Friday, December 29, 2006

The Joy of Reading

During this laziest of weeks – okay, not counting Monday – I’ve indulged in my favourite of pastimes, reading. Not that I don’t read every day, every week of the year, this reading has been different: nothing has been something I have to read. It’s all been strictly for pleasure.

Guiltiest of these is yet to come, as I’m not quite brave enough to face the end of such a hideously beloved series. So there it sits, beckoning with its creepy cover: the Baudelaire children eyeing a very white foot. Book the Thirteenth, o dread of dreads. If you’re not familiar with Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, I must caution you. Even the website is very unpleasant. A visit there might well require a glass of fortified eggnog.

Another guilty pleasure was a long-postponed re-read. Earlier this month, I kept bumping into Heinlein’s classic, Stranger in a Strange Land. Three different places, three times. What else could I do but heed the signs, curl up by the fire, and open it again? Only, now that I’ve finished it, I can’t figure out why it hasn’t been made into a film. We could use some water-brother grokkery to mellow out this crazy world.

Just as this week wouldn’t be complete without nibbling butter tarts, no week of lazy pleasures would be complete without sampling some poems. This little treasure by Victoria’s Barbara Pelman popped out from the latest issue of CV2. It seems so appropriate for these last few days of the year. I leave it with you as a belated yuletide gift.


The Angel of Backyards

likes the perspective of rearview mirrors,
sits backwards in buses and subways
checks behind her when she walks
down back alleys–

is left-handed, has lost
the front door key, sits on the porch
contemplating last spring’s garden.
She is a connoisseur of weeds

knows the yellow sharpness of broom,
the white exuberance of yarrow,
counts dandelions and buttercups
among her friends.

The angel of backyards
steals into closed doors, plants
an oblique desire in the darkest
of corners, catches you unaware

while cooking soup, planting petunias,
preparing careful budgets; digs up
buried bones, turns the compost
and there it is again – all that you thought
you lost, all you wish to lose.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Zappa, Take Two

Today is the day Frank Zappa should be turning 66. Too bad he didn't last long enough to see the concert we saw last night, Zappa Plays Zappa.

For a sample of what Frank's son, Dweezil is doing, click on the link at the end of this paragraph. Be sure you have speakers on, and that you're braced for a wall of sound. Ready? Go there now.

In keeping with the Old Man’s tradition, Dweezil’s picked only top-notch musicians to fill the stage with him. The blowmindingest was Steve Vai, who lives up the often overused adjective, legendary. Beyond Vai, if I had to pick a favourite, I'd be voting for Scheila Gonzalez. She sings, plays sax, a couple of keyboards -- and often seems to do all three just about simultaneously!

The world of Frank Zappa is as wonderful now as it was all those years ago with Freak Out. For a tiny taste of Frank, cross your fingers that this link remains active.

Take a close look at this photo to see where I was 22 years ago -- with my own son along that time too.

Happy what-should-have-been your 66th birthday, Frank. You must be proud of your baby.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Time and time again

One of my girlfriends keeps going to see Casino Royale. I guess she reeally likes Daniel Craig, the new James Bond.

The last time I saw a film four times in the theatre? Ulp. Revenge of the Nerds. I think it had a lot to do with Gilbert (Anthony Edwards).

Videos and DVD’s take away a lot of the crazy obsessive element. What you do on the privacy of your own TV screen, well, heck, that’s nobody’s business but your own. The biggest repeater around here lately has been Jack Black in School of Rock. I adore it, just don’t start singing the finale song. It’ll get stuck in my head for a week.

I started thinking about other movies I’d seen multiple times. No news that The Wizard of Oz is right up there on the list. Same for the Star Wars series and the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, apparently called Scrooge. You could have fooled me. I always thought it was pretty much the official Christmas Carol, complete with Charles Dickens' personal seal of approval.

But some of the others I've seen more than a few times? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , the Beatles in Help! and the probably corny (but wonderful) Harold and Maude.

The strangest film I’ve ever seen more than once (both times at the cinema) is Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits. After seeing it once, I realized I didn’t remember ANY of it. That seemed just weird, so I went again. Second time, no better. Complete Teflon brain. Can anybody tell me what it’s about?

Weirdly, a film that lots of people have seen more than once is the other 1939 classic, Gone With the Wind. It turns out to be one I’ve never seen, except for maybe a couple of scenes on some movie channel while I'm flipping. I suppose I'll have to see it one of these days. Maybe for the 75th Anniversary Extravaganza in 2014 -- if they still have theatres by then. And no, don't even try to guess what popcorn will cost.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

BT Brett and the 30th Anniversary Gala



Whew, were we ever lucky! By Saturday, enough of the dreaded snow had melted that a crowd of over 50 people managed to make it to this event at the White Rock Library. All in the name of celebrating 30 years of library service in the current building.

The gala, sponsored by the local Friends of the Library group, included a cake (of course), music by Guyle Coon’s jazz group, and presentations of awards to winners of

a creative writing contest.

But the highlight of the afternoon had to be the reminiscences and reading by author and former White Rock Councillor, Brian Brett.

Brett recalled the days when White Rock Library played host to readings by a host of writers. Among them were quite a few who were not so well-known back then. He told about the reading where only six faithful listeners showed up. And this gig featured Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier. I imagine if that pair were to read there today, there wouldn’t be room in the building.


I guess his point was that libraries have always hosted readings for less-than-known writers – that this is one of the ways emerging authors sell their books and become known. He also reminded us of a gentler, more community-oriented White Rock – not one where highrises seem to be the only item on our city council’s agenda (although oops, how could I forget the 28% pay hike they are working on for themselves).

He also read excerpts from several of his books, including his most recent, Uproar’s Your Only Music. As you might expect, his book table sold out quickly.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Weeding

No, I haven’t been pulling dandelions. There’s way too much snow. All month, I’ve been sorting my office, trying to make it back into a good writing space instead of a storage catch-all. Part of that has meant sorting books and trying to get rid of some.

In cases where I’ve found doubles, this has been easier, though I admit to still having more than one copy of some of my faves. Why is this? Maybe so I can read with both hands, or in case I want to read in tandem with somebody, aloud? Probably all it means it that I'm some kind of survivalist packrat.

I’m anal enough that most of my books are alpha organized. The authors whose books I have the most of are Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut. Atwood takes up a goodly space too, though her books are distributed over several areas: fiction, poetry, books about books – she even shows up in biography, as I have Rosemary Sullivan’s The Red Shoes. She really is a lot like that story by Mark Jarman, where Atwood is absolutely everywhere.

I’ve discovered that I have more books by people named Moore than with any other surname. There’s Christopher, John, Lisa, Maureen, Michael. Wright takes second place, with L.R. (Bunny), Richard B., Ronald, and Jane Barker.

Do other people have hotspots in their book collections? Inexplicable relationships blooming on the shelf? I love the fact that Eileen Kernaghan is nestled up to Jack Kerouac. She’s always struck me as some kind of secret beatnik.

Stuck beside him as she is, I wonder whether Audrey Thomas would have had terrible arguments with James Thurber. And there’s Grant Buday, leaning up against Jimmy Buffett. What kind of party might it turn into if both of them showed up?

Eden Robinson could come to the party too; she’d be leading Tom Robbins around. Ivan E. Coyote gets to bring Douglas Coupland. Brian Fawcett drives up with Will Ferguson beside him –how would you ever get a word in edgewise? Henry Rollins and Leon Rooke? Who knows, you might want to duck.

Maybe you don’t need to weed or dust to be reminded who’s residing on your shelves. If you spot any interesting combos on yours, let me know.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Less than half a sun

Saturday morning saw the most blazing sun we’d seen in weeks. But since it’s November in the Lower Mainland, it didn’t last for long. Even with the sun obscured by clouds, it was the perfect day for cleaning up all the tree droppings the cedars had left behind after the recent winds.

It felt great to finish off all those final preparations for winter – putting away the hose, spraying the little fruit trees with a dose of dormant spray.

Good thing it all got done, as today the world has changed from autumn to full-blown winter. I'm just glad I don’t have to go anywhere!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Half in the Sun

Thursday evening saw the official launch of this anthology of Mennonite writing. The only disappointing part was that weren’t any ‘squares’ to snack on. My outsider’s view of Mennonites had led me to expect a table full of home-baked goods, even at a reading.

Here’s Elsie, with well-known Vancouver poet, Jeff Derksen, one of the writers who seemed to dig a little for his connections to being Mennonite. Other established authors who read were Andreas Schroeder and Barbara Nickel.

One of highlights for me had to Joe Wiebe, just freshly graduated from UBC’s MFA program (congrats!). Even though he read only a section of his story, I had to go home and read the rest, as I’d been hooked by its taut interplay among old friends. One of the lines I fell in love with was this, a description of a fine Argentine Shiraz: . . . he wants to hold it in his mouth and never swallow.

There’s enough in here to ‘hold in your mouth’ and keep you reading for some long while, even if, like me, you’re no particular kind of believer. Despite their shared background, quite a few of these characters don’t seem too dedicated to religion either. I leave you with this from Deborah Campbell’s, “I Shall Not Want”: He [Grandfather] wants to know if I’ve found a good church and I tell him I have. I don’t tell him it’s the Church of Sleeping in on Sundays, because I don’t want him to stay awake nights, worrying about the fate of my soul.

To this, I can only add, Great – tomorrow’s Sunday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

'Tis the season

I never thought I’d be one to complain about there being too many readings. And really, I’m not complaining about that – more bemoaning the fact that I can’t get to all of them. Still, here are a few highlights (ones I made it to, and even a couple I missed) from all that’s been going on out here on the very wet coast.

Living as I do in South Surrey, the trip into Vancouver often seems a bit daunting, especially in my poor old Hondie, she of the sometimes-slippery tires. Even though it’s about the same distance, the trip out to the valley always seems easier. Luckily, that’s where bill bissett was reading on the 1st – at UCFV in Abbotsford. During his presentation (with lots of give-and-take conversation with the audience) the position of Poet Laureate came up. The announcement of Canada’s next one should be coming any day now, seeing as Pauline Michel’s posting to that role expired on November 16th.

But if bill isn't appointed as the next Parliamentary Laureate, there’s another similar position coming up, the newly created position of Poet Laureate for Vancouver. Considering bill’s long-time association with Vancouver (as well as the fact that his books are published by Vancouver’s Talonbooks), he seems a natural candidate. I may have to address this further in another entry.


UCFV’s English Department needs congrats for their job of hosting. They even had a ‘hospitality suite’ with refreshments after the reading. Of course, his billness was in attendance there, signing books and CDs, answering questions with his classic bissettian patience.

Monday, November 6th meant that another lower-case speller, rob mclennan, was in town, reading at the Robson Square Bookstore. Sadly, this was an event I couldn't get into town for. You can read about Rob's western tour on his almost-constantly-updated blog.

On Sunday, the 12th, despite the near monsoon rains, a group of happy listeners gathered at the aptly named Monsoon East West Brasserie, where Grant Buday read from his latest novel, Rootbound.
Hyped as a book about growing pot, it's about much more than a misunderstood substance. As with much of Buday's writing, its main focus is a cast of misunderstood characters -- that and of course, his always delicious writing. The book is a romp of a read.

And then there was the much-anticipated event at Pacific Cinémathèque, Heather Haley hosting the annual presentation of videopoetics, See the Voice: Visible Verse. Despite the impressive line-up of 33 videos from Canada, the US, Great Britain, France and Australia, this was another night when the city was just too far away. Really, I have to do better.

Since tonight's the official launch of Ronsdale's anthology of Mennonite writings, Half in the Sun, I reckon this might just be a good night to redeem myself. Hodson Manor at 7pm. Be there and be square.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance


On this day last year, I was in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. This is a photo I took outside the arena where the service was held.

A few days ago, I was at the local mall. I was watching a man standing in front of the Remembrance Day display of soldier’s gear. He seemed to be staring at a brown leather jacket. Next to it hung a leather flying helmet with goggles. The jacket, with its sheepskin lining, looked softened up by wear. I approached the man and asked him whether he’d ever had one like it. Yes, he said, I was a pilot.

Oh, I said to him, so was my dad.

Going on quietly, he added, But I was on the other side.

What does ‘side’ come down to after all these years? What does ‘side’ ever really mean? Isn’t war mostly some generals sitting in offices that are far away from danger, while they play with young men’s lives as if they were gambling chips?

We talked a little longer – Afghanistan, Iraq. Wondered whether anyone really knows what’s going on there.

And when we shook hands to go our separate ways, the man and I both said to each other, Have a nice day. And for once, the words sounded so true.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Elliptical circuits

Among the more interesting items in this morning's paper was the announcement of the 'transit of Mercury'. From what I understand, this is essentially an eclipse. From what I know of astrology, a transit of Mercury suggests change.

Then in my emails I found a message from my friend, Jean. She offered a reminder that today is the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. I found some odd irony in that fact, especially in light of today’s announcement that Donald Rumsfeld, one of the primary architects of the war in Iraq, has resigned. It felt like maybe it would be a day for change.

Later today I wrote my annual birthday letter to Kurt Vonnegut, a tradition I’ve followed for probably close to twenty years. His b’day, if you can believe it, is Remembrance Day, although I think they call it something else in that country where he lives. Still, it is all about remembering – and commemorating the end of a war they once called the War to End All Wars. Right. If only.

Tonight, I went to a wonderful play at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. A piece by Tim Carlson, called “Diplomacy”. Set in Ottawa (where else, with a title like that?), it reveals the disintegration of a man and his beliefs. Roy, the focal character, is a Vietnam draft dodger who came to Canada in the mid-’60s. Over the course of his career, he’s written a book about Lester Pearson, and distinguished himself as a tenured professor who believes in and teaches peace. Set in the present, it raises questions we need to be asking about what we’re doing in Afghanistan – as well as what’s going on in Iraq or Lebanon or pretty well anyplace else in the Middle East.

Central to the story is remembering. Whether that’s remembering another war that was based in lies (are they all?), or remembering the Buddhist monks who immolated themselves (or for that matter, Norman Morrison, a Quaker who did the same thing).

Carlson’s script leads us from one revelation to the next, and never hits us over the head, even though some of his characters do exactly that. I loved the fact that at the end of the show, people were asking each other, “So, was he a terrorist?” Unresolved was the only ending such a play could have had.

And then, during the long ride home, there was the calming voice of Eleanor Wachtel on the radio. She was talking with the just-announced winner of the Giller Prize, Vincent Lam. He spoke a bit about his background (his parents grew up in Saigon, came to Canada separately during the Vietnam War). He mentioned how as immigrants, his parents had worked at just about every kind of job – short order cook, you know the drill. Only now, how his father is a Canadian diplomat.

A diplomat, a play called “Diplomacy” – sometimes it all just seems to go in such a circle. Remembering the past and, hopefully, learning from it.

The play runs through Remembrance Day, so there's still time to see it. The planet Mercury eclipsed the sun today. Maybe there really is some kind of change on the wind.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Launches and signings and bears, oh my!

Yikes, but it’s time for an update. So many events in the last couple of weeks, but lots of good reading as a result. Consider the following sampler something like a wine-tasting. The great thing is, when you finish, you’ll still be able to drive!

Saturday, October 21st saw the glorious White Rock Library hosting another event – this time two poets, Catherine Greenwood and Steve Noyes.
Both are Brick authors and just happen to be married to each other. They made an interesting combo, as Catherine’s book, The Pearl King, is based in things Japanese, while Steve’s Ghost Country is rooted in China. Here’s Catherine, signing copies for the library’s collection.

On Monday the 23rd, Steve and I took a rather circuitous route (okay, we got lost) to his reading with Wayde Compton at the ACT in Maple Ridge. Here’s Steve with Liz Bachinsky, one of the BC finalists for this year’s Governor General’s Awards.

Someplace in there was Catherine Owen’s launch of Cusp/Detritus: an experiment in alleyways, from Anvil Press. The poems in the book are complemented by black-and-white compositions by photographer, Karen Moe. As part of the launch, Karen performed songs from her CD, Stoic Pharmacy. Her photos lined the walls of the gallery and contributed to the very cool atmosphere.That's the elegant Catherine Owen, with one of her mentors, Joe Rosenblatt, in the foreground.

The month rounded out with a double-header book launch: Jenn Farrell’s Sugarbush & Other Stories and Tanya Chapman’s King. The team of them made for a super-fun event.
Tanya’s story featured plenty of beer drinking; Jenn’s characters’ drug of choice seemed to be pot.

So that’s the month’s round-up of launches and signings, but now you’re wondering, where are the bears? For that, you need to visit Jenn Farrell’s recent contribution to The Tyee. It’s worth the click. And heck, the comments aren’t bad either (hint, hint).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Poetry in Transit's Anniversary Bash

It’s an odd sort of segue from my last entry, but on the schedule for the Vancouver Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, this turned out to be event #42.


Our emcee, Susan Musgrave, established how the evening would work – no mean feat when you have a line-up of 23 poets! Because we were celebrating the fact that poems have been riding around on Vancouver buses for ten years, Susan had asked us to all send bus-riding anecdotes. We’d also been asked to read ‘celebratory’ poems, so not everyone read the poem that had zoomed about on the buses.

The readers, with a tiny note for each – either a line from their poem or an item from their intro – were as follows:

Sandy Shreve, founder of (or certainly prime force behind) TransLink’s Poetry in Transit program. She spoke about the history of program, then read “Appalachian Spring” from her latest book, Suddenly, So Much .

Bill New, who described himself as ‘an ex-English teacher’– way too modest for someone of his accomplishments – proved to be one of the evening’s best readers, bringing a remarkable shape and sound to every word in his poem.

Susan McCaslin made us laugh with the twist of interpretation she offered regarding her poem. It followed a pattern of repetitition, with sections beginning with the word "Like..." She told us that her students had asked, “So, is this your valley girl poem?”

Crystal Hurdle read one of the night’s most beautiful pieces. I loved this wonderful line: “We should have had a school of children.”

Fiona Lam didn’t read from her book, Intimate Distances, dismissing it as ‘too depressing.’ The poem she did read, about taking the bus, included this: “We reach Oak Street / where there are no oaks.” One of those ongoing ironies about our world.

It’s worth a trip to Marilyn Bowering’s website, as this is too small a space to list all that she’s up to. She read a poem called “Night Talk.”

Jamie Reid, always a master of all things related to language at its purest, read a found poem – an alphabetized list of “Stop Words from Perseus”. Really, I say, who else could read a list so delightfully – “No, not now!”

Jenn Currin read a piece called “Usages.” Her transit tale was one of the evening’s funniest, relating her ‘olden days’ – riding the bus and drinking a mix of parental liquor cabinet dregs, then ‘mistaking’ the floor of the bus for a bed.

As if keeping in Jenn’s mode, Miranda Pearson’s transit confession saw her falling off a bus after drinking too much tequila. Her poem, “The Heron” included such treasures as describing the leaves as ‘irritable.’

Kate Braid’s transit story had to do with her days as a labourer, riding the bus, carrying her toolbox. Her poem, from her tribute to Emily Carr, To This Cedar Fountain, transcended toolboxes, lunch kits and buses.

Susan led us from Kate’s steel-toed workboots to a story from Brenda Brooks. A very large cockroach was riding her bus; she was grateful to the steel-toed worker who cleared a path for her. Brenda’s poem got us all going, with its “Honey, you are so….”

Billeh Nickerson closed out the first set with his wildly romantic rendition of “Driving in Adam’s Jeep” – lots and lots of desire: “kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.”

And then we took a break (so may you, O gentle reader).

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Poetry in Transit


Heather Haley opened the second set with her poem, “Remain” – advice on eating would be one way to describe it. Her story about guns on the SF transit system made all of us glad to be BC’ers.

After reminding us of the honesty of 13-year-old sons (“Mom, can’t you change the picture on the back of your book?”), Diane Tucker read the aptly-titled “Waiting for the Bus.”

Margo Button told a bittersweet story about schizophrenia – as always, she made us think. She went on to read a poem set in New Zealand. Made me almost smell the frangipani.

Leona Gom read “Our Mothers” – a piece she referred to as ‘an old poem’ – but one that held just as true today, with this: “embroidered pillowcases still accuse us on the shelves of our modern lives.”

Gena Thompson’s poem about the sign on East Hastings (“Is it nothing to you?”) ended with: “It’s so real, I don’t even have to take a picture.”

Not only did she read her poem, “Nun in Heaven” – about a nun who arrives to find heaven empty – Winona Baker told us she’s been included in Haiku Journey, a video game!

Terence Young is always so brainily entertaining. Here’s a bit of dialogue from the piece he read: “That’s terrible Latin. No wonder you have no friends!”

Because Marusya Bociurkiw was out of town, her friend and publisher, Penny Goldsmith, read on her behalf. Check out Marusya's website – ‘network'.

And lucky me, I got to close, with my funny little poem that rode around on the buses all through 2004.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

42

That number used to be one of my favourite numbers. Not just because of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And not even because that age was an especially good year for me. It was just one of those numbers that are pleasing to me - among my reasons the elegance of how its front equals twice its back.

But events of this past weekend have spoiled the number for me. Sgt. Darcy Tedford and Pte. Blake Williamson have become deaths #41 and #42, members of our Canadian Forces who have died in Afghanistan.

I don’t use the word casualties to describe their being killed. There is nothing casual about these deaths.

The last time I blogged about the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan was April 25. I realize now that the date was ANZAC Day, the day Australians remember their soldiers killed in action. Since that posting, the number of dead Canadian soldiers has nearly tripled.

Even back in April, when I tried to compile a list of the dead soldiers as a sidebar, the list wouldn’t fit. So here they are below, the names of the 42.

Sgt. Darcy Tedford
Pte. Blake Williamson
Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson
Sgt. Craig Gillam
Cpl. Robert Mitchell
Pte. Josh Klukie
Cpl. Glen Arnold
Pte. David Byers
Cpl. Shane Keating
Cpl. Keith Morley
Pte. Mark Anthony Graham
Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish
Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan
Sgt. Shane Stachnik
Pte. William Jonathan James Cushley
Cpl. David Braun
Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom
Master Cpl. Jeffrey Scott Walsh
Master Cpl. Raymond Arndt
Cpl. Christopher Reid
Pte. Kevin Dallaire
Sgt. Vaughn Ingram
Cpl. Bryce Jeffrey Keller
Cpl. Francisco Gomez
Cpl. Jason Patrick Warren
Cpl. Anthony Boneca
Capt. Nichola Goddard
Cpl. Matthew Dinning
Bombardier Myles Mansell,
Lieut. William Turner
Cpl. Randy Payne
Pte. Robert Costall
Cpl. Paul Davis
Master-Cpl. Timothy Wilson
Pte. Braun Woodfield
Cpl. Jamie Murphy
Sgt. Robert Short
Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger
Sgt. Marc D. Leger
Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer
Pte. Richard Green
Pte. Nathan Smith

That's an awful lot of dead human beings. Try making a list of 42 friends. It's a lot of people - too many to invite to a party unless you're Bill Gates.

I am ashamed to say that Russ Hiebert, the MP from my riding, is parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor. Among tasks involved in this position is serving as O’Connor’s stand-in during question period. I am left feeling queasy thinking he might be in a position to make an emergency decision if one were required.

If you’d like to write to Russ to let him know how you feel about this ‘mission’ (how’s that for ugly irony – a word with religious connotations as a euphemism for war?), here’s his email address: Hiebert.R@parl.qc.ca

Or better yet – remember, postage is still free to write to a Member of Parliament – why not write him a letter? His address is 311 Confederation Building, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bill Deverell at White Rock Library


On Thursday, October 12th, Bill Deverell read to an enthusiastic audience of 40. Although he was reading from his latest novel, April Fool, he offered far more than the usual book promo event.

He told stories and jokes, and thoroughly entertained us. But probably the best part was his willingness to answer the many questions that were put to him. He treated us with descriptions of his writing routine, and came across not only as the the gentleman-scholar he is, but also as just-plain-normal human being.


Here's hoping the powers-that-be at the local library recognize that we support this kind of event.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thanks-shroomin'



Thanksgiving saw us heading out to gather goodlets from the forest. I'm set, complete with whistle and even a bell to keep bears away. A sign near one of our stops put it well: heck, we were recreatin' -- and looking for food at the same time.

Although this mushroom wasn't one to eat, I couldn't resist taking a picture. Fierce-looking little guy, isn't he? All those 'teeth' grinning down at the moss.

Even when we're not finding shrooms, a day in the bush provides plenty to satisfy -- especially when it's another day of perfect weather. Who could help but feel content in surroundings like these? Postcard, anyone?

From the looks of things, we'll be having a few feasts. The mushrooms in this assortment, starting at '9 o'clock' and moving clockwise are: honey, chanterelle, cauliflower, bolete -- rounded out with a mix of angel wings and oysters. Yum!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Party at the Arm!

We sure crammed a lot of fun into our visit up Indian Arm. As soon as we arrived, George had to test out his driver. And no, he swore to us, he wasn't aiming at the seals.

But he wasn't the only one who got to have fun.
We girls headed out to explore the ravine. The view there was fantastic -- one of the rewards of living in B.C.

As soon as I fell and banged my ankle, we decided to head for the water. Nothing like rowing up the Arm toward Silver Falls. Ah, and once you reach your goal, you have to celebrate!

Of course, no weekend at the cabin could be complete without a bonfire.
Still, this whole excursion was supposed to be all about a birthday. So what did we do? [to be continued...]

More Party at the Arm!



We had a party, complete with home-made birthday hats.



But come Sunday morning,
it's time to pack up and head for home.



One more goodbye,
and then we're off

-- until next year!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

WOTS happening!

Last Sunday's Word on the Street was yet another sunny, perfect day. Here are a few glimpses of my favourite spot (where else), Poet's Corner.

That's Sandy Shreve proudly announcing the 10th Anniversary of Vancouver's Poetry in Transit series. The head in the front row belongs to Rhona McAdam, who read from her wonderful book Cartography.

All the poets at this particular reading were ones whose poems have been selected for this year's TransLink program. All those poems riding around on the buses and SkyTrains, wheee! I still get the occasional email or discover someone else who first read my poem, "Promises, Promises" because they were taking transit.

Great program -- both for writers and riders!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Travesty? Tragedy? Whichever, it's ugly.

Development, at least in my neighbourhood, seems to equate with ecological tyranny.

Walking in my neighbourhood yet again today, I came across the latest of these logged-off sites.


I thought our bylaw protects trees that aren't within a new building's potential 'footprint' -- that those around the edges are supposed to be spared. Yet the bulk of the stumps on this lot run right along the fenceline, hardly the spot where any building could go. Take a look at those windows in the apartments next door. Can you imagine how thrilled those people must be at the thought of having their very own third-storey Peeping Toms living next door?

These weren't little saplings that were removed. Again, I'd like to ask those people next door how having these big trees cut down has affected them.

My only wish now is that the bylaw officer gets there in time -- not only to fine the people responsible for this, but also to seize the timber before they can make any money by selling it to a mill.

I'll post again when I find out what, if anything, happens with this. It looks like a good test for the supposedly new and tougher bylaw.