This is a poem I wrote in September, a few weeks after I had to euthanise my cat, Bella.  She had been getting more and more ill since December last year, and we had done many tests and tried many different things, but she was still sick and the vet couldn’t figure out what it was – her x-rays were clear of blockages, her bloodwork was great – actually super for a “senior cat”, she was just overweight (which she had been her entire life after I’d rescued her runted little self from the Humane Society).  They originally diagnosed her with just “vomiting cat” syndrome – as in, some cats just vomit a lot.  In the end, I figured it was probably some sort of upper thorax cancer, causing her pain, coughing and chronic vomiting.

It’s sad that
after twelve years
or thereabouts – lord knows
some of those days and
night were more hours
than what the clock
counted –
I don’t have to worry
about hiding my pen overnight
so I won’t find it
under the couch tomorrow.
I can’t wait for your
flying figure flinging itself
under the fluffing blanket
to play lump in the bed
excitedly as I change the sheets.
You’re not sitting in the
hallway implacably
watching me close the door.
You’re not trilling as I
come back, leading me to
The Cupboard.
It’s sad. After twelve years.

-J.Gibson, Bella, Sept 3, 2013


My Bella girl, 2001-2013

Pretty walk

I promise I’ll do a real post soon – I’m just trying to get my yoga exam done most nights (on the last question!). Busy busy!

But I took a nice, crisp autumn walk at noon today with a couple of colleagues. Here are a few pictures.

I believe this is a portion of the Rideau River, if my geography is correct.

Parliament Hill on the horizon.

A “little” bridge back to the campus we visited today for our workshop.

What a whirlwind

Wow, one if those long weekends that seems really long and yet flies by.

It all started on Friday (as weekends often do) with our friends’ wedding. Which was lovely and fun.

The arbour where it took place.

Then Saturday was a lot of running around and then cooking in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinners on Sunday and Monday. Because if that, my boyfriend and I went to my favourite pub, The Manx Pub, for dinner that night. I have to say, after so much yoga all week during training, I felt strong, aligned and like I was floating all Saturday. Unlike Friday night when my whole body hurt and dancing was less fun.

Sunday was Thanksgiving chez Mom’s. It was lovely, and we were hugely full. We sat in the backyard and were pecked at by mosquitoes, which is so wrong for October.

Today, we went for a walk in Heart’s Desire forest…

On our way in…

On our way out. Pretty.

Then we went to my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law’s place for dinner with his family. It was a lovely time as well.

I can’t believe it’s back to work tomorrow. What an intense week of yoga and then busy-ness. The busy will continue, however, because I have to do a report on the Bhagavad Gita book I’m reading and I have to do my take home exam. Plus starting my new temporary job for real. My first week was lacklustre because I fell ill. Bah.

Breathe. Equal ratio in and out, for balance. ;)

Yoga Module 3: Omwork and intensity!

My seating setup this afternoon.

Wow, just finished day 4 of my last module of yoga teacher training. I’m just taking a few seconds to type up a post while I eat some leftovers, and before I fine tune the 60 minute class I have to teach tomorrow morning. At 9am.

It has been an intense week, with a lot of Things. Three out of the four of us are going through a shift right now – Shining Dancer, Strong Artist and I. I was in pretty bad shape on Sunday, after the pup thing. Shining Dancer said I was pale. I was still grieving. I’ll get more into how I managed to overcome that in a later post.

But this week has also been intense for homework (what I’m calling Omwork – I know, I’m a cheeseball). I was supposed to have read the psychology of the Bhagavad Gita text by this week, which I had been putting off. So now I’m struggling to finish the remaining 300 pages before the end of the week. Probably not going to make it. I’ve also needed to use my evenings to design classes. Plus trying to spend some time with my boyfriend. I just pulled out of a dinner out with a friend of ours because I was feeling uneasy about my class for tomorrow, and just wanted to spend more time in it. I also need to write up the meditation discussion. So the class is only partially done, really.

But it’s been good, really. We’re developing really well as teachers, I think. And we’re going to get together later in November for a quick workshop day to look over some more classes, so we can start designing classes and then check them with our teacher and each other.

Today we talked about ethics, and honestly it was very familiar to the ethics discussion that happened before I became a TA during my graduate work. There is a part of me that is disappointed that we have to have the discussion at all. But as evidenced by bad behaviour of some yoga teachers out there, people sometimes need to be reminded of the ethics of being placed in a position of power over others. If you act honourably, respectfully and with discernment towards your students, I would think that most unethical situations could be handled or avoided.

Off to do my Omwork! Oh, and it was nice to see my colleagues N and C in the past couple of days to say hi (and block traffic with my car so C could go get coffee). :)

Afternoon sunlight coming into the studio.

It is done.

The house has empty spaces now. Large empty pieces of floor, and a certain quiet. There is a rhythm missing.

The mother and daughter of the family I chose for my pup came this morning. The mother felt for me. I tried to do it slowly, talking all the while. The pup was really glad to see them, if mainly curious as to why her things were being packed. I gave her a ball to play with when we got outside, which she was pleased with. And then I told her to get into the back of their minivan, where her dog bed was. She did, and sat in the dog bed, wondering. I said, as brightly as I could, “Have lots of fun!” And then the mother closed the hatch and she was fighting back tears more than I was. And then they got in the van and my boyfriend and I went back inside.

I cried. I felt sorry for myself, for the loss of my joyful, living-in-the-moment guru. With her unabashed goofiness and playful nature, and her tender little heart. I cried again when vacuuming, because I was vacuuming up the vestiges of her presence, and because I desperately hoped she will be happy. Doubts popping up. I’m crying now, reliving the moments again.

I brought her up from the age of four months to 3.5 years. There were a lot of hard times. Many nights when I was sick, tired and not looking forward to walking my high energy pup for the hour she needed. But there were the nights when I wouldn’t want to, but I went and her joie de vivre would make me laugh and shake me out of my funk. Her head stuck deep into a snowbank because her hunter nose could discern a scent. The pure joy of a pine cone to play with. We did that this morning, with her rolling in oak leaves, playing catch and bounce with a half-eaten pine cone.

But despite this joy, she was bored here. With two people doing their people-things all the time, it’s not like she was able to whip out her laptop and work on her award-winning novel. I did my best, but she’s an intelligent breed and needed more stimulation, and more attention.

I never intended on staying in the apartment beyond her first year. I wanted to live in the country, probably somewhere in the Gatineau Hills in Quebec. I wanted to set up my little studio workshop, have a rustic cabin, a garden, some trees, my cat and dog. But then, life never really goes according to plan. As I began going through this year, it became more clear that I won’t be doing that anytime soon. It also became clear that my pup needed it more than ever.

So I made that difficult decision. That one I knew would hurt me in the short term, but would prevent her from becoming broken. What happens in her life is beyond my control now. I still love her, and I can only hope that she will be happy.

She lives in the moment, so I think she will.

Catching up


The girl and me, hanging out today.

Why? Because I finally fell to the virus that has been circulating. I didn’t think I was too bad this morning, but then I said something to the pup and I shocked myself with my gravelly low voice. So I went back to bed until noon.

Lots of things have been going on lately, which have eaten into my writing time. One of these things is getting an opportunity to work for someone else temporarily, to fill a spot for 6 months. The job is really interesting, and I had a good chat with my boss during lunch yesterday about the things I’m learning in yoga. I’ll develop a whole new circle of contacts (well, mostly new – some folks I know from previous stages, like my Masters).

And my last module of yoga teacher training will happen next week. I hope my voice is okay by then… We had a short anatomy class this past weekend which was very helpful. It was an afternoon and I kind of wish we’d had the whole day for it. But it got me thinking about some of the skeletal issues that I may encounter when teaching. Next week, we’ll be doing our practica and teaching each other some classes. I still need to develop a couple more classes. Homework!

Heading a bit further back in the time since I last posted, the girl pup turned into a Beast and she killed two little rabbits when we were out for a walk last week. Thus I was faced with her true nature as a predator, and I also had to deal with the decidedly-not-fruit of her labour. Luckily, I was able to summon up some of the biological detachment necessary to make sure the poor little things were truly dead, but not so much that it didn’t haunt me for a few days. I do keep a vegetarian lifestyle, after all. But I put the bodies somewhere I hoped that scavengers would find them and profit from them. They are gone from that spot now, so I’ll assume that’s what happened. Meanwhile, the girl Beast has been quite pleased with herself and has been on The Hunt ever since. Rodentia of the city, beware.

Lastly, but not leastly, I had come to a decision in the summer that the girl pup needs to have more time and space than what I am going to be able to give her. It was a difficult decision because I feel like I’m failing her in some respects. But on the other hand, this is not unlike a decision about when “it’s time”. Just that I’m finding her a better place to live, where she can be happy and fulfilled in the way I intended, before life intervened. Last night, we interviewed a family from the country and she really bonded with them right away. She even sat in the daughter’s lap, something she hasn’t done with me in a while. We have found our winner.

So we’re working out the timing and whatnot, but my days with my girl are numbered. I won’t go visit her because I don’t want to confuse her. She needs to consider this family her new pack, and not think of them as temporary until she gets to come home. I think she’ll do well. They seem great.