Archive for ‘Deep thoughts’

May 17, 2018

An interesting series of thoughts

by Janie Jones

So yesterday, I suddenly felt like running.  And not just a little trot to look like you are hurrying, but a full out urge to pump those stumpy little legs of mine as hard as I could.

It got me thinking.  Although it might sound scary, I actually do a lot of thinking.  Too much thinking, I’m sure, because it’s always rather fruitless thoughts that leave me worried, vexed or dissatisfied.  Mostly I’m always thinking how to manage on a limited budget, how to get everything done before I’m exhausted, or how to make it through the tedium of a job that makes me very miserable.  These are seldom lines of thought that lead to anything uplifting.

But in the past few days I’ve started applying for new jobs and ways to make it work to go back to school for my graduate degree.  I think, perhaps, all those annoying applications are making me feel a little better about myself and all the things I have done, have learned and can do.  Perhaps it’s good therapy.  Because for the last year and a half I’ve been trying to convince myself to be grateful for a job that is respectable but yet is contrary to every fiber of my being.

I like to make people happy, I like to nurture things and make everything feel good.  But my professional life revolves around seeing how much pain innocent little mice can withstand and then eventually putting them down and harvesting their organs for molecular assays.  It’s ghoulish, soul crushing work for me.  And, the longer I am here the less respect I have for myself and the work our lab does because, I think, it goes against my basic instincts.

Don’t get me wrong, I logically know that the sacrifice is going to help better understand how to treat people with chronic pain and diabetes.  But, as valuable as it is, it is really, really hard for me to do and not think about how it must feel to be a lab mouse.

Anyway, I also have begun to have some other thoughts about my boss, which I am getting more concerned about.  Normally I read people really well within a short period of time, but there are a few personality types that trick me.  I think hers is a passive aggressive type that has been messing with my brain, and causing me to lose confidence in myself and my perceptions.  Today was the light bulb day, when I finally accepted the suspicions which have been nagging at me.  A little thing happened which caused the doubt to dissipate.

I could still be losing my mind, but at least I once again am trusting myself.  I haven’t trusted myself in about 4 months.  I don’t know why I lost it initially, but, I do suddenly feel a sense of clarity I haven’t known in all that time.

So, while I still don’t know exactly how I’m going to effect a change in my circumstances, I now feel totally at peace with myself and confident that forging ahead in a new direction is the right thing and the necessary thing to do.

 

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April 10, 2018

Bit on the ass by the cold, dark side of practicality

by Janie Jones

First the apology.  This is where I bitch about my life.  I figure I haven’t’ done that much lately, so you might have forgotten who the real Janie Jones is.

I really don’t want to go to work today.  I’d much rather stay home and make cheesecake or paint my living room.

Instead I have to go give diabetic drugs to mice and take photos of their nests.  Which, I admit, is better than the days when I have to overdose them on morphine and poke them in their feet, or harvest their organs.  But, in any event, it’s not at all the kind of thing one gets a spring in their step over.

I knew there was a reason I spent 5 years of my life and an obscene amount of money on going to college to get a science degree: to still not like to get up and go to work while only barely make enough to live on.

The other day I was watching Flea Market Flip on Hulu.  I watched someone spend $825 on an old wrought iron sewing machine stand painted orange and turned into a table with 4 rickety-ass looking orange chairs.  Who makes this kind of money where they can buy over-priced shit like this and not bat an eye?  What do they do for a living?  Seriously, I need to know what kind of soul crushing job I need to get so I can have that kind of disposable cash.  I mean, I already have a soul crushing job, I at least could get paid stupid amounts of money if I’m going to feel miserable every day anyway.

Let’s just say this.  I do understand that animal models are the most significant and accurate way to test some stuff that will truly better our medical knowledge and I do like having drugs and medical procedures that are vastly improved this past few decades.  However, as hypocritical as it may sound, I personally did not want to be the person in the trenches.  So while logically I accept the dark necessity, I am not handling it well emotionally.

Add to that the frustration of poor health and getting up every day to go to work is a challenge.

Add to that the challenge of knowing that I can’t just quit because decent paying jobs are very hard to come by, and as morally and emotionally wearing as my job is, I have no where else to go that will be enough to pay my bills.  One wants to be grateful for what one has, but damn, sometimes it’s tough.

I have been thinking a lot about getting my master’s degree so hopefully I can get out of the mouse lab.  But, my original plan hit a financial snag.  If I don’t come up with a new way to fund my degree I don’t know if I will be able to make a go of it.  What ever I do, I have to be very careful not to sink more money I don’t have into another degree that might end me up no better than I am now.

I kinda hate to be that person that says I told you so, but this is exactly the reason why I didn’t do traditional college when I was a traditional college age person.  High risk and low reward.  At least for people like me, college doesn’t pay.  I’m smart enough to aspire but not cleverly genius or curiously driven enough to really excel.

And you know what really sucks?  I finally am in a home I like and living in a town I like and have good friends.  But 5/7ths of my week is becoming so miserable I can’t enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Dammit.  I better get my ass moving or I’ll be late.

 

 

 

 

January 6, 2016

Do you ever wonder?

by Janie Jones

So I have a class this spring where I have to read some historical fiction novels about epidemics. To hopefully ease into the spring semester, I read one of the books already. It is “Nemesis” by Philip Roth.

As literature goes, it was okay. Not great, but okay. I liked the first half pretty well, but then the author does something with the main character I did not particularly like. Whatever. It was a short book and read quickly.

What did stand out though was that throughout the novel, which is set in during WWII, the characters refer to Frigidaires. Not refrigerators, but Frigidaires. Now, where I come from we pronounce Frigidaire as fridge-id-air. However, though I am familiar with the brand, I don’t recall ever actually seeing a Frigidaire brand refrigerator in anyone’s home before. Weird? Yeah, probably.

I have often wondered why where I grew up people called refrigerators “fridges” despite the fact that it’s not really short for refrigerator. For as long as I can remember I would try to phonetically spell refrigerator as refridgerator even though there’s no “d” in refrigerator. Although I know this now, I still sometimes try to spell it that way. But, since reading this book I wonder if the slang “fridge” didn’t come from a bastardization of Frigidaire instead of refrigerator.

So, are you all wondering why the H-E double hockey sticks I am babbling on about this?

Good question.

I have no good answer. I’ve just been thinking about it.

November 11, 2015

You’re a Wonder, Wonder Woman

by Janie Jones

Wonder woman I wonder

 

 

November 7, 2015

Just call me Dr. Jones. Some day. Maybe.

by Janie Jones

So, today was a hallmark date.

I officially began my graduate school application process.  It took the better part of the day.  I had to dig up unofficial transcripts from high school and 4 different colleges I’ve attended over the years.  I had to fill out a ton of forms, write an essay about why I want to get my PhD, another about what qualities I would bring to the graduate school, and I had to send letters to people asking for recommendations.  Before I can complete my application I need to get my GRE scores and I need to get confirmation that the people who I ask for recommendations are willing to give them.  Then, I send $75.  If the graduate school thinks I am worthy, then I have to get all official transcripts from my high school and all the 4 colleges I’ve attended sent in.  After that, if my official transcripts confirm I’m still worthy, by April I should know if I will be allowed to torture myself for another 3-5 years in pursuit of my PhD.

It is sort of daunting.  I have to admit, there have been a lot of days in the past year or so when I have doubted whether I want to commit to more time in school.  I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  Most people say it’s tough.  Then again, calculus was tough.  Physics was tough.  I’ve been on the tough circuit this past couple of years.  I haven’t always performed as brilliantly as I’d have hoped, and I am quite tired.  As Forrest Gump would say, “I’m kinda tired.  I think I’ll go home now.”  But I have no home to go to, so I guess I might as well keep on running this race and, in just a few more years I could hold the ultimate academic title.  Knowing I am this close, I don’t think I could be satisfied with not going the full distance if the powers that be in the admissions office will let me in.

And I think they will.  I mean, I just have this feeling.  I hope it’s not bullshit, but I do think I could do well in graduate school.  I don’t know why I feel this way exactly.  I just really think this is what I’m supposed to do.  Sure, I don’t know everything.  I certainly haven’t maintained that A average.  But I have yet to give up, and science is 90% being too stubborn to quit even when you have no clue what you’re doing- yet.  That’s the beauty of being a scientific researcher.  You don’t have to know everything.  If you did, you wouldn’t have a job anymore.  Research in science is all about not letting what you don’t know stop you.  You learn along the way, and the more you learn, the more you realize there’s a ton you don’t know, and so you do more research.

And “we” don’t know a lot of things yet about Lyme disease and the bacteria responsible for it.  I can do a lot toward a doctoral dissertation studying them little bugs.

So, cross your fingers for me.  Pray I don’t have to blog 5 months from now that I’m a washed out, has been, PhD wannabe.

It would be way cooler if some day you could be telling all your friends you read the blog of the famous Dr. Jones who discovered a way to prevent Lyme Disease and cure chronic Lyme Disease back when she was a strung out, neurotic undergrad.

Heh.  Paging Dr. Jones….

August 27, 2015

Spudisims #21: Some people are different

by Janie Jones

The spud’s dad was telling me this story last night.

He’s a history buff, and collects figurines of the American Presidents.  He apparently has them all. The spud was looking at them the other day and apparently picked up Obama and said, “Daddy, you know, this President is different from the others.”

He apparently replied, “Yes, yes he is.”

“Daddy, why is he sooooo skinny?”

August 19, 2015

Pride, Responsibility and Integrity

by Janie Jones

I’m feeling a little unsettled today.

I got an email from someone at Stickittoyou U yesterday.  Apparently they want to interview me about my scholarships and grants.

This year I’m getting in excess of $14,000 of “free” money, meaning I don’t have to pay it back, for tuition and school related expenses.  Most are need-based, but some are merit based and have minimum GPA requirements.  These funds will cover about 90% of my tuition, books and fees.

Yes, it rocks.  Yes, I’m extremely grateful.  Yes, I do feel honored and lucky.  And yes, I’ve worked very hard to get the best grades I can to be worthy and have applied for up to 50 some scholarships for this year.  But, there is a part of me that is also very embarrassed and ashamed to not be able to support myself and my daughter without all this need based funding.

It feels very much like being interviewed and having my story pasted all over the school homepage and “other uses” is trying to make me seem like someone of distinction to be honored and looked up to when I have done nothing but find myself too poor to make my own way in the world and too under-educated to get the good paying jobs (ie, more than minimum wage) that would allow me to live an average middle class life I was accustomed to before “life” happened.

Sure, everyone needs a hand up once and a while and people and organizations who give out scholarship and grant money are trying to acknowledge and help us who are less fortunate better ourselves.  But, it seems to me if you have a proper sense of pride, self respect and integrity you should be celebrating the donors, not the people who have done nothing but accept their generosity.

While many people fail to see my side of this issue, awards ceremonies and interviews just drive home my shame in being unable to provide for myself.  It feels like celebrating my failure.  I have done nothing to deserve to be celebrated, yet.  Everyone, in my opinion should strive to better themselves, what I’m doing is not special, or unique.  It should be normal, average, and expected.

So, I do thank the donors.  It allows me to do what I have to in order to be a better person and one day again be able to provide for myself and my family.  But I’m not there yet.  Currently I’m a hot mess of stress, frustration, panic, fear, longing, exhaustion, and insecurity.  It’s too soon to see beyond the struggle.  I am grateful for the help but it’s way too soon to see anything in my situation for praise or admiration and I don’t want to be an object of pity either.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and go about my business.  Why is that so weird to the world?