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I’ve been sick for the last two weeks, but I am feeling much better now, and I am sharing this very important post.

Deciphering Science

Dear Everyone,

My name is Naomi. I am Canadian. I worked for Environment Canada, our federal environmental department, for several years before our current Conservative leadership (under Stephen Harper) began decimating environmentalism in Canada. I, along with thousands and thousands of federal science employees lost any hope of future work. Their attitude towards the environment is ‘avoid research that contradicts the economic growth, particularly of the oil sands’. They have openly and officially denigrated anyone that supports the environment and opposes big-money oil profit as ‘radicals’ (http://tinyurl.com/7wwf8dp).

Every day in Canada, new information about their vendetta on science and the environment becomes quietly public and keeps piling up. I have been privy to much first-hand information still because I retain friendships with my ex-colleagues (though my blood pressure hates me for it).

While I was working there, scientists were effectively muzzled from speaking to the media without prior confirmation…

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Yoga challenge, day 4

I came in the studio with my arms and shoulders still in pain from yesterday’s practice, so I decided to take it easy in the poses that required that part of the body. It was a regular Moksha sequence, and I found it quite challenging today. I sweated quite a bit. It was a “music” session, and the prof came in with a Beatles soundtrack. I’m not a particularly big Beatles fan (ask me why sometime…) but I must admit it was quite enjoyable to do yoga to it.

What I learned today:
Life isn’t a performance. Some parts of it might require performance, but deep down, if you live your life like a performance all the time, you become inauthentic. I want to live an authentic life.

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Hot yoga challenge, day 3

I headed to the studio for the 10h00 Hot Flow class. Again, it wasn’t the Moksha sequence, but it was in the semi-heated temperature (30 to 35 degrees). The teacher today focused on Tibetan yoga, which are 21 repeats of a short 2- or 3-pose sequence. My arms are screaming in pain this afternoon as most of the sequences required a lot of arm work. But I stopped when I needed to, and did my best.

What I learned from today’s practice:
Your body does what it does for a reason. It’s your job to listen to it and to do what it asks. If it tells me to stop working out, I should stop instead of pushing through and hurting myself. If it asks me for carbs, my job is to feed it good carbs, not candy.

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30-day hot yoga challenge, day 1

So I decided that I would take on a month-long yoga challenge. 30 classes in 30 days. It started today.

Here is what I learned from yoga today:

-I have very flexible hips. I can go very deeply in the hip poses.
-However, my shoulders are comparatively weak and tight. I carry all my stress in my shoulders and upper back, so it’s not a surprise.

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I am humbled.

It’s a good thing I didn’t put all my eggs into the Toronto basket. I didn’t get in.

I came “very, very close”, they said. Not close enough to make the cut, though. For someone who is supposedly bright enough to get in wherever she wants, the stats are rather against me. 1 in 3 only. 2 more to go, but I don’t care much about those.

I was leaning towards Alberta anyway, but being unable to say that I was accepted at Toronto really hurts my academic pride.

It might take me a while to swallow that one…

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Whew!

I am as close to being done as possible today. Yesterday I finished the “argument” part of my thesis. I still lack an introduction and a conclusion, and some stuff is missing in my literature review (not that I really know how to do that one still). But, the skeleton is there, and flesh, and if I have to thin it out a little it won’t be that bad.

When I wrote my last word of argumentation yesterday I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. Thinking that my dissertation will be that, times 10, makes me want to cry. But then thinking that I actually wrote 25 000 words makes me feel proud.

There is still some work to be done but most of the weight is off my shoulders, and the rest is all revision, proof-reading and other details.

I am feeling a bit awesome right now.

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One week

So, my thesis is due on February 22nd, so something must be done about the “writing it” part. Last Monday I started getting up at 7h, getting to the library by 8h30, and writing at least 700 words before lunch. Then it’s reading time.

Unfortunately, a few things are not working well: by Friday I wanted to take three months off school altogether, and I also can’t seem to read fast enough to feed my writing properly. This morning I was stuck making up stuff just to fill my word objective. But I NEED to write because if I don’t it’ll never get done.

Just six more weeks, and after that it’ll be proof-reading, re-writing and fine-tuning the argument, which isn’t so bad as coming up with the stuff in the first place. I’m still reading things that make me re-think my whole approach to my basic thesis statement, which means I’ll probably end up with something completely different than I had planned. Not that this is a bad thing, though. It’s a characteristic of academic work that it always changes, and it is probably why, despite all my hatred of writing, I enjoy it so much. You start up a project thinking something about a topic, and find things that make you reconsider everything and see things from a new angle. I kinda love that.

In PhD news, two applications are left to send out: McGill and Simon Fraser. At this point I am rather fed up with the process, and to be honest I don’t have much brain space to worry about them. In March, I’ll start worrying.

I should go read!

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