April 22, 2014

Global Selfie Earth Day

by Janie Jones

Today, being Tuesday, I was on campus all day long.  And I really do mean all day.  From 7am to 7:30 pm.  Because Leif was not at home today, that meant Rupert would have been left alone for over 13 hours.  I couldn’t do that to the guy, so he rode along to school with me.  I have a 5 hour break between my morning classes and my evening class, so we had a little picnic.  And, despite being at school all day, I did have time to play along with Global Selfie Earth Day.   Unlike Tilly Bud at The Laughing Housewife, who invited all her readers to play along, I didn’t make a spiffy sign.  Instead, I got licked in the face.

me n rupert selfie

If you’d like to see Tilly’s Selfie, visit her post at The Laughing Housewife.  Happy Earth Day!  Now, I’m very tired and am off to bed….


April 21, 2014

What I learned last week #13

by Janie Jones

So, we continue to study plants in biology.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m not much interested in plant biology, but this week there were a few interesting trivia bits about fruits.  Many of you may have long been aware that fruit is not just apples and berries and bananas.  It is actually the seed carrying part of the plant.  So, wheat grain is a fruit, almonds are fruit, pumpkins are fruit, tomatoes are fruit, even those annoying prickly burrs that get stuck in your dog’s hair are fruits- albeit ones we don’t eat.

What most people don’t know is that what you commonly think of as a berry is probably not a berry at all.  Raspberries are not berries.  Not in the scientific sense of the word.  Grapes are berries, tomatoes are berries, peppers and blueberries are berries.  Strawberries, though, are not.

What most of us grow up thinking of berries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, are compound aggregate fruits.  This means that each “berry” is actually a cluster of multiple fruits.  Those little brownish “seeds” on the outside of the strawberry?  Not actually the seeds.  They are actually the fruit, and the seeds are within.

And, pineapples, bananas and figs are actually a single fruit that requires multiple flowers to grow together to form the fruit.

Bizarre?  A bit.

You know those apples, the sweet delicious fruit that if you eat one a day will keep the doctor away?  Not actually the fruit.  The part we make into pie, applesauce or just eat right off of the core is actually all parts of the flower.  The fruit is only the bit of the core around the seeds that we normally throw away.

You too can be a plant taxonomist.  Use this dichotomous key I had to make for a biology project in a previous class to identify a variety of fruits in the image below.  Have fun!  You just know I did….

Fisher_dichotomous key fruit picture

Dichotomous Key-Family: Fruit

1a. Skin on fruit is textured…………………. skip to 2

1b. Skin on fruit is smooth…………………..skip to 6


2a. Leaves are present on fruit……………… skip to 3

2b. Leaves are absent from fruit……………. skip to 4


3a. Leaves on fruit are stiff and pointy……..Ananas comosus

3b. Leaves on fruit are floppy and rounded…Fragaria ananassa


4a. Fruit has a hollow center…………………Rubus idaeus

4b. Fruit is solid…………………………….. skip to 5


5a. Skin color is brown………………………Actinidia deliciosa

5b. Skin color is not brown………………….Prunus persica


6a. Shape of fruit is mostly spherical……….. skip to 7

6b. Shape of fruit is not spherical……………skip to 8


7a. Fruit is hard and firm (does not squish)…Malus domestica

7b. Fruit is soft and springy (easily squished).Vitis vinifera


8a. Fruit is long and skinny………………….Musa sapientum

8b. Fruit is not long and skinny……………..Averrhoa carambola

April 18, 2014

Math Joke

by Janie Jones

I don’t know where this originated, and I definitely can’t take credit for it.  I saw it posted on a door on campus yesterday and it tickled me, even if it is a math joke:


math joke

April 14, 2014

What I learned last week #12

by Janie Jones

Coil pots ROCK!  But camera batteries suck.  I was going to take photos of all the new pots I threw on the wheel, ’cause I made some really nice ones finally, but my camera battery was dead.  So I tried to take a few photos with my cell phone but this was the only one that turned out.


My coil vase rocks!

I will miss pottery class, there’s only 4 more class sessions, it’s been a lot of fun.  But, I’ve met my project quota to pass the class so I’m also glad that it’s almost over.  It was a night class and it really put me in a bind this semester.  Janie just don’t do nights.

I’m getting pretty sick of all  my classes this semester, biology has shifted into studying plant anatomy, which I find incredibly dull.  I am getting so burned out on calculus homework I’ve ceased caring about much of anything and dread the mountain of homework we have thrust upon us daily.  It’s only my inhuman level of duty and the absolute fear of having to take this course over again that keeps me showing up to class and even trying to slog through the homework.  Not that I’m retaining much.  But I started out the semester strong with an 88% at midterm so hopefully that will carry me through so I can at least get my C so I can put this nightmare behind me.  And, poor o-chem.  I’m so overwhelmed by calculus and am so far behind in my study time for o-chem that I’m only sitting at an 83% going into our final unit.  This does not please me.  I need to pass calculus.  I NEED to PASS calculus.  But I will be so crushed if doing so ruins my 0-chem grade.  O-chem is not that hard, it just requires a lot of memorization that I don’t have time for and that is why it is so very sad.  It would be different if it was as hard as calculus.  And, my o-chem teacher doesn’t give any points for any work you do except 4 tests, a final and your lab reports.  Would be nice if we could get some other points to buffer our grade.  C’est la vie.

So, on account of having little to say that doesn’t sound negative, I’m going to borrow a topic and refer you to a link from a blog I read.  It’s by Jess, and it talks about the difference between cement and concrete.  I found it interesting, it fits my topic of what I learned last week, and it reminded me of a funny incident from my childhood.  I’ve kept thinking about it all weekend, so I decided to share my comment there here, for the benefit of you who don’t normally visit Scratching to Escape, but I recommend you take a peek at his post first, so my comment makes more sense.

I did not know that. I haven’t given the difference between concrete and cement much thought since I was a wee small kid-butt. I remember being in a car with the family and being stopped, stuck in a particularly bad patch of traffic where there was some construction or road work or something. It was a long, long time ago and the details are foggy but I remember seeing some kind of truck with a huge yellow colored barrel thing tilted to one side. The only frame of reference in my limited kid-butt experience was of the Plochman’s Yellow Salad Mustard jars that are yellow barrel shaped. Not realizing I was speaking out loud I said, “Wow, that’s one big mustard truck!” My dad said, while my mom laughed, “That’s a cement mixer.” And, pretty much from that day forward I assumed that cement was the “liquid” form of concrete.

For some reason this one incident, and a wonky sense of kid logic, stuck with me and formed my whole life long understanding of concrete and cement.  At least until I read Jess’ post.  The mind moves in mysterious ways.

17 more days of Calculus.

April 9, 2014

I am from France (and other random weirdness)

by Janie Jones

I have switched from the bulky wool parka to my lighter weight fleece lined wind breaker for my pre-dawn rambles with Rupert.  This particular jacket has a very stiff windbreaker material and thus, when the hood is on it does not “settle” down on to my head as much as perches precariously until a stiff wind blows it off.  So I pull the drawstrings relatively snug to get it to hug my head.  Thanks to a series of lovely days sporting 40 something degree highs, most of the snow has melted off the streets, and walking along this morning under a street lamp with my hood snugged around my face I noticed my shadow cruising along in front of me.  You know, that hood made me look like I was a dead ringer for Prymaat Conehead.  For some reason this struck me as funny.

You know what else I find funny, but have been too busy to mention?  Last summer when I picked up extra hours working on the campus of Local College, the staff secretary made a door placard for the new office for the alumni association.  I have no idea how many times I walked past it and never really looked at it.  Then suddenly one day about a month or two ago I came out of the bathroom (directly across the hall from said office) and noticed for the first time in 6 or more months that it actually said, Alumi Association.  Next time I saw the secretary I mentioned it to her and she laughed as I was the first person, including herself who made the sign, to notice.  It’s still hanging there misspelled.

Yesterday was ceramics class.  I spent about 5 or 6 hours glazing pots.  I didn’t even work with wet clay and today my hands feel like sandpaper they are so dry.  It is vaguely disconcerting to hear them scratch against the key pad as I type.  On account of working with clay and it drying out my hands, I have been going through much more hand cream.  I buy this generic brand similar to Eucerin.  It comes in large “vats” and they generally last me a long, long time.  It’s probably been at least 3 years since I bought one last.  I tend to buy a couple tubs at once to have them in my room, the bathroom, the kitchen, etc.  Well I stopped in to Walmarz over the weekend to stock up finally being low again.  I kid you not they doubled in price in the last few years.  Doubled.

Off to school.  4 more weeks.

Happy Hump Day.

April 7, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #11

by Janie Jones

Actually, I learned some really cool things about math during my “research” for the paper I have to write for Calculus class.  I enjoyed reading books on math much more than I ever enjoyed actually “doing” math.  I amassed enough interesting ideas to write several papers, but alas, I don’t have time to follow up on all these topics, so in true harried student style, I picked the one easiest to follow and threw some words on a page.

You know what else I learned?  It’s really, really hard to write anything good when you are limited to 600-700 words.  That’s about 2 and a third pages double spaced with the format requirements given.  Just giving proper transitions to citations eats up a lot of space, and leaves you with very little real estate to do much beyond a lame book report.  As much as I don’t have time to write a lengthier paper, it just seems so half-assed it’s like why bother.  But I remind myself, it’s worth 25 points, that’s half a test grade.

Anyway, I decided to do a very brief overview of Fibonacci Numbers and the idea that math is the “fiber of our lives” even if we don’t know it.  I am thinking of posting it after it’s been turned in, so if you should ever be interested in reading it, I’ll let you know when it’s available.

In biology we’ve moved on to study plants.  I’m not much interested in plants on a biological level, so I’m not much looking forward to the last few weeks of class.

In chemistry we had a very fortunate happenstance.  We ran out of reagent and our lab was canceled last week.  Which is awesome, because I am so woefully behind in Chem.  We have a test on Wednesday over the last 3 chapters, which I’ve only read the first and half of the second.  So, now that my math paper is written I’ll have to really devote some time to catching up and hope Calc teacher doesn’t get crazy with the Calc homework in the next few days.

And, finally in ceramics we’re down to the last 2 or 3 classes to work with wet clay.  Leif has made over 20 beautiful bowls/pots/cups.  I did manage a better showing for myself last week, but forgot to take pictures.  I have so much glazing to do now, I don’t know that I’ll have much time for making more pieces.  We will see.  And I will endeavor to remember to get pictures!

Now, I’m down to just 4 more weeks!  I can almost start the countdown in days….


April 6, 2014

Dare I to Dream

by Janie Jones

That spring is springing?  This is the weather right now:

Weather reportWe are expecting a high of 51 and sunny.

Leif wants me to drive out for the day.  I should be doing laundry.  I should be studying chemistry.  I should be doing calculus.  But.  It is a lovely day.  It does seem a shame to stay inside….