Waiting in the ferry lineup the other day (wondering how many hours, days, of my life have been spent anticipating the Queen of Capilano), when a truckload of teenagers decked out in ghoul costumes pulled up and soon started dancing the famous zombies routine from Thriller. Must a Halloween thing I thought. It was cute and annoying, especially when their screams echoed excruciatingly off the steel girders. At home later I saw an article about “Thrill of the World, a global simultaneous dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.” Thrilling indeed and surely a sign of the times.

The year is nearly done roaring past! And the fun never stops as I recover from a nasty bout of the flu. We recently celebrated by boy’s 16th birthday! Seems like yesterday he was a babe in arms. He had five of his buddies over for homemade pizza, pop, cake, ice cream, gaming and various other sleepover shenanigans. I could not get them to go to bed, they were so excited. The next day, Josef kindly took them go-karting and bowling out in Richmond. It’s become something of a tradition. Next, we need to get him over to Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park. At the behest of my dear friend, photographer Lincoln Clarkes, we’ve been taking Junior’s picture at that location since the age of one. It was easier when we resided in Vancouver and the kid always has to moan about it but some day I’m sure he’ll appreciate the documentation of his growth and development.

Obama and I. We pronounce it “Oar-ee-on,” as I did on my AURAL Heather recording of Whore In The Eddy. I fretted that I had mispronounced it but an associate reassured me that “OAR-ee-on” is closer to the actual Greek word “Orion” and used more among among classicists, folklorists and people who speak Greek. I know I’ve often heard it pronounced “Oar-ee-on”, which is how I picked it up. Still, it would be better to avoid confusion. I need to be more exacting, take the time to double check. I felt better reading that Obama recently pronounced it “Oree-on” in a speech last week, referring to the insurance company. It was reported though not exactly incorrect, the company pronounces it “Oar-eye-on.” “Oar-ee-on,” “Oar-eye-on,” I really don’t care, it’s all the same myth, constellation. We all get it.

Despite Visible Verse festival programming, domestic duties, home schooling, nursing a lame dog, (Sam-I-Am injured his hind leg again), deadlines and assorted pressures, I am trying to take time for friends. Island neighbours, fabulous foodie Lisa Marie and her hubby Shanto, a cellist in Fond of Tigers invited us to dinner. We do a fair bit of entertaining so it was nice to be feted and fawned over. Amazing view of the sunset from their place in Tunstall Bay, delectable food, gracious hosts. Mutual friends Chris (Coon) and Russel came over, which made for a lot of mania. We discussed how Chris had to learn to tamp down his gag reflex in order to swallow the Chinese herbs he’s been taking. I said it’s the same skill women must acquire in order to give good head.

Then I managed lunch with Miranda Pearson and Liz Bachinsky at the Vancouver International Writers Festival on Friday. I went to the Pure Poetry reading and found there were no tickets! I saw no Sold Out notice when I visited the VIWF festival website the day before. Fortunately, I ran into Artistic Director Hal Wake who shepherded me backstage to a volunteer who knew of some extra seats. Billeh, hosting the event, told her, “Yeah, seat her. This is a VIP, a very important poet.” Billeh’s a dear, so funny and charming. A stellar line-up included Anna Swanson, Steve McOrmond, Antony Di Nardo, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Don McKay and Miranda (Pearson.) My butt was getting sore by the end of it, and I was thirsty, having forgotten to bring water, but I’m glad I made the trek and got in. Don McKay talked about ferries! Being from Newfoundland and having resided on both coasts, it’s a familiar subject and certainly, as previously mentioned, one I can relate to. He said Dylan Thomas and friends used to ride the Staten Island Ferry, just for the fun of being on the water. I used to do that too, when I lived in New York, and for the same reasons, including that it’s cheap. He also claims one shouldn’t waste precious time on the ferry working on a laptop, which of course I have been guilty of. It’s hard not to get jaded when it’s part of your routine. However, I agree that it’s important to go up to the top deck, breathe in fresh air and look. See the mountains and ocean I can’t seem to live without.

Speaking of rides, I was in a cab with a friend recently and we found a menstrual pad affixed to the back of the front passenger seat! We asked the taxi driver about it and he just shrugged and grunted. I informed my male friend that it was a maxi pad, that if that was a mini pad it wouldn’t be taking up the entire screen. We laughed. It was bizarre. Maybe it was some kind of Facebook prank, one of those initiatives like the Thrill of the World. I bet some girl on her period suffering cramps thought it would be satisfying somehow to have everybody to go out and distribute menstrual pads across the city nightscape. Ah, the 21st century.