Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Scribblings

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is to imagine our pet's inner life. I've decided I will tell you about little Annabelle. She was one of the sweetest kitties my parents had ever adopted; a stray from the Humane Society. Although I try not to anthropomorphize my pets and imagine them as individuals in their own right, what happened with Annabelle made me wish I could have understood her inner life and communicated with her...

Tiny Annabelle joined our family last year, and quickly became a central part of my parents' household. Their older cat, Caramel, loved her. They used to lie together in exactly the same way in the same chair; groom each other; play together. They quickly became inseparable friends, which so rarely happens with cats.

She was such a sweet little cat. For a while, we thought we'd call her Ewok because up close, that's what she looked like. But there was something always wrong with her front paw; the way she held it up like it was botherng her and stepped gingerly on it.

One day, Annabelle started having difficulty with her breathing. Lying on her side, her flank rose and fell like a bellows in the heat. After a week at the vet's, she came back home, but Caramel didn't seem to recognize her, and the problems resurfaced. Her eyes turned grey and glazed over. She started walking into walls, tables, chairs. She spent hours lying on the rattan chair in the front porch, because it seemed to be the only place she was comfortable anymore. We took Annabelle back to the vet's.

While my dad and I were on a four-hour drive back from Sudbury, caught in the tail end of the huge storm last summer that washed out the Finch Avenue bridge, my mom got a call from the vet: he'd had to make a decision and put Annabelle down. Her body had systematically shut down due to a parasitic infection. She lost her sight due to hemorraging in her eyes; her fur lost its shine; her liver and kidneys shut down. She started having seizures.

When my mom went to see Annabelle for the last time, her beloved kitten didn't recognize her. She backed away into the corner of the cold metal cage when mom reached her hand out to pet her. Mom came home and cried for an hour while she waited for us to arrive.

We cried together in each other's arms while dad put Annabelle's lifeless body the ground next to a weeping birch tree, branches swaying above her. We placed a bird bath in the grass above her, because she'd been so thirsty in her last days and couldn't seem to get enough water, mom said. And she'd also loved to watch the birds.

Why did I weep so deeply for a cat I'd known for such a short time? Because all I could think of was that she couldn't have known what was happening. Everything around her was foreign - the sterility of the vet's cage, the shutting down of her body. And she couldn't call out to us to tell us something felt wrong in that front paw. It must have been completely disorienting and frightening to her. And in the end, I'm not sure she knew how much she was loved, or how much she'd be missed.

Caramel walked around the house for days calling out for Annabelle in the middle of the night. Looked for her in empty nooks and crannies but never found her.

~ Ceebie

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm back

Finally, a Saturday morning in which to enjoy a cup of tea, catch up on my reading, blogging, yoga, and household chores!

I'm a little late, but since this week's PT prompt was "free", I thought I'd post two of my favorite poems that I wrote about ten years back. Granted, they still need some work, but the yellow is something that has stuck with me.

Sunflower Queen I

Round the bend in the bike path, under a bridge, is where she brings her treasures. She has a mattress -- torn and flat, but it does the job. Every day, she wanders in fields and gathers fallen sunflowers. On your way home from work, you can see the yellow walking down the street.

The gossips say she dated a doctor so handsome, when he smiled, his teeth gleamed. Now, nurse cap flops on her head. Parents call her the "Bayview street nurse". If you're bad, she'll give you a needle so you will never wake up.

I've seen her down the street at Loblaws: she hides out back and waits for people to chuck their receipts, or collects empty banana boxes. Then she scurries up to shove them in her bags or grocery cart with the floppy wheel.

Tonight, a cyclist finds her on her mattress, surrounded by rotten sunflowers. Love letters and poems scribbled on receipts and cardboard scraps with banana stains have been stored under her mattress.

I keep them, in a shoe box under my bed.

Sometimes, I can still smell the yellow in my dreams.

sunflower queen II

in the calm,

cool grey of morning

I lift myself

from dewy grasses

split silver paths

to stand where the petals burn

damp earth clinging between toes

reach up

tilt faces down

and breathe fire

~ Ceebie

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I've been AWOL

...because of this new job, and this new man in my life (we met on Eharmony, actually!) :)

Things are great, but hectic! So very little time to blog and catch up on everyone else's blogs. But hopefully I'll be able to carve out some time this week to do so...Plus I had a drive-by visit to celebrate my nephew's first birthday in Ottawa this weekend. He is just at the age where you can see his personality emerging and his sense of self. It's so cool, and he's so cute! I'm a very proud matante :)

Anyhoo, I promise I will stop by everyone's blogs to check them out. And I hope to be able to contribute to PT and SS this week. I'm missing my blogger community!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday supplement

Ok...I've been thinking about it, and one of the most romantic times of my teenage years was on a first or second date with a boy I was head over heels with... I'd had my eye on him for two years since we were camp counselors at the same camp, but never imagined he'd be interested. Until he asked me out. He used to drive his dad's light brown pickup truck, which for some reason I thought made him soooo cool. And he was hot. Smart. And he was interested in me!

So on this one particular evening, we were driving back from who knows where. Most likely dancing. We did a lot of dancing that summer. He drove us downtown, right across from the harbour at Harbourfront, to an abandoned parking lot. Turned off the ignition. Turned on the cassette deck (now I'm REALLY dating myself). We got out, and danced to "November Rain" by Guns & Roses....Funny how perspective changes everything!

first love

harbourlights twinkle across the way
head on your chest
we slow dance
body leaning into each other
your hands fit so nicely
on the small of my back
hoping you won't feel my heart
beating a mile a minute

breathing in your Drakkar
the guitar twang solo
Guns & Roses, November Rain
blares from the cassette deck
of your dad's brown pickup truck
I left the $3.99 cellophaned roses lying
on vynil seats

this empty parking lot
a perfect backdrop for first love
and a night I'll never forget



Somebody please help! What is the deal with my template????

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Poetry Thursday rough cut

This week's Poetry Thursday prompt is to write about a song or music that inspired you...Although I am a dancer and love music, it's always been more about the beat than the words for me. Then I remember the day my brother and I were going through my parents' LPs and threw on Pink Floyd. I remember thinking "what kind of stuff were my parents ON?" and looking at my brother in mock horrror. In the days of early 90s music, Pink Floyd was an amazing discovery for me...The way the songs bleed into one another...The metaphors that grab you, like the dark side of the moon...The guitar chords that reached deep into me.' In highschool, Pink Floyd became our unofficial mascots - we all sort of spontaneously rediscovered their albums, and they played in the background in the dimly lit basements of our parents' houses at house parties.

The other album which has stuck with me from those days is Harmonium - it's a classic Quebecois folksy kind of band.

Then there was the time when we had our graduation party at someone's parents' barn. It was probably the last time all of us were together as a group. My boyfriend and I had stolen to the loft for a 'moment' and when we came back, I remember my friends sitting around a makeshift table, playing poker, slightly drunk and Dominique singing "ne pleure pas" over and over again in the most monotonous voice. Can't remember who the singer was. All that's stuck in my head is the droning of Dom's voice as he threw down another card, looking as though he was about to cry any minute himself.

Now if only I could turn these thoughts into a poem! Maybe the other great PT writers will inspire me, as they do every week :)


Sunday Scribblings

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt asks, "who else might I have been"? Last year, I attended a lecture by Nicole Brossard, author of Hier (Yesterday at the Hotel Clarendon), and posted about her musings on what it might be like to live and breathe in another language, an excerpt of which I am reproducing here:

Nicole's work has been translated into several languages. While she writes in French and is a native French speaker, she read to us in English from a text that had been translated by someone else. She spoke to us about the idea that you are a different person if you grow up in another language. Who, she asks, would she be, what kind of a woman would she be, if she had grown up in English, Italian, Spanish? Each language has a different way of breathing, and of being...

I have grown up sandwiched in between Canada's two solitudes - French, and English. Never completely at home in French while surrounded by a culture that is predominantly English, and where my mother tongue (the language first spoken to me by my mother) always felt like an uncomfortably big sweater where the sleeves had been rolled up. And at the same time, I am never completely whole in English alone - I feel as though a part of me is missing somehow when I live my life entirely in that language. So how do I then construct my subjectivism, in the spaces between these two languages? How do I breathe in this space between two silences?

Who would I have been if I'd grown up entirely francophone, or entirely anglophone? Would I have felt more at home in Toronto, or Quebedc? My bilingualism is a core part of who I am. Sometimes it serves as an extension of my thoughts, if one or the other language happens to fail me momentarily. If I'd been Spanish or Italian, would I have been more hot-blooded? Who would Christina have been, rather than the quiet Christine of half British roots who often has extreme moments of extroversion tied to her Quebecois roots?


First three days, first three weeks, first three months

Phew! I have made it through week two of my new job, and I'm still standing (barely)! I am loving my job but it is a HUGE learning curve for me. More of a vertical rock climb, really. The people are very nice, my team is really laid back and fun, and the work is exactly what I have always wanted to do.

I sure was thrown right into the fray, though. On my first day I had a conf call with our CMS provider who is going to help us relaunch our website. They provide this really cool database system that allows you to do all kinds of neat customization and track info, etc...We're going to be one of the only, if not the first, charity in Canada to use this stuff. As a data geek, I'm excited.

Following that meeting, I had a briefing meeting with our designer on my second day to discuss our design needs for our newsletter, annual report, calendar and certificates. I'd prepared a creative brief for him, and he couldn't believe it was my second day.

By the end of week one, I'd talked to all of my regional contacts and put together a fairly detailed editorial lineup for the newsletter. By middle of week two, I'd chaired a meeting and helped redesign our site flow and page titling on our website.

There certainly isn't a lack of work, but this is justification that this is my dream job. I'm actually getting to the point where I'm excited to go in to work - something I haven't felt in years! Of course there will be personality conflicts with a few people, and I'm still figuring out my level of decision-making power and the lines of reporting, but otherwise, things are good :)

So that's it for my update. It's also why I neglected to post for Poetry Thursday this week. I've simply been tooooo tired, even to post someone else's poem! But I will definitely post next week.