Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Friend

I totally didn't see it coming, but June was the 'Month of Princess Fur'.

Now, as I'm limping into July a couple thousand dollars poorer, feeling uncertain (the biopsy results won't be available until sometime next week), I'm also feeling determined: Regardless of what the coming week brings, I want to make what remains of this little dog's life absolutely wonderful.

As she recovers from the surgery, we're back to taking long walks together and sitting in the park so she can watch the squirrels. I give her cuddles whenever she'll let me, frequent treats of banana slices (her favourite and the great delivery system for the pills I need to give her) and she's even starting to play with her toys again.

Canada Day weekend is always rough for Princess Fur - she is frightened of the fireworks. Usually, she hides out in the closet and nothing I can say or do soothes her. But tonight she surprised me. She asked to come up on the bed and crawled into my arms.

I held her tightly, singing softly under my breath. She usually squiggles to get down right way, but tonight she stayed and I could feel her beginning to calm. Within minutes she had stopped shaking and we both fell asleep.

Princess Fur is a loving dog, but not always a cuddly one. I woke from our impromptu nap deep grateful for her trust - and the chance to hold her as she slept.

She really is my best friend.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 29, 2012


A few days after Princess Fur was tentatively diagnosed and the surgery was scheduled, I stopped at a pet store on the way home from teaching a class and went on a spontaneous dog-bed-spending-spree. I bought a soft, fluffy new dog bed for Fur, upholstered in a durable, but luxuriously velvety fabric. I bought a soft, fuzzy sleeping pad for her crate.

I put it all on my credit card and strapped the new beds to my bicycle. All the way home, I had these visions of my dog happily sniffing her new dog bed, then joyfully snuggling into it. At each stoplight, I was practically hugging myself in happy anticipation. She had been in so much pain, it felt like a tangible relief to do something that might make her more comfortable.

But the joke was on me! When I got home, I proudly presented the new beds to Princess Fur. She sniffed the big fluffy one thoroughly, then turned on heel and disappeared under my bed - to sleep on the hard floor! She refused to even consider the new bed for a day or two, though she uses it now (and appears to enjoy it).

I also researched child-sized papasan chairs - you know, those big round rattan chairs that look like a bowl. I used to have one on the balcony and it was Fur's absolute favourite spot. It finally got so ratty - the bamboo held together with duct tape and the fabric of the cushion in tatters - that I threw it away.

After spending a couple hundred dollars on dog beds (not to mention the vet bills), I decided I couldn't afford a new Papasan too. And that's when the Universe delivered: Earlier in the week, as I was leaving to go to practice and I saw a brand-new, orange, child-sized papasan chair on the loading dock, with a sign that read "Free!" I grabbed it.

Princess Fur now has her very own, Fur-sized chair and her reaction was everything I could have hoped for. If a dog could be thrilled, she was thrilled. And she uses it every day!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On The Shelf

An eclectic threesome:

The Buddha: Bought at a new-agey store in my neighbourhood, carried with me during my corporate business travel days.
Chairman Mao: A gag gift from a friend. Mao's head is removable so you can hide a 'stash' in his body.
Statue of Liberty: Another gag gift. It's from Restoration Hardware, actually intended as a Christmas Ornament...

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Furry Stoner Dude

About a half-hour after Princess Fur emerged from anesthesia, they sent her home. When the vet tech brought her out to the waiting area, she was loopy and dazed. She weaved around the room, running into the furniture.

I couldn't walk her home like this, and I had my bicycle with me. So I packed her into the soft dog-carrier-bag I brought, strapped it across my back and rode home with my dog in a bag.

Before anyone calls animal control, you should know that Fur was perfectly content in there. The sides of the bag are mesh, so I could hear her grumbling contentedly to herself as we rolled along.

When we got home, Fur was a bit more alert. She was also stoned out of her little mind!

In case you've ever wondered what a miniature schnauzer looks like when she's stoned, here's a visual:


I had a fun hour watching her swagger around the apartment. Whenever she approached a piece of furniture, she would get up really close and say: 'woof!' After waiting for a moment (did she expect an answer?), she'd turn on heel and weave over to her next destination, another piece of furniture: 'woof!' You get the was hilarious!

When she was settled in (and the entertainment value of a stoned dog had exhausted itself), I put her to bed to sleep it off and rode down to Shala South for a quick practice. I was in and out of there in less than an hour: Half-Primary and modified finishing poses. It was a relief to stretch my body after all of that stress!

When I got home, the sedatives had worn off and Princess Fur was keening miserably. I knew it was going to be rough when those pain-killers wore off!

What follows is a more detailed health update for Princess Fur's fans, regarding the nitty-gritty of the surgery. If canine health issues are 'TMI' for you, please go ahead and skip this last part of the post.

I dropped Princess Fur off around 9am, picked her up at 2pm. Before the surgery, I was able to consult with her regular vet (who was back from holiday). I love this guy because he doesn't panic or jump to conclusions.

He looked at the mass in her mouth and said that there were a couple possible explanations, including abcess (swelling from tooth decay) or Epulis (a type of oral tumour, common in older dogs).

I authorised the removal of the mass and asked him to send it in for biopsy if it looked suspicious. While she was under anesthesia, they would also clean her teeth and extract a rotting canine tooth.

I'm an enthusiastic and diligent doggie dental hygienist: for the past 9-and-a-half years, I've brushed Fur's teeth regularly. Despite this, I've had to take her in for dental cleanings twice. After the last cleaning, I stepped it up: I started brushing daily.

So this surprised me: Although Fur's teeth were fairly clean, there was a substantial amount of tooth decay. The surgeon had to remove 8 teeth!!! Princess Fur now has only one lower canine tooth left in the front of her mouth - she looks like a hockey player! There are a few molars and premolars remaining. My toothbrushing duties have been substantially reduced!

The surgeon removed the mass and the two molars underneath. The mass has been sent in for analysis and I'll have news sometime next week (it's a big holiday weekend here, so all the labs are shutting down early).

Last night was rough - she was in a lot of pain. From past experience, I know that Fur loses control of her bladder while recovering from anesthesia, so I put a rubber sheet over the bed with a few towels (and sure enough! *sigh*). I comforted her throughout the night. Early this morning (4am and yes, I really need a nap!) she had her first pain pill/antibiotic dose and she's finally sleeping.

The great news is that she's eating enthusiastically with no vomiting and her energy levels are normal when she's awake. Now, the waiting begins. Next week, I'll know more about how to move forward.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Today's photo theme is 'bathroom'. Um, sure, okay...

A couple weeks ago, I shopped for new bed linens and found this crazy-looking bathmat on sale for $6.

I liked it because it reminded me of some kind of flat, alien creature with a kazillion tentacles. Princess Fur likes it because it's soft!

By the way, she's out of surgery and I'll post an update soon.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where I Shop

I shop once a week, usually Thursday or Friday. I stopped going to the big supermarkets when I realised that the bulk of my shopping was fruit and veg. Produce is much cheaper at the numerous small markets dotting my city.

So I've become a regular customer at the produce stand down the street. It's quirky and disorganised. They don't always have what I want and often the prices are not listed. But I'm always floored by how much I can buy for so little.

About once a month, I go to the health food store nearby to stock up on dry goods and essentials.

There's something to be said for this system! For a start, it's really hard to pig out on processed foods when you buy your groceries at a produce stand. My diet is better for it. Also, I feel deeply connected to my neighbourhood through this weekly shopping ritual.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 25, 2012

Something Cute

Continuing with the June photo project, here is a photo of 'Something Cute' and there's nothing cuter (at least in my world) than Princess Fur in her puppy days.

That little collar around her neck is now being used by my mother's new pup, Princess Astroturf (blog-named after the fabulous fake grass yard they built for her - it even has its own drainage system...oh, first world solutions!).

Two other family schnauzers have worn the red collar before her - it's become a bit of an heirloom, passed back and forth between my mother and I.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On My Mind

There are heavy thoughts on my mind these days.

Princess Fur's surgery looms. It's scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I'm juggling my schedule so I can spend as much time as possible with her as she recovers. I've completely cleared Thursday of all classes (though I'm going to sneak off to practice in the morning if I can). I'll be at her beck-and-paw all day. I've stocked up on canned food and last night, I bought her a new, fluffy, deluxe, dog bed that she appears completely ambivalent about (a story for another blog post).

I'm also nearing my one month renewal date at Shala South and wondering where, if anyplace, I should go next. There's another 'self-practice space' in my neighbourhood that's tantalizingly close - a couple of minutes away by bicycle. I know the teacher there and the price is right.

Cost is becoming more important because with the summer decrease in my teaching schedule and with Princess Fur's mounting vet bills, money is getting very tight. Plus, the summer is only going to get hotter. That uphill ride home from Shala South feels like torture on days that my legs are already jelly-like from practice.

And yet...I'm feeling content and tempted to stay. I'm enjoying Shala South, gradually getting to know the teachers and feeling more at ease in those rooms. The main teacher is becoming more familiar with my practice and I feel the beginnings of a positive relationship. There's been some movement and direction in my practice, a few breakthroughs, an epiphany or two.

Plus, I'm practising every day and feeling really good about it, which is something to consider. I'd like to think that I could continue to practise with this level of dedication and intensity at home, but I'm not sure. I remember how much I struggled to get on the mat the last time I maintained a home practice. My heart sinks when I think about how difficult that was.

And there's this: I'm reminded of the old story about the farmer who digs many shallow wells and never finds water. What if I leave Shala South before I really benefit from my time there? Is this 'well' deep enough yet? I don't know. I'll admit that a part of me - the insecure part - is frightened and wants to exit this place on a happy note, before the teachers tire of me, or decide that I'm not worth teaching. My more optimistic side reminds me that I'm well-liked in the yoga community here and perhaps the Universe has led me to this particular place for a reason.

Irrational fears aside, I want to make the decision that's right for my practice. The more I explore Astanga, the more I realise that there really are no shortcuts, just hard work. Fact: I'm clumsy. I lack the natural strength and flexibility of other practitioners I know. I've been doing this yoga thing for longer than many, yet I struggle with some very basic stuff because my body is coming from such a different place.

But I have something else that keeps me going: I work hard - my courage and consistency has proven to be my greatest asset. If I keep trying and doing the work, I *will* make progress. It's as simple as that. Any environment - and teacher - that supports this is a plus.

So, I'm thinking about it.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 23, 2012


This is Princess Fur few years ago, exploring an island in the middle of Georgian Bay - one of our best adventures ever. She was tentative at first, but before long she was boldly crossing bridges and scrambling over boulders. She was constantly in motion!

Schnauzer gone wild!

She loved the freedom from the leash and the varied terrain to explore. I loved doing my practice on a big rock and swimming in the cold, cold water afterward. Nothing cools Tapas like the waters of Georgian Bay :-D

Good memories!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 22, 2012

From A High Angle

We've been having a heat wave here, which frankly, I love. I'm a big fan of hot days and softly warm evenings. I don't have air conditioning, but when you're not used to it, you really don't miss it.

But dogs *do* get hot, so Princess Fur has her own personal fan. When I set it on the floor, she immediately starts moving all of her toys in front of it so they can stay cool too!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where Princess Fur Slept

Okay, okay...*technically*, that's not the photo theme for today, but I couldn't resist posting a cute Princess Fur photo (she's doing okay, by the way. I'm taking her in for bloodwork tomorrow. The surgery is in six days.).

This is Fur's new favourite hiding place - underneath my new bed. It took some coaxing to get her to explore the space but once I did, she was hooked. She loves disappearing beneath the 'blue curtain' and cohabits peacefully with storage boxes, my meditation cushion, two guitars and a shruti box.

I have an odd history with beds. I grew up sleeping on absolutely horrible beds - everything from sofas to sofa-sleepers to slabs of foam to a sleeping bag on the floor. When I was five, my 'bed' was actually a storage compartment on the boat we lived on. When I grew out of that, it was a narrow foam platform in the main cabin. Later, I had my own 'stateroom' but my mattress was still four inches of cheap foam.

By the time I got to university, the beds in residence actually seemed luxurious. I cultivated an absurd pride in my ability to 'sleep anywhere'. On a ferry boat from Brindisi, Italy to Greece, I slept soundly on the main deck, oblivious to rain, rough seas and other passengers.

Hotel stays were revelatory. I was floored by the comfort of the beds!

I live in a tiny apartment, so storage potential is one reason I bought a new bed. The other was my back. A couple months ago, I had an episode of back spasms that left me incapacitated and terrified. Someone gently suggested that perhaps sleeping on a 13 year old futon mattress that was compressed as flat as a pancake might not contribute to my recovery. I hadn't really thought of that - bad beds have been part of my life for a long time.

But I agreed and headed down to the futon store to explore my options. I opted for an moderately priced and very solid Mennonite-made platform bed. I have to confess, the oodles of storage space underneath was a factor, but the platform also supports a premium futon mattress, which I topped with 2 inches of memory foam.

And's fantastic! It's like having my very own hotel bed! I found some 400 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets on sale and bought new pillows. My entire sleeping experience is completely unrecognizable!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Favourite Photo I've Ever Taken

Fall 1987. I was a teenager on a high school 'literary tour' of New England. it was an awesome trip and I shot some of the best photos of my life. But this is the one I'm most proud of. Something about the quality of light in the museum, the figurehead looking wistfully out to sea. Memories...

(sorry about the watermark, but for my serious, non-Instagram photography, I've learned the hard way that you can't be too careful).

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The problem: No mat storage at Shala South. Last week, I realised that hauling my heavy Manduka around might be making my cranky shoulder sore(er).

The imperfect solution: Two bungees to strap the mat onto the back of my bicycle.

It's a solution because it gets the weight of the mat off my shoulder.

But it's an imperfect one because I'm *still* hauling that Manduka around town where I'm teaching. When you ride as many kilometres as I do in a day, the extra weight is a drag.

Still, for an investment of $3.29, I can't complain. Even imperfect solutions rarely come that cheap.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 18, 2012

Something You Don't Know About Me

Here's something, and it's even yoga-related: I was a professional field archaeologist for six years. I have a Master's Degree in historical archaeology.

I loved doing field work, enjoyed the physical nature of it, getting my hands dirty and being outside. I couldn't imagine working in an office. But here's a dirty little secret...archaeology is physically rigorous, relying as much on shovels and brute strength as trowels and dental picks. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was a 'man's world'. Few women worked in the field and we were expected to keep up. It was tough.

There's a high rate of burn-out amongst professional field archaeologists. After a number of years digging, most people eventually move on to less strenuous management or lab positions - or leave the profession altogether.

I was excavating a19th century alleyway in downtown Washington D.C. (where the conference centre is now) when a back injury derailed my career. I took an extended leave and the doctors recommended 'bed rest'. In reality, I spent a lot of time walking around my neighbourhood and skulking around nearby malls.

I was sauntering around the Best Buy one day when I found 'Yoga For Beginners' in a discount bin. I remembered one of my colleagues mentioning that yoga had healed her mother's back. I took the video home and tried it out the next morning. I *hated* it. The following morning, I did it again (and hated it some more). And the next morning too.

I'm not sure when I stopped hating yoga, but I do remember how difficult the poses were. I loathed all of them, but downward dog particularly vexed me because I couldn't straighten my legs or get my heels to the floor. Virabhadrasana II hurt my knees and I couldn't even fathom doing Virabhadrasana I. My hamstrings were so tight, I couldn't touch the floor in Prasarita Padottanasana - I had to put my hands on a coffee table. I couldn't do child's pose at all.

I consider my current yoga practice somewhat of a miracle, given where I came from and the damage I had done to my body by the age of 25. My back was a mess, I had repetitive strain in both arms, Morton's Neuromas in both feet, bad knees...

And yet, every so often I think back on those archaeology years (and my now worthless-to-me degree) and I really miss it. It was fun telling people I was an archaeologist (often more fun talking about it than doing the actual!).

I'm still fascinated by history and archaeology, but I wouldn't trade my life now for anything!

By the way, that pile of books are all written by my professors and teachers. I met or studied with every one of those amazing scholars. I feel deeply fortunate to have had that experience.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Bag

Today's photo theme is the ever popular what's-in-your-purse meme, which I find tiresome because I don't actually carry a purse. In fact, during the summer months, I aim to carry as little with me as humanely possible.

But when I'm travelling around the city teaching (particularly when travelling via public transit), this is what I need to get by:

-My orange Bandha shoulderbag
-CreditDebit Cards/ID/Library Card
-Lip gloss and aspirin
-Small black bag that holds my Tibetan Singing Bowl and bluetooth stereo speaker for my Hatha classes
-Library book and my Kindle

Bonus awesomeness:
Deepak Chopra random nonsense quote generator, drawing on actual words from his Twitter feed: Wisdom of Chopra

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out and About

I attended a kirtan tonight at the studio I've been practising at. Good fun!

The woman who was singing has been, at various times over the past 10 years, my Yoga Philosophy Teacher and my chanting teacher. These days, she's one of my asana teachers, along with her partner (who was playing the keyboards).

Girlfriend multi-tasks!! :-D

And by the way, you really haven't been adjusted in Kapotasana until you've had *two* people adjusting you at the same time. *groan* I felt like I was in a mosh pit!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 15, 2012


24 hours 'post-dental-ordeal' and I'm still feeling a bit low.

Last night, on a buzz from the pain killers, I swooped around the neighbourhood running errands on my bicycle, then came home and managed to liberally splatter my entire kitchen with gluten-free-vegan-brownie batter while enthusiastically baking for the Shala North potluck.

I woke up to the disaster and it took a half-hour to clean it all up. Does an electric mixer count as 'heavy machinery'? If so, I shouldn't have been operating one! lol!

This morning, I was groggy and nauseous after 10 hours sleep, but by mid-morning I was well enough to get out of bed and take Princess Fur on one of our Epic Walks. Despite the time-crunch, I've been finding time for at least two of these per day.

While Princess Fur used her nose to seek out new smells, I used my eyes and digital camera to seek out the colour yellow - the photo theme for today. Amazing how much yellow is in the neighbourhood this time of year. I love June! :-)

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 14, 2012


(I received this watch for graduation. I've been wearing it almost every day for over 20 years. It has held up well!)


Mainly, I don't feel like I have enough of it right now.

Every spring, I look forward to the predictable schedule slow-down of June, but I always forget that there are a number of things I've *put off* until June. This week, it was dental appointments. Yuck!

And there's always some schedule overlap: spring classes and summer classes co-existing, sometime in close proximity (requiring marathon sprints on my bicycle, from one end of the city to the other).

Finally (and hilariously!), there are the errands that overlap with my classes. Today, I had some intensive dental work done, then I taught a class with my face half-frozen. Fun times!

I'm looking forward to July, when those little gold hands on my watch will take on less urgency. I might even stop wearing my watch! That would be something...

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I snapped this photo while walking to Shala North's 'satellite location' back in May. This art shop has kittens!

At first, I thought it was just one kitten, but it turns out that there are at least four of them and they wreck havoc on the place at night, scattering their toys everywhere. Then they hang out in the window and bat their little paws at passing ashtangis ;-) lol!

I haven't seem them lately, though I occasionally bike past on my way to practice in the morning.

I can't believe that I'm nearing the half-way point of my month at Shala South. Time really flies! I'm keeping an open mind about where to 'land' next, including just staying put at South for another month. I really like it there. The teachers are skilled and I'm learning new things. I'm settling in.

This weekend is a busy social weekend for me. Shala North's potluck is on Friday night and Shala South is having a special Mysore session followed by a Kirtan on Saturday. I'm grateful to be a part of both these communities and I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and enjoying the vegan food/music.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

From a Low Angle

(Princess Fur, four months old)

I'm doing the usual things one does when faced with Very Bad News.

Mainly, I phoned my mother - ironically, on the same day she brought home her new 10-week-old schnauzer puppy. She cried and I felt sad again. I told a few friends who know Princess Fur well. I've sought advice from other, dog-owning friends, who urged me not to panic.

But I'm facing Princess Fur's possible expiration date with open eyes. My mother pointed something out that I had completely lost sight of: This fall, Fur will be 10 years old. Miniature Schnauzers can live up to 16 years, but that's exceptional.

In my family, our schnauzers have lived 9, 10.5 and 13 years respectively. My mother's dog was in perfect physical health but was suffering from 'doggie dementia' when they finally let her go.

I've stopped looking at this news as a curse and started to regard it as a gift. I'm mean, at least I've been given a 'heads up'. Besides, it's the beginning of the summer, a great season to have a dog, to be a dog.

I've decided that regardless of what happens, I'm going to do everything in my power to make this Princess Fur's Most Awesome Summer Ever.

We're going to do all of her favourite things. I'm making a list:

1) Long walks: Fur can't cover long distances anymore, but she can easily spend a half-hour covering very little ground, but sniffing absolutely *everything*. We'll do that. Me with my iPod and Fur with her nose. We'll take our time. I'll let her lead the way. I won't hurry her.

2) The Big Park: She loves it but we don't often go in the summer because it's a long ride on public transit, which is expensive when I don't have a monthly pass in the summer months. We're going to go anyway. Once a week.

3) Play: She still loves to play. Right now, she's not so keen because she has a sore tooth, but as soon as that's sorted I'm going to make time for a daily play date with my dog. Just me, Princess Fur and her posse of stuffed toys.

4) Bananas: They're soft, they're sweet and she loves them. Every week, I'll buy a few extra so she can have banana slices at regular intervals during the day.

5) Cuddles: Whenever I'm on the bed or the window seat, reading and writing (and I do a lot of both) I'm bringing her up with me.

6) The balcony: She loves it out there. I'm determined to find a doggie lounger for her to use. I used to have an old papasan chair for her, but it fell apart. I'll investigate some alternatives.

And there are other things. I'd love to buy her a new cushion for her basket. Maybe treat her to some yummy soft canned food a few times a week. I'm trying to get back in touch with the owner of one of Fur's best friends from puppyhood - maybe we can have a little reunion and the two old-lady-dogs can hobble along together on a long sniffy walk.

We're seizing the day.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 11, 2012


This photo is from my archives. I took it in Montreal in the Old City at night. This is the back entrance of one of the restaurants. I always loved how subtly candid this is: half a man lit by a fluorescent lights, contrasted with the glow of the streetlights outside.

As I took the photo, I felt like I was peeking into a secret world.

During my time in Montreal I felt like an entirely different person, as if I had shed my skin and emerged, liked a butterfly, into a different life. Practising in the shala there, I felt completely anonymous. It was a bit being placed into the Astanga version of a 'witness protection programme'. Even my practice was different - I started second series in Montreal. I could feel my body changing at a cellular level, buzzing.

And then I came home.

Today, I'm wishing I could escape my life again. Just very briefly, just to get a breather from being me and being here and being now. I wish I could be anonymous again, instead of feeling like the object of backstabbing and gossip. I wish I felt more at home in my practice and less like a transient, itinerant ashtangi. I wish my damned shoulder would stop aching.

I wish I wasn't so afraid.

Princess Fur has cancer.

There. I said it. It took me a couple hundred words and two dozen deep breaths just to write that sentence. I'm beyond heartbroken. I'm turning the comments off on this post because I can't bear sympathy. I know you're all sorry. Thanks.

She's scheduled for surgery on the 27th. I'll know more after the biopsy, but I don't plan to put my dog through a tortured treatment plan. She's nearly 10, she's given me enough. The best I can give her now is the best possible quality of life and a dignified end, whenever it comes.

I just really wish this stupid year would stop kicking me in the teeth.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Best Bit of My Weekend

After a really trying day yesterday, I braced myself for more anxiety this morning. But Sunday was a better day.

The morning dawned sunny and bright, which was a good start. Princess Fur is still not well, but she's eating again, which is something. We both got a good night's sleep, a first in about a week.

My practice felt good and I learned some new things, which always makes me happy. I don't want to jinx myself, but I think I may hate Purvottanasna just a tiny bit less now!

I taught a outdoor yoga class, which was great fun. Then I attended the neighbourhood park barbecue, complete with a really, really horrible live band (but you had to love them for belting out those songs with gusto, even if they *were* atrocious).

Later on in the day, I wandered through a neighbourhood street festival, browsing the vendors and stumbled across a gorgeous beaded necklace with some of my favourite, vibrant colours. It's very similar to one I had seen a few years ago, but didn't buy (and I regretted that decision later). So I treated myself to the necklace, even haggled a little for a discount. I love it!

That was probably the 'best bit of my weekend', but the entire day was pretty fabulous, so I'm calling this weekend a success!

(This post is part of the June photo project)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My View Today

This isn't my view from today, it's from a few days ago. But it was so beautiful that day, I vastly prefer it to any photo taken during this insanely busy and confusing heartbreaking disorienting Saturday.

Pretty much everything that could go wrong today did, starting with Princess Fur becoming dramatically unwell in the morning and ending with a very lack lustre yoga practice in the evening.

And now I'm sitting here, anxious right down to my bones, dreading tomorrow and simultaneously wishing this entire weekend would just pass quickly.

I can't take the Princess to see her veterinarian until Monday morning. Cross your fingers with me that this is nothing serious. This dog is my best friend, my family, my muse, all rolled up into one furry 18lb bundle.

I'm so worried. I love her so much. This is killing me.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 8, 2012

Six o'clock

I'm gradually beginning to adjust to this new routine. It's a radical change for me - not only a brand new environment but a different (and variable) practice schedule, carefully constructed around the classes I already teach.

I had to do some shuffling, but so far it's working out okay. I miss morning practice (I'm always awake at that hour anyway). And I'm finding it challenging teaching two or three classes *after* practice, which happens three times a week when I go to the afternoon Mysore.

On Fridays, I have welcome gap between my practice and my classes. The weather was lovely, so I spent some time outside in the sunshine.

This photo was taken at 6 o'clock sharp.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My faithful orange Vapur water bottle.

My drink of choice is water. Tap water is fine. And this is usually my container of choice.

Yeah, I know it's made of plastic, but it's light and cleverly folds into a tiny little bundle. If drinking water is complicated, I don't bother. This little orange water bottle gives me no excuse, so I stay well-hydrated during the day.

And for something so disposable looking, it's held up really well.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Hat. Scarf. Bandana.

Head coverings will probably be my main fashion accessory this summer. Late last year, I had my hair cut for what turned out to be the last time. A month or two after that, I decided to grow it out.

That was November. My hair was *very* short in November, cut nearly to my skull. Over the past seven months, as it has slowly grown out, I've gone through some hilarious 'hair phases.'

There was the 'European Dictator Hair Phase'. That was a fun one - it looked a bit like a 'comb-over'. Next came the 'Bedhead Phase', which everyone thought looked great. A student of mine even described it as 'sexy' (I can only assume because I looked as if I'd just rolled out of bed. *ahem*).

Though mercifully brief, I even passed through a 'Lady Diana Hair Phase'. Got lots of compliments on that one too.

Right now, I'm in another Awkward Phase, and anticipating the much-dreaded Mullet Phase. This is where I historically give up and get it cut.

I'm not giving up.

I started wearing a bandana over my head during yoga practice a couple months ago, a la Baron Baptist. I can't decide if I look goofy or gansta. Probably a little bit of both. Lately, I've been wearing the bandana off the mat too because my hair looks *that* bad.

We'll call this one the 'Babushka Headscarf Hair Phase.'

I'm eagerly awaiting the moment my hair is long enough to pull off a 'Hilary Clinton Headband Phase'. At least it will be a change of pace.

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 5, 2012



(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 4, 2012

Close Up

Last summer after an early morning practice, I unlocked my folding bike, Bruce, only to realise that his seat post was missing. Someone had nicked it, mistaking it for something of value (which it wasn't - it's very unique to that discontinued model).

The bike shop retrofitted another post to fit, but it never fit correctly. One day in last September, I noticed a hairline crack in the frame. It grew and grew and when I finally took Bruce into the shop, they wouldn't let me ride him home. The shop owner, Bike Lady, felt that Bruce was too dangerous to ride.

I had two options: replace the frame or purchase a new bike. The costs were about the same, so I paid my respects to Bruce (and donated him to a non-profit bike collective) and welcomed Bianca, my new folding bike.

I brought Bianca home in October, when the riding season was mostly over - I think I rode her only once or twice. She's been sitting in the corner of my apartment, shiny and pristine for seven months, waiting for better weather.

I started riding this week. I ride a lot - it won't take long for the wear-and-tear to take its toll on this bike.

So I took a bunch of photos of my new, pristine bicycle. Just for the memories.

(This post is part of the June photo project)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On Your Plate

Vegan Red Thai Curry. Simple, colourful, perfect. And delicious!

On my plate this week:
-Teaching my last pre-registered classes. These classes go on hiatus during the summer months, giving me a bit of a break.
-Returning to long daily walks with the dog, weather permitting!
-The start of outdoor yoga classes. I've had a HUGE response this year and the classes are quickly filling up!
-The dentist. *frown*
-Co-ordinating my summer travel plans!
-Starting my summer reading list with this book: Yoga for the Three Stages of Life by Srivatsa Ramaswami.

(This post is part of the June photo project)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Puttering around downtown yesterday on my bicycle, I passed by Shala North's May 'satellite location' and saw this:

Aw!!! It's now just another empty storefront...sad!

Although it would have been fun to continue to practice with DR and the Shala North crowd, summer is not the ideal time for me to do that. I rely on my bicycle for transportation and Shala North is waaay too far north for me to commute.

So, it was with a bit of irony that I rode downtown yesterday and signed up for a month at Shala South, a place a *never* thought I would end up (on the Astanga-tradition-spectrum, South is decidedly 'non-traditional'). It's not completely unprecedented, though - I've been attending the odd class and workshop there for a couple years, so I know the teachers and I'm familiar with the schedule.

And oh, the schedule! It's turning my carefully orchestrated routine right on its head! For the last few years, I've been an early-morning practitioner, rising before dawn and stepping on the mat before 6 a.m. My whole life is predicated on this routine.

But for the next month (and possibly through the summer), I'll be practising in the late afternoon and evening hours. Just to keep things interesting, a couple times a week, I'll attend the 6 a.m. Mysore. I'm also adding two led classes to my schedule. There's no mat storage so I'll be hauling my Manduka around town with me...OOF!

I attended my first evening Mysore session there today and it was great: packed room, good energy and OMG the heat! I love a hot room, especially one that's fueled by the heat of group practice. The teachers are skilled, the adjustments informative. I think I'm going to have a good month there!

(This post is part of the June photo project)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, June 1, 2012


Shala North's satellite location was never intended to be a permanent thing - it always had a one month expiry.

Accordingly, last week, signs started showing up around the shala, exorting students to 'Take Your Mat Home on Thursday!'. The signs were the bathroom, on the doors, on the stairwells. I half-expected to find one hanging from my toe after SB adjusted me in Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana!

We remembered. On the last day, the Great Wall of Mats (nearly 30 them carefully lined up along the wall) dwindled. It didn't seem possible that one month could have passed *so* quickly, but it had. It felt just a bit surreal walking out of there for the last time.

So, it's now June, a new month and I'm moving onward to new yoga adventures...

This morning though, with no place to officially go, I took a day off. I spied my mat from the comfort of my warm bed (it's in the orange mat bag by the bookcase) and with no apologies, rolled over and went back to sleep.

It was awesome! :-D

I stumbled across this June photo project via Kath's blog and thought that it might be a good motivator to start posting here regularly again. I recently upgraded my iPad and it has a pretty decent onboard camera. I find myself snapping photos all the time now, whenever I see something interesting turn up.

My plan is to post a photo each day in June, hopefully with a few (or more than a few) words about my life, my practice, Princess Fur and what I ate for lunch.

Stick around! It'll be epic! ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad