Stationary Drifting


2013: the post in which I state my resolutions

I think I was kind of trying to avoid writing a post on new years resolutions, etc. For no particular reason other than the fact that it seemed to be required of bloggers (am I a blogger now?), and a bit cliche for this time of the year. I guess I do like to have personal time capsules though, hence the existence of this blog in the first place. After reading a few bloggers talk about looking at their resolutions from last year and comment on them I got a hankering to be able to do that myself. So here’s my plan for this year, no particular order, mostly to look back at in approximately 353 days and see how it worked out.

1. Finish my thesis

This is a really big one. I know that my thesis has made an appearance in the complaining part of this blog many a time. Its been dragging on a long time and is getting to the point of being more of a myth in my life than a reality. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed and apologetic every time someone asks me about it. I really want to have it done and over with so I can prove to myself that I am capable of such tasks and and to be able to move on with my life. The thesis is holding me back from starting other things I care about learning because I can’t really imagine, or justify to others, starting anything new with this still sitting there. So to do this I’m going to have to 9-5 this shit. No more flexible time, no more excuses, just all work all the time until I’m done. It will feel so good to move on and I’m going to use the yearning for that feeling to drive me.

2. Find a good job

Finding a job has been a helluva chore. Its been over a year that I’ve been applying, going to interviews, feeling rejected, and starting again. My goal for this year is to make the changes that need to be made in order to find work, which will include really thinking about whether Montreal is the place for this to happen. I’ve been applying to work in other places but maybe I need to make the big move to change up the formula and hopefully find something that works. This requires a lot of thinking and planning since I don’t exactly have the income to up and move to a more expensive city (thinking Toronto), and obviously this decision also affects M so its got to work for him too. Whatever it is, something is not working in my application process and I need to evaluate that. This goal is related to the above goal in a lot of ways, not the least of which because both are making me feel stuck and also probably that getting my thesis done and graduating will help the job hunt. Its also related to moving my life and my new little family’s life and goals forward. So its back to the regular job hunt for me. To do this I’m going to get back to regularly searching for and applying to jobs. I’m going to make it my begin the morning routine, over coffee and breakfast (which I will also be getting better at), before working on my thesis.

3. Drink more water

In the past I’ve gone for more of a general “get healthy” goal. I’m not ditching that because let’s be honest, I’m way too young to not take care of myself. This year though I’m going to put down a more specific goal of making sure I drink a lot more water every day. Like the full recommended daily amount. Its not a hard goal but its a habit I want to form and it will take some conscious intention to get it started. I’m going to follow the Mayo Clinic’s advice because they seem legit and are usually not too extreme in their recommendations. They say that the average woman in a temperate climate should drink 9 liters a day so I’m going to aim for that. 9-10 big glasses or my water bottle a day should do the trick. I want to start each day with water before anything else and move from there. Luckily I drink a lot of water when sitting at a desk, mostly out of fidgety boredom, so this should work perfectly with my above plans.

4. Start a Cdn political analysis blog/podcast

This one is going to be on pause until the Thesis is done because frankly I’m not sure I can handle more writing, other than blogging, on top of that but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Hence the Department of Analysis blog I keep but don’t write on these days. I follow a lot of grassroots political blogs and podcasts and really enjoy the perspective. My complaint about this though is that all of them are American, and while I appreciate the updates on what’s going on there I want to publicize what’s going on here too. The idea is not to be a journalist so I won’t be going out to follow stories, that’s not my goal. What I want to do is be a pundit of sorts and do commentary on events, news and politics in Canada to try and up the conversations happening about the situation here. The US affects our politics but we have plenty of our own that needs to be discussed. I’m going to aim for a late spring launch on this. If I can get others involved then great but if not I’m still going to do it.

5. Start a small Apothecary

I’ve been into herbal and holistic healthcare for a long time now. I think my first foray into it was when I got Bell’s Palsy (8 years ago?) and doctors told me that they didn’t know anything to ease the symptoms or speed recovery but that some people had good results from acupuncture. Luckily at that time I was still covered under my dad’s awesome teacher’s insurance and I was able to get acupuncture 3x/week for months free. It worked, was relaxing and most importantly I had (what I’m told is) a remarkable recovery. I still seek out acupuncture when I need it these days, though I don’t have coverage for it so its a lot less often. From there I got myself a naturopath and started using herbal remedies to make myself healthier and my obsession has only grown. Nowadays I treat just about everything with herbs (unless I’m really sick) and have gotten into making toiletries. I know make my own deodorant, cream and lip balm and am learning to make more. I’ve been researching lots of recipes (and even classes) but for now I think I can start a small apothecary making non-internal products and selling them around town. So this winter is for learning, and when the thesis is done I will launch!

6. Make a budget and stick to it

Classic resolution and one that I make almost every year. Its a bit comical to try and make a budget for such a small amount of money but at the same time SO necessary. This budget is going to focus on watching what we spend and paying down debt so that when we eventually have good jobs and more income we know where our money goes and hopefully have a cleaner slate to work with, and better credit. Eventually we will want to do things like buy cars and maybe a somewhere to live. Or at least travel. Money sucks when you don’t have it. So a budget has been made for this year, mapping out the real expenses we have and prioritizing the important things, including a (very small) budget line for entertainment. Now we just have to make sure we stay on track.

7. Read more books

My degree has killed my ability to sit and read for fun. I feel guilty when I’m not reading academic stuff so I haven’t really. I got a mini kobo for xmas this year and some bookstore gift certificates and I had no idea what to buy! This is so weird for me, I used to be such a big reader. This is somewhat related to the next resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I read, a lot. I have a solid 29 blogs and news agencies that I check at least once a day (thank you flipboard), not to mention the many articles, postings, rants and commentaries that also make up my daily reading. I love reading and I love learning, I acknowledge that I’ve turned more towards emerging and grassroots/popular learning in the form of new media academics and I like it. I get challenged a lot from it and it inspires a lot of discussion in my home. I miss reading for fun though, and reading fiction. Anyway, I finished reading Fun Home last week and am partway through Alison Bechdel’s new book, Are You My Mother?. Next up is Barbara Kingsolver’s, Flight Behavior on my new kobo. Then maybe something by Zadie Smith? I don’t know yet. The plan is to read at least 30 books for fun this year (idea from blackandwhiteandlovedallover). 30 is not much but it seems reasonable in the face of the stack of books I have to read to finish my damn degree.

8. Use less screens

This is another reason why I haven’t been reading enough. I have a million screens that I can look at in all places. My computer, tablet, smart phone, and (now) ereader makes is virtually (pun intended) impossible to avoid looking at a screen. I can sit in front of the computer all day, or peruse the www on my tablet in bed or while traveling (I even use it for knitting patterns!), the phone works for small spaces like the metro or bus or if I don’t have the tablet with me. The ereader for when my eyes feel like falling out of my head from starting at screens too long. So, with the health of my eyes in mind I’m going to make sure I spend a significant amount of time not looking at screens a day. Whether that’s reading (ereader doesn’t count, its nice on the eyes), knitting, hanging out with friends, cooking or whatever I’m going to make an effort.

9. Go somewhere new

Phew, this post is getting really long. Its taken me almost 2 weeks to write!

This is a fun one, a lot of these goals feel kinda heavy….I’m a wanderlust at heart. I’ve been in Montreal for 5 and a half years and its closing in on the longest I’ve lived anywhere, including places I lived as a child (Calgary was 7 years). My parents move(d) a lot, I’ve moved a LOT. There was the period of time between 19-24 I moved cities, if not countries, every 4 months. I like being nomadic, I get excited by new places. I have come to enjoy the benefits of being somewhere a while, which mostly have to do with knowing people for a long time, but I still need new places in my life to keep things fresh. So my goal for this year is to go to at least one new place. It doesn’t have to be far, it just has to be somewhere I’ve never been before.

10. “Renovate” the apartment

I’ve been living in this little apartment for almost 2 years, and now officially over 1 year with M. When I originally set up and painted the place it worked really well for me. We made a few changes to fit M in when they moved here but other than moving one or two pieces of furniture and clearing out a closet and a few drawers for them to use there haven’t really been any changes made to the place. Its in desperate need of an update and a shuffling to make ‘my’ place ‘ours’. My goal for this year is to declutter, paint, recover and buy with M to make our house ours. We’re exploring ways to cover the terrible linoleum in the kitchen & bathroom. Suggestions welcome. Changing a rental apartment is an interesting dance between wanting a good space and not investing a lot into a place we’ll move out of and leave behind.

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Learning the Land I Live On: Calgary

I wanted to mention that while eating lots of food and staying warm this holiday season that Chief Teresa Spence of Attawapiskat is entering her 3rd week of hunger striking. She has been eating no solid food, and drinking only tea and fish broth since Dec 11. Her strike is in protest of omnibus bill c-45 that passed in Parliament before Christmas this year. Amongst many many other elements of this massive bill, indigenous treaty land has become easier to sell and environmental protections have been removed from millions of Canada waterways. I plan on writing a long post about this over at Department of Analysis but for now I wanted to mention this and to remind people to keep Chief Spence in your thoughts, read up on the Idle No More movement that her strike (amongst other things) has sparked, and be aware of how the Canadian government is pushing through new legislation without proper consultation with affected communities.

image by Elisha Lim. Click the photo to be taken to their website. Permission to use this image widely was given on facebook so feel free. Remember to give credit to the artist though, that's always important.

image by Elisha Lim. Click the photo to be taken to their website. Permission to use this image widely was given on fb so feel free. Remember to give credit to the artist though, that’s always important.

While reading this and watching the movement spread and fight the apathy/news exhaustion that the end of every year brings. I am reminded that I know very very little about the peoples who’s land I grew up on. This inspired me to do some research this holiday season.

So, following is a very brief overview of the nations whose land Calgary sits on. I mostly got my info from wikipedia (I know, I know) pages on the Blackfoot Confederacy, Nakoda (Stoney) Nation, Treaty 7, Siksika Nation, Northern Peigan, Kainai Nation, Sarcee People, Nakota and a city of Calgary page. The info is by no means complete and I have a lot more to learn but here’s my beginning at an attempt to educate myself.

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The area where Calgary sits is known as ‘Moll-inistsis-in-aka-apewis‘ in Blackfoot, and literally means “elbow”, or where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet and form an ‘L’. The city falls on land governed under a hunting and land rights treaty called Treaty 7. This treaty was signed by 7 nations, 4 from the Niitsítapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) and 3 Nakoda nations. It was signed September 22, 1877, at Blackfoot Crossing (a historically very significant place for the Siksika) by a representative of Queen Victoria and the majority of the chiefs from these nations, including Chief Crowfoot (though there was another signing December 4, 1877 for leaders that couldn’t be at the first signing. Blackfoot crossing is about 100km from Calgary and is now on the site of Siksika Nation reserve.

The 7 nations that signed the Treaty 7 were:

From the Niitsítapi (meaning “original people”)– Blackfoot Confederacy in English

  • Siksiká Nation (Seeg-see-kah) 

Approx. 90km East of Calgary, known as either Blackfoot or Siksika by colonizers. Blackfoot is a direct translation of the name Siksika, sik = black and iká = foot. Chief Crowfoot was Chief of the Siksiká at the time of the signing of Treaty 7.

  • Piikáni Nation  (Pee-kah-nee), also known as Aapátohsipikáni

Approx. 200km South of Calgary near Pincher Creek, AB. Also known as Peigan (Peh-gan). The Piikáni is divided into two nations, the Northern Piikáni and Southern Piikáni (Aamsskáápipikani) with the Southern peoples living in Montana. The Southern Piikáni is the only nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy that lives in the US.

  • Káína Nation (G-ai-nah)

Approx. 200km South East of Calgary, near Lethbridge, AB. Káína translates to ‘Many Chief People’. Known as the Blood Nation by colonizers though this comes from a name given to the Káína by enemy Plains Cree people meaning “stained with blood” (Miko-Ew), ie: bloodthirsty or cruel. The Káína reserve is the largest in Canada and the second most populated.

  • Tsuu T’ina Nation (Soot-tenna)

Borders South West Calgary. Formerly known as the Sarcee, which is thought to be a Blackfoot name meaning ‘stubborn ones’. Tsuu T’ina means “a great number of people”. The Tsuu T’ina reserve is adjacent to the southwest Calgary at its eastern boundary and goes to Bragg Creek to the west, to the north it ends at Alberta Highway 8, and to the South at Calgary’s 146 Ave SW. The Tsuu T’ina were once a part of the Danezaa Nation to the north but they migrated south in the 1770’s (according to the Wikipedia page) and joined the Niitsítapi.

From the Nakhóda Nations

The 3 bands that make up the Alberta Treat 7 nations from the Nakhóda are the Bearspaw, Chiniki (Chin-ick-ee) and Wesley (also known as Morley or Nakoda).

Nakhóda means ‘friend, ally’, though they are still known today by the name Stoney. Stoney is a name given to by colonizers coming from the way that the peoples would use fire heated rocks to cook.

The Nakhóda reserve lands are located along the Bow River between the Kananaskis River and the Ghost River, approx. 60km North East of Calgary going towards Banff. These are known as the Big Horn, Stoney and EdenValley reserves and are shared between the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley bands.

I’m trying to do some simple web research so I’m not going to get too much into it because I don’t want to fuck it up/misrepresent the Nakhóda peoples but as far as I can tell the Nakhóda are related to the Lakota and Dakota peoples of the US, though most closely to the Nakhóta (Assiniboine) in the US. The Nakhóda claim Sioux ancestry, and their language is a dialect associated with Sioux.  That’s about all I feel comfortable saying without getting into extreme history that I can’t verify.

Still with me? I know that there’s a lot more to be said about this land and the peoples’ to who it belongs. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the history of this land, its peoples and colonization, let alone where the peoples are today. I feel like there is so much more to be said than where the reserve lands are and who signed the treaty but that’s the best I think I can do right now. Maybe I’ll do more research every time I come back and add to it. In the meantime I would just like to say that I acknowledge and thank the peoples’ who have allowed me to grow up on their territory, the Siksika, Piikani, Kainaa, Tsuu T’ina and Nakoda peoples.

I intend to do this when I go to Regina tomorrow as well since I spent the first half of my life there and know equally as little about that land, so watch for that in the next week or so. Maybe I’ll do the some better research about Montreal, I know that it is Mohawk, Six Nation territory but I can definitely know more.

I know this isn’t the usual crafts or rants I post, and believe me there will be more of that as well, but this is a personal blog and I find this way more important.