offering to Lady Influenza thanking her for the weird dreams and leaving me unscarred...but what? Used tissue? Ginger tea? Warm blankets?