Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New Job!

Thought I should post and update you all, since I've come to the end of my contract at the Psychiatry Department. I was trying to decide what to do - the Department provides a few months of Bridging Funding for people who expect to be funded from another grant but need to be paid in the meantime. There's the possibility of another grant coming in here (we find out in March) but for various reasons I was pretty sure I should move on.

I was chatting to a post-doc in the Primary Care Department at a seminar in January. She was leaving, but couldn't say enough good things about the department, the lovely people, flexible working etc. So I went back to the office and found three jobs posted in the Primary Care dept and applied for all of them. Got interviews for all three (plus one more at Oxford and one in Birmingham), but as it happened the first interview went really well and they called that afternoon and offered me the job. It's another two-year contract and I'm pretty unclear on what it will involve, but think it might be a nice change. The focus is health research in diabetes and other long-term conditions, but not sure what to expect of the actual job at all.

I've had the letter of offer, so hopefully it is a done deal! Just waiting for the official contract. One more month at the current post, so am running off my feet trying to get all the final reports done (and a lot of grant outputs - despite my best efforts a fair chunk of them will be finished at the last minute).

Del's work is going well - commute is pretty long (Oxford to Leamington Spa, so about an hour) but good people and a decent place to work. Nothing else too exciting going on - so far the house is holding together, knock wood, barring some tiles falling off the room and water getting into the attic and top of the bathroom.

I'm off to Dublin today to give a talk at a conference about parents' experiences after a child's self-harm. First time ever I've been offered travel expenses, so feel like a real researcher! Too bad I'm leaving the field in five minutes and starting over on a totally different topic.

We've booked our tickets for Halifax, May 3 - 16th. Hopefully new job won't me taking off for two weeks right at the beginning! Hoping to do some travelling around but haven't booked anything yet.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Puerto Vallarta etc.

Lisa and I spent last week in PV, in all-inclusive. We agreed we'd like to do a 10-day stay sometime. The sun was hot, the food was good, and the guests were quite something. Many Loud North Americans with Sagging Tattoos. These were the people who tended to Drink All Night and look Very Puffy the next morning. Some groups of families, and maybe a wedding party? Lots of cute quite old people.

Lots of loungers on the beach, but apparently people woke up at 6:30 am to run down and "save" loungers for them and several friends. At the last place, there was a sign saying that any chair left unattended for 30 minutes could be taken by another guest. But we tried to take a couple of loungers that had been left for an hour, maybe two, and got into a small disagreement with a young woman, and then a stand-off with an old woman. The latter was wearing a head/neck covering and fingerless gloves on the beach, and Lisa suspected she had had "work" done. The staff member asked us afterwards why we gave in to the woman and let her have the seats back, and another old woman told us that the chair saver was being outrageous.

I didn't sleep super well for the first few days. But I did feel like I had a really solid break from work.

Favourite sighting: Trump pinata, being painted for smashing.

In other news, I am going to travel to Baltimore for a work conference. Roxane Gay is a speaker (who is quite outspoken about politics and feminism) and so it will be interesting to hear what she has to say about the Cheeto. She also pulled her book from Simon & Schuster, as they also offered a publishing deal to Milo Yiannopolous (sp?) one of those white supremacist Breitbart creeps. But his book is canceled now because he spoke about pedophilia in a positive way. ick.

Right before the wedding, going to Vancouver to do some training for a prison instructor program! This is very exciting to me. Seven days of training, two of them inside an institution with inmate facilitators. I'm doing this training with my friend Tracy, who is a prof at UA, and we are hoping to start a program at the university where classes take place at the prison. It's a program called Inside/Out (US based), and there's a Canadian version called Walls to Bridges. I think I will learn tons!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Still winter

I see people are starting to come out of hibernation and post occasionally. I have been absent because I thought there was not much to write about.
I was going to say that it has been quiet here since Christmas, but actually we have been doing a few things. We went to the city to see Blue Rodeo, stayed at the Westin for a really good price. I like being downtown. The concert was really good. Jude had been house sitting for Grace and Dallyn so we picked her up to go back with us. The next week we were in town for the Citadel. We stayed at Grace’s that time and heard all about their trip to Las Vegas and New York.
Also got to see John Wort Hannam out at Grandview Stage.
In between we tried to stay warm and shoveled. We were also happy to hear lots of good news, Grace and Dallyn getting engaged, as well as Henry and Ally, and Betty Anne's daughter Kate. Her son Matthew and Kaley had a baby girl. And so the world carries on.
It’s been cold and snowy but the last few days have felt like spring. Very enjoyable but underneath we all know that winter is not over.
Geoff’s shoulder has been healing well. We went to see the surgeon last week and she is happy with his progress. He is diligent with his exercises and may not even have to go to physio. And he is happy to be able to drive again. I had to go to two 10 per cent days but now I don’t have to any more.
Courtney was away for a week and a bit on a course so we saw a lot of the boys, which was fun.
Geoff came across a really good airfare to New York last week and we briefly considered going there in June. I soon came to my senses, I don’t really want to spend any time in that crazy country. Every day I open the news wondering what the tangerine one has been up to while I was sleeping.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reacquainting Myself with Snow

All in all I lived on the West Coast for fifteen years, and although most winters (especially in Victoria and Vancouver) had a couple snow days, for the most part I lived a snow free life.  Snow was a lovely treat at Christmas, not a daily fact.  Oh, how the tables have turned.

Up until this week the snow hadn't been bad.  We'd had a few big dumps, but they were mostly one day things, and the weather tended to get warm, so there wasn't much accumulation.  But we're in the midst of our third storm in the last week, and the drifts are considerably taller than I am at this point!

The first storm last week wasn't bad - a bit of snow, a little wind.  The blizzard on Monday was something else though - huge winds, and a lot of snow.  My driveway had at least three feet across most of it.  When the snow finally stopped on Tuesday I started to shovel, but was saved part way though by a neighbour with a snow blower.  I can see why people have them here.

No sooner had we dug ourselves out from the blizzard then today's storm rolled in.  It's more snow and more wind, and the driveway is pretty deep already.

The infrastructure here around snow is really good.  My street is a side street, but we still see plows going down it regularly.  The town has small plows that do the sidewalks, which is a mercy since I have drifts and snow banks from the plows on my sidewalk that would be nearly impossible to clear by hand.  There's always lots of sand and salt on the roads too which is good.

We normally close the office for snow days - when schools are closed, we close too.  Today is the third snow day this week - and we had two last week as well.  I walked down to the church, since Sunday is coming no matter what the weather.  I'm not sure I feel like a Maritimer yet, but living through this snow makes it clear I don't live on the west coast!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hot Springs

Richard and I went to Nakusp this weekend and hot springed. Weather and roads were good, and good time had by all. Except at 0200 on Friday night, the people in the room next to us started yelling, couldn't really figure it out, though at one point the woman said call 911, then all was quiet. No bodies next am, and she sounded drunk. I thought, should I get up and call, but couldn't put myself together enough, and Richard slept through it.
Springs were somewhat busy, but not too bad. Some Swedish skiers were there, and I thought, odd why would you leave Sweden on winter to come to Canada in winter?

Mom cat sat for us. I kept checking Facebook, to make sure she was liking things, so we knew she was alive. Sebastian doesn't have an account, but figured mom would let us know if he got into trouble.

Al and I go to Mexico on Friday! Really, having a warm vacation to look forward to makes winter much better. Today is sunny and we still have quite a bit of snow, though Nakusp has an awful lot. I think a snowblower would be necessary there. This winter I have also reflected on how having a corner lot means a whole lot more shovelling. All mom has is the drive way, but we've also got a lot of sidewalk. Something to consider next time we move.

We booked flights to Halifax. Going a week before wedding and week after. We want to go to PEI and Cape Breton if possible.