Just learned that today is World Lab Animal Day.
World. lab animal. day.
What a sad world I live in that there is such think at World Lab Animal Day.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how deeply I feel about animal welfare. I do not think we’re all that special that countless lives may be sacrificed so we can find new ways of healing ourselves.
What we are is really good with weapons. And we’re bigger. And we are amoral. And very fond of ourselves too. We think so highly of ourselves we don’t even flinch at the suffering, the torture we inflict on lab animals every day.
Being accepted at graduate school was a big deal for me. It was the culmination of a life long dream and hard work. And yet, I took a whole year and a half between acceptance and start.
Why? Because I would not settle for just any lab for my research. I would NOT do animal testing and that was final.
Oh, there were many interesting lines of research, many good labs. But they all tested in animals. Rats, mice, monkeys, rabbits.
Not a chance I would compromise my values.
You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I found a lab that not only did amazing research, but they did it on human cells in culture!
And! [for those who are in science] Because it was done in human cells, it was actually considered in vivo research instead of in vitro. Double win!
It was a short stint, my time as a graduate student. In the end, I did not become doctor doctor Petrilli *
But I will always have the satisfaction that, when the test came, I proved myself worthy of my ideals. I can hold my head up and walk away proud
Who likes to get stuff on the snail mail?
Real stuff, that is, not ads from local businesses and credit card companies.
If you do, you’re in luck cause you can get a shiny old-fashioned letter hand written by yours truly!
If you don’t mind giving me your snail mail address, of course.
I was supposed to do this a month ago.
Well, it goes back further than that, actually. Ever since I heard of Ziggy Shortcrust and her lovely project of Illustrated Letters, I’ve been wanting to do the same simply because I enjoy handwriting and I don’t do much of it these days.
These days I’m too overwhelmed to blog.
Although life in Windsor seems to be getting to be the way life is in any other place, I just can’t shake the sadness.
Satchie is still missing so that is a big contributor to it.
Also people never seem to amaze me. There is no limit to the level of disappointment people will give you. Plus I am easily disappointed too. Not precisely a good combination. But thing is, I am always honest. What you see is what you get, there are no surprises with me. I don’t put up a nice facade to make people like me only to let them discover the true me months later. And very stupidly, very naively, I think everybody is the same. I take everything at face value and therefore most of the time I end up hitting a wall. Awesome.
Also, still not ready to tell the account of the winter months. The pain is still to near.
But, two weekends ago, I gather enough courage to try and go to the States for the first time since that blasted day last December…. and they let me in! So I was in Lansing for 6 days.
The border agent was very clear that that doesn’t mean I’m good to cross every time. There is still a chance some time or another they will send me back again. And they’ll hassle me every single time. But it is progress nonetheless.
On the other hand, Spring is here! Soon there will be flowers all around. One thing about Windsor is that it is much warmer than Ottawa. That’s good.
Hope everybody is enjoying spring already or that it soon gets to your corner of the world. I may not visit your blogs but I still think of all of you.
Just to show you that I haven’t forgotten how to smile…
Today is the birthday of the super-amazing-kickass-ridiculouslygorgeous-insanelytalented-businesswoman daughter of mine.
And for the third time in life, we’re in a different city.
The first time, she was 11 and I was in Bogota, for my Molecular Biology internship after finishing med school.
The second time, she was between ages 13 – 16 and I was here in Canada while she remained in Colombia with her brother, waiting for her Canadian papers.
This time around, we are both in Canada but I am in Windsor and she is in Montreal/Ottawa. I just got off the phone with her. She told me she’s sad we’re not together on her birthday.
I am sad too
I went to bed last night thinking I was not going to be able to jump on her bed while singing the happy birthday song loudly to wake her up like I always did. Or put her birthday card and present by her coffee cup (full with delicious Colombia coffee I had just made for her, of course) on the table for her to find when she came to have her birthday breakfast.
I know that this is how life is supposed to be. Children grow up and then they leave the nest.
I know I was very lucky to be able to do it for so long.
I know she needs to spread her wings and I am very happy she’s doing it now.
In a way, I am happy I am here because if I were still in Ottawa, she’d still be with me and I know I was holding her back. You see, even though she had had her own place for a while, which is normal and healthy, she had moved back in with me when I got very sick back in 2012 so she could help with my recovery. Sure, we had great times together. We traveled, we laughed, we cooked – okay, fine, SHE cooked and I ate. We watched movies. We worked together. We entertained friends. And I did get better.
But she’s a grown up woman now and she needs to live her life.
So, happy birthday daughter. I know you’ll have a wonderful time in Montreal today. Laugh. Drink. Eat cake. Dance. Savour every moment because life is but an instant and in the end, all we have is our memories and the love we gave and received in return!
Warning: what follows is highly politically incorrect. If you are easily offended by either religious jokes, by swearing like a sailor or both, you should stop reading here. You’ve been warned. Please don’t give me crap on the comments for my usage of foul language or my disrespect for religion. Thank you.
Yes, yes. I do have a very weird sense of humour. I also have a very special relationship with [my] god and religion(s).
What you are about to read, happened in its entirety, all via IMs. The American side of Geek Squared has given me permission to reproduce it here. This is just to show you the kind of grief he has to put up with. Bless the geek.
GeekGirl: Ha! La senza has $4 St pat’s panties. Oh sorry. St panty’s
GeekBoy: That’s funny
GeekBoy: And now I’m picturing you in them – not good for my productivity
GeekBoy: So here’s a study in contrasts. [some school’s crap. One teacher’s failure to accommodate one of the Sidlets’ special needs. Lack of sympathy for said Sidlet’s struggles. Another teacher’s outstanding and compassionate approach to it.]
GeekGirl: Oy. are they not compelled by law to give accommodations? And what does the principal have to say about that?
GeekBoy: I’m going to ask those very questions next opportunity I get/make.
GeekGirl: Be angry, though. Just like I need to be less angry and confrontational, you need to work on being more angry and confrontational. Don’t be sad for her. Be angry at those who discriminate and stigmatize her. And spit it on their faces. Also, give the [understanding, professional teacher] a hug for me
The beauty of sending them to a stupid private school is that as a parent you have A LOT MORE SAYING than at a public school. Use that to your advantage. Fuck being meek. The meek will inherit shit
um… what was that bit about me being less angry and confrontational?!! um.. er… yeah, that
GeekGirl: Anyway, didn’t Jesus himself say he hadn’t come to bring order and peace or some shit like that? Me neither. They sent me for the complete opposite [of order and peace]. Jeez. Can you imagine my judgement meeting with God?
God: Um, yeah, what the hell was up with all that quoting of my son for your shit disturbing purposes?
Claudia: Er… yeah, about that…. wasn’t it hilarious, though?
God: [quietly smiles Claudia]
GeekBoy: Lost my connection!
GeekGirl: Ugh. Don’t tell me you missed all my fine jokes
GeekBoy: Hopefully I’ll be there for your judgment
GeekGirl: Oh, It’ll be a riot
GeekBoy: Either to help your cause or to watch
GeekGirl: Alternate ending
[Both God and Claudia roll on the floor laughing their asses off]
GeekGirl: Or you know, God Smites me, then he resuscitates me and say, just kidding, and then we both proceed to roll on the floor…
Holy cow, I’m on a roll today
I have to blog that shit
GeekBoy: You really are. Was just going to say that
And that my friends, is business as usual at chez Geek Squared! Poor GeekBoy.
I’ll leave you with this: Purim, of all the religious holidays, my all time favorite.
PS: I know some people take their religion very seriously. I don’t mean any disrespect to them. I firmly believe that everybody is free to believe and live in whatever way makes them happy. Me, I don’t take myself seriously at all.
I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.
Geek & Sundry, a page I follow on Facebook, posted this picture, which I found very disturbing.
Naturally, me being me, I immediately posted this:
Um… How is killing innocent animals just to see how they work inside geeky?
To which someone replied:
Science is geeky. Biology is science. Dissection teaches about how things live (biology). Therefore dissection is geeky.
And that, my friends, makes me very sad. Yes, you can say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one (on top of Spanish, English and Italian, I am perfectly fluent in movies and songs quotes). But how is it even remotely possible that people can still think dissection ==> science ==> geeky.
As you can imagine, I had to reply.
1. It irks me to think about all those “Natural philosophers” as they called themselves, doing the vivisections depicted here. Yes, way back when “scientists” opened the poor animals when they were still alive in order to see how bodies work. These knitted animals are a perfect representation of the original illustrations on old biology [zoology, back then] books, which of course were faithful reproductions of what the illustrator saw on the tray. These knitted reproductions are so perfect they even have the pins to hold the animals down.2. I am a medical doctor and a molecular biologist. I am as scientific as scientists come. Science runs in my blood. I was a geek and a nerd way before being a geek and a nerd became cool. And I am telling you. Dissection doesn’t teach biology. Dissection teaches torture and murder. Why is it okay to kill animals just to show kids how things live? Anything that needed to be learned, has been learned. There is no need to kill any more poor animals. Even as a seventh grade student I refused to kill any frogs in my biology class because anything I needed to learn I could learn it from the books. As a med student, I refused to kill a dog for my Physiology lab. Again, anything I needed to learn was already in the books and we also now have computer animations to teach new students.I apologize if I appear patronizing or confrontational. I don’t have anything against you. But I have everything against animal cruelty. I am all for ethical treatment of animals. Even for my PhD research, I chose a lab and a project that did not do animal research. And I am telling you – and anyone else that cares to listen: Dissection is NOT geeky, says the geekiest of all the geek girls on the planet!
Had the worst nightmare ever. The viciousness of it is mind-blowing.
I was trapped in it for a long long time too.
I had to fight for what felt like hours just to wake up and that is not even what made it vicious. The horror of it is unspeakable and as such I can not, will not utter the words.
I now lie in bed.
I am tired and disoriented but I don’t dare close my eyes. I can feel I am not free of the clutches yet. The room is still moving and I still feel like I am floating.
The bedding was soaking wet when I woke up, of course. It is still damp and all that made my hips very cold so I am in more pain now but I don’t mind. Perhaps the pain will keep me anchored in the awake world.
I am still terrified, nonetheless.