28 Feb 2012, 7:11am

Winter Warm Up: Versefest

trifork icicle
Baby, it’s cold outside but it’s warming and the week takes the form of poetry. And what’s hotter than that? (Cuba.) Shhh. Who asked ya? Sassafrassing-rheutorical-question-answering-mumb…

But seriously, such an impression constellation coming out at Versefest. It starts tonight with Paul Tyler, Suzanne Buffam, Dennis Lee, Shauntay Grant and Afua Cooper.

The following day it’s Sepideh, D-Lightfull, Festrell and Elle P, Helen Humphreys, Christian McPherson, Gregory Scofield and Rachael Simpson.

4 days of almost 3 dozen more performances come after that. Amanda’s written a primer on performers with links to interviews and videos.

Wondering what to see?

$50 for a festival pass. Do it all. (Bring your own popcorn.)

Quote: “You oughtn’t to yield to temptation. Well, somebody must, or the thing
becomes absurd.” ~ Anthony Hope

26 Feb 2012, 3:07pm


It is around the blogiversary, er, the 9th anniversary of Humanyms. It started regularly in 2003, journal-style, instead of being a page of notes of updates to the overall pagehalffull.com poetry site.

I don’t celebrate every year. The last time was in 2008. It seems I didn’t this year either, since it was last week. But still, memory itself and a pause is an honoring life, as much as continuing on is.

Life shifts. A lot of people have quit blogging of moved on leaving no trace. Time to pause is always a peril for those of us who look back counting the losses. Photo albums become a record of the dead as we age…But there is a lot of continuity too.

Still around: Crystal is still blogging and has since put out Food Lovers’ Guide to Austin. West coast Sue, bi-coastal Neil, Londoner Carmi, and locals photographers A.C., Robin and John are still blogging. Jem’s short poems Deanna, Colleen and Zoom. A few of us have met separately, off-line. Some of us have exchanged paper(!) even.

New to me are people I have joined along the way (and I will miss some but I’ll catch some too): Chris, Rosemary, Jewara, Brenda and local poets Carol, rob, Luna, and Amanda and far-off Susan and Simon. Some were online first, others face- to-face first, and I now get to hear them digitally as well. There’s a richness in each one of those people too.

Each day is a anniversary of the breath continuing. Celebration has to be wedged in wherever we can fit some in this fragile imperfect very short life.

Quote: “Joys are our wings, sorrows our spurs.” ~ Jean Paul

25 Feb 2012, 3:08pm

Soft Landings

Each day is a rebirth… unable to focus your eyes, struggling to distinguish fingers from sheets, stuck helpless on your back, unable to roll over without assistance, the prospect of solid food, daunting and breasty or not here we…

But some days there is energy singing it’s off-tune song thru the bones, humming an optimism of fresh new chances for the day thru the deep muscles, a wish to explore life, to make the future.

It’s a beautiful world, whether almost spring like yesterday morning, mud-edged of garden showing the winter-wilted flowers, or today with its new winter coat.

Stopping the snow
[Photo by hubby from a walk in the snowy woulds of conversational hope.]

Slowly pick your way, if that’s your temperament and pleasure…

The last week has been feeling rather jubilant. Partly on account of the lousiness of the week before. I have a new lease on life. (Do I lease to own?)

The weight has been shoved off self towards the other end of the teeter-totter and up I go. I must remain on teeter totter not go flying off in the excitement of success – a week with balance.

Mental work, physical work, solitude, cooperation, one-on-one, large group, reading, composing, editing, cooking. “Healing isn’t always about stillness & reflection & feeling your feelings. sometimes, it’s about getting shit done” ~ Luna

And we got a few walls taped and ready to paint.

That took 2 months. But it’s a sort of success to not tumble on one’s keister in haste to get something done asap. Pace is valuable. Life is not a race. It is a pace.

Quote: “Oh senseless man, who cannot possibly make a worm, and yet will make
Gods by dozens.” ~ Michel Eyquem De Montaigne, the Father of Modern Skepticism

It’s a Meaty World

There’s no dotted line on a plate when meat or a substitute doesn’t appear yet the oven has instructions and recipes on what you might like to cook. These are for: pork chop/steak, beef, pig, chicken, fish, bread, pie or vegetable.

The microwave suggests what you might like to defrost: meat, poultry or fish.

Eating meat is embedded in the physical objects as an assumption.

What are menu specials? Featured meat and some stuff on the side. What are the majority of the menu meat with cheese, cheese or just meat. And salad, with meat or cheese on top. Yeesh.


Meat and meals are entwined the way assumptions of gender and sexuality are entwined. Almost a decade ago when same sex marriage was hitting the news, there were derisive titters…whose gets to be the man? Pssht, who will wear the dress? (Dress being pejorative. Woman being pejorative.) Who will do the cooking and who will will work? (As if those were contraries.)

It seemed I needed to do a full-frontal challenge and reeducation on sexuality and gender and roles and options for life in class with the remarks being made. There’s a certain use to something being run into the ground 3 miles deep until there is no leeway for unclarity.

When you have a point to be made, you can get to it in one step from any subject.

Color of shoelaces? Dissolve black = male = right. Pink = female or child. Let’s open the dialogue of presumptions. Articles on transexuals, transgendered, and cross-dressing, historical range in clothes, in roles, gender spectrum. Discussion of labour? What jobs do women do in China? (Yes, Canada seems sexist compared to China where there was more gender parity.) In old Russia the road crews are female. Here all male? What’s different? Knitting used to be only for male domain then female only. Throat singing used to be only male. Females down south here dominantly embrace it. What are your assumptions about a person if you suggest a caring male must be a pervy male with ulterior motives from brokenness? What are you shutting down?

If you have 10 minutes, or part thereof, this is an is an interesting look at this year’s Oscars thru the Bechdel filter.

Break down what is perceived as intrinsically structurally gendered. Reversing the binaries doesn’t fix the excess constraints. Making tofu shaped and painted into shapes of shrimp and named cute meat-sounding things might be a short-term bridging measure but the world of thousands of non-meat food is bigger than the half a dozen animal species commonly eaten.

To reconstruct a new model, we have to recognize what is in the real practice and look at other ways that use new frameworks.

Canadians eat more fruit and vegetables and proportionally less meat than in the 80s. Gender is broader in the mainstream. People can take a bigger breath.

status of Women
What is a strong women? What would equality look like if a man were free to live as he explores options without that noose of male hanging over him? What would equality look like if a woman were free to live as she explores options without that noose of female hanging over her? What would it look like for a person to be as gender ambiguous as natural without an economic and social repercussion?


What we decide are the rules to live by are a bottom-up process. It can come top-down in national food guides and constructing support for gender equity. International Women’s Day is March 8th. The focus of the Status of Women is that in rural areas, women are 45% of the work force.

There are 308 MPs. In the 39th Parliament, 65 of the 308 seats (21.1 per cent) were held by women. Canada ranks 45th in the world in representation of women in the national lower house.

I picked up used a recipe book: House of Commons: Recipes from the hill: favorite meals from Members of the House of Commons, fall 1989. Not everyone participated from the 34th Parliament.

Women MPs were 17% of the cookbook. 95 people gave recipe of the 295. Some MPs gave more than one recipe.

(Women were 5% of Parliament by my count. According to the History of Women in Parliament, women were 13.5% at that time.)

Among the 106 recipes:

59 meat recipes (7 for salmon, 18 for other fish and seafood, 14 for beef, 1 for moose, for rabbit with 3 veal, 3 lamb and 1 deli meat sandwich listed.)

26 of the recipes were for dessert (mostly fudge and chocolate cake or pie, one for fruit soaked in apricot brandy for 2 months.)

10 were vegetarian recipes (pesto spaghetti, baked broccoli, artichoke dip, scalloped potatoes, egg pastry, pb pancakes, blueberry pancakes, hash browns mixed with mushroom soup that you then bake for 2 hours(!), cauliflower spaghetti and perogies)

John Manley's famous pancakes

8 were vegan (Irish potato cakes, bannock, tabouli, mac and tomatoes, glazed carrots, bradford onions, yam apple casserole and chinese salad)

3 other recipes: one for a good tea, one for happiness, and one for a stiff martini.

Quote: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Koenig

22 Feb 2012, 3:56pm
1 comment

Buckle Down

buckle down
This fell off.

While doing up my belt and not watching, this pinged to the floor. It matches the material of pants and belt yet nothing seems broken. Nothing seems to be missing. Some sort of end-piece, metal loop or buckle? It seems to fit no where.

It seems it must be entirely extraneous decoration that covered nothing and added nothing.

Wouldn’t it be nice if unnecessarily complex things just took to the habit of falling away to more streamlined like that?

Quote: “Opportunities multiply as they are seized, they die when neglected.” ~ John Wicker

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