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Last night I dreamed that I lost my job, Mr. Pugh broke up with me, and someone left the door open and I wasn't sure if the cats had gotten out. In the dream I was at my grandmother's house (she's dead, and this is not the first time recently that I've dreamed about her). I tried to get a job at a coffee shop but didn't feel like I was really fitting in. in the dream I didn't know where I belonged anymore.  This is likely (perhaps just obviously) related to my anxieties about moving into the research world as a professional.  I've made a lot of mistakes in learnign as I go, and it often means I feel like a fake and a failure.  But there are times when I almost feel competent, and that's a nice feeling I'd like to have more often. Buit it may also be related to the identity work I've been doing around my Indigeneity.  I bought a bunch of Mi'kmaq books recently and have been reading them. I'm interacting more with other Indigenous people and I'm learning some Mi'kmaq.  So I guess maybe it's making me feel kind of lost psychologically, if we can believe my subconscious.

This week I attended the OHTN's HIV conference Back To Basic, and I learned more about the human imune system than I'd ever known before. I like to think that I live in the real world and that I'm a pragmatic materialist.  But this conference made me realize how little I actually know of the "real" world since my knowledge is limited to small areas of familiarity.  So the "real" world includes fields of which I know nothing, and that means that decisions are  inevitably made with only partial knowledge about what impact they might have in that "real" world.  On Sunday I'm going to Kingston for a conference about HIV and prison populations.  I've never been to Kingston and I'm looking forward to it. I just wish it didn't fall on the days I'm trying to finish my New Investigator Salary Award grant application to CIHR. Story of my life: shit is happening all at once.


Self-care fail

I've already worked 8.5 hours more this week than I'm supposed to. Despite this, I can't seem to feel like I've done enough.

I was planning to get a bunch of work done on my grant or my papers this weekend. Instead I'm fuzzy-headed, sneezing, congested, and already sleepy. Logic tells me I should rest and get over whatever sickness is brewing in me. But another part of me is always in survival mode and thinks we need to pour our 110% into every waking minute or we are a lazy ass who deserves to fail. Why can't I just take the weekend off and rest happy knowing that I've done my time? Why do I always have to be working on the next step right now? Clearly this is some childhood hangover about not being good enough. The driveto achieve is nice, , and undoubtedly usefulbut I'd like to be able to switch it off when it's time to rest.

Neck deep in Indigenaeity

Between writing this article on the Mi'kmaq relation to animals (which is mostly research at this point) and starting a catalyst grant on indigenous methods (which is currently just an outline of the argument framework) I am consuming a reading diet of 90% Indigenaeity. It's interesting, and I have to work not to wander off intriguing side paths.  I'm feeling kind of exhausted and I have an on-again-off-again head cold, which means my thinking isn't 100%. 


I'm taking today off as a holiday. I'm still out of sorts with head and chest congestion and I have enjoyed the mental recouperation as well as the physical.

I have potatoes for baking, carrots for (I think) steaming, a veggie golden roast (basically a fake ham) and the ingredients to make vegan pumpkin tarts. The recipe is one I've used a few years running and it is awesome. I still need to get some apple juice, apple pie and vanilla soy cream for Mr. Pugh, and some peas. I'm thinking I'll bake the potatoes, scoop out their indies, bake the shells until they crisp, mix up the potato with soy milk and spices, and add the fluffy potato mix back into the crispy shells. The veggie ham fries better than it bakes. I've had too many holidays with dried out or burned veggie ham. This year, it's getting fried.

This morning Mr. Pugh told me about the Frobisher Expedtion, which was new to me since I studied very little Canadian History in school. Looking stuff up on Wikipedia I also learned about the role played by The Order of Good Cheer in creating Canadian thanksgiving. Their events took place at Port Royal in the Annapolis valley, so the "indians" to whom they're referring are us, the Mi'kmaq.

Making the decisions

To over the next two weeks I need to make substantical progress toward bringing my Two-Spirited Roundtable project to a close.  I've got podcasts to promote, one interview left to transcribe, data to analyze, and bills to pay.  I've run out of money, which is one of the outcomes I hoped for since I didn't want CIHR taking anything back in November. I'll have some reports to write up and some paperwork to file.  But I'm glad to be wrapping up with a lot of experiential learning.


Today is Mr. Pugh's last day off and I'm taking the day to spend with him.  I'm still depressed and fragile and would like to focus on something positive that's in no way related to work.

That said, I still need to get my laundry done.

Feels like I'm caught in a time vortex

So it's somehow October.  I haven't thought about Halloween at all (apart from eating tiny chocolate bars at an all-day conference).  My sleep schedule usually has me exhausted by 9pm, so parties are tricky. My celebration this year may just consist of me watching all 4 Scream movies back to back.


I used to think I had more energy when I was doing my MA.  Back then, I worked 40 hours a week, put another 20-30 into the Dyke March, did school full time as well, and attended every social event.  Where'd all that energy go, I used to wonder?

I now conclude that I am dumping it all into work.  OMG. I'm juggling a dozen or more things at a time. I have multiple to-do lists.  I've worked 65 hours so far this week. I'm interviewing a participant today. I'm transcribing a focus group (1/3 of it done thus far). Then I've got a meeting at CAMH about their community advisory committee. Tomorrow I'm meeting with folks from the 2-SHAWLS study on Two-spirited men with HIV to talk about being a part of the next steps for the project.  So I may come out of that with a green might to write a grant application that would be due October 27th. Why do this, you may ask?  I need to lead a project as a primary investigator so I can qualify for another grant in December that would support my salary, help me get a permanent job, and show I can bring in money.

Next week is also a head-smashing busy time. On Monday I have a teleconference with the OHTN folks to talk about my contract, (scary!) and then another teleconference immediately after with OHTN's Indigenous research Steering Committee. Tuesday I meet with the Director of the Social and Epidemiological Research department at CAMH to talk about maintaining a connection with the organization and (maybe) future employment there. On Wednesday I'm at the planning meeting for the Indigenous health program at the Dala Lana school, from 8:30am until 7:30pm.  Thursday that meeting continues 8:30am to 4:00pm. I have no events Friday or Saturday, so that may give me some time to draft the grant and continue transcribing.

I'm also trying to schedule another interview with a study participant, look into an Aboriginal mortgage program, write some articles, etc. etc.

So yeah, I don't think I've slowed down. And if I recall correctly, I had a lot more evenings where I just cried and wanted to die during my MA, and that's not the case now. In fact, I remain oddly optimistic that this will all pay off somehow.


You had one job, dreamcatcher.

Last night I dreamed that I was in a building talking to a two-spirited colleague when I suddenly notice that the place has a lot of spiders. I'm concerned that I won't be able to leave without running into them. I mention the spiders to A., who tells me the one to worry about is the black widow, and I follow him to a room where he points out a spider with an abdomen the size of a softball.  Now I know the real spider looks nothing like this.  Nor does the real spider have a purple body that looks vaguely like plush velvet with a gold lame skull on it. The spider scurries across the room toward me, I retreat, but it leaps and lands on my head. So terrified I can barely move, I put my hand up to shield my face, at which point the spider begins trying to bite my hand. The first time it catches my wedding rings, but I know it's going to get fingers next.  All I can do is whisper "Help me!" A. does nothing.

The night before I dreamed I found a great piece of lakefront with an old Spanish mission on it.  However as soon as I came close the building began to crumble and topple onto me.

I am not fond of this stress dreaming.


The property, I covet it.

When I was home this past month my mom mentioned that a piece of property just up the road from where I grew up was for sale.  It used to be a campground -  tiny cottages and a main lodge. It's been over a decade since the camp was in operation, and all the buildings are toast. The were never built on a proper foundation and they're all condemned, or so the neighbours told me.  I visited the property and was afraid to even step inside, that's how bad they were. They'd basically need to be torn down and carted away.  The property, however, is freakin' gorgeous.

It would need a lot of work before it could be lived on.  In addition to carting out the old buildings it would need about 50 loads of fill, a drilled well, a septic system, some general landscaping, and then the cost of home construction.

So I met with RBC to see about getting a pre-approved mortgage.  While they appear willing to give me a mortgage, they just won't do so for this property, since it's not in move-in condition. I could apply for a line of credit, but the interest rate would be significantly higher (in the 6-8% range rather than 2.5%).

I've emailed the realtor to see if I can make a deal directly with the owner.


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