August 3, 2020

The beauty of boring

by Janie Jones

Hello all.

Well, the new blog was a bust.

After keeping it up for a few weeks I realized I had run out of things to say, and it lost its allure.  Besides, I got to thinking, no one really could be interested in such boring posts anyway.  I mean, if I am bored with it how could other people not be?

So, I am back here.  Sort of.  Just wanted everyone to know that all is well.  COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be a huge issue in my corner of the world, so far at least, and my summer has been busy with the normal, boring stuff of life.  Which, is not a complaint.  It is actually a pleasure.

I have a new summer job which I enjoy very much.  I have great co-workers.  It’s work from home with flexible hours for the most part.  I wish it was a permanent thing, but it is only temporary.

I have been continuing to work in tick monitoring and doing some Lyme outreach.  Our group has been asked to make a community outreach video about our work, and the bulk of this task has fallen to me to coordinate.  Parts of that have been fun, but time consuming.  This year I have trained up several undergraduates so we can monitor tick population and activity on a weekly basis, which has given us a much better data set.  Earlier on in July two undergraduates and I also built six tick traps which we plan to use bi-weekly or monthly.  The traps are actually working pretty well, but are a bit of a pain in the butt as you have to buy dry ice for them, and then they need to be carried around to various locations, left for about 18 hours and then they need to be gathered back up and inspected.  Nothing worth doing was ever easy.

I was supposed to be working on writing my thesis, but have been distracted by a great many things (obviously not by compulsive blogging, however) and have made little or, to be honest, no progress on that front.

Now I am anxiously waiting to hear whether COVID-19 will keep schools closed this fall in my neck of the woods and whether I will lose my graduate school funding.  Fingers crossed that life stays boring!!!

The spud has been summering with her dad and step mom.  Apparently they did a little road trip and the spud took horseback riding lessons and finished her basic SCUBA certification.  Yay spud!  She is going to be 16 this December, so learning to drive will likely be next summer’s activity; unless we tackle that during the school year.  While it is a bit scary to think I will have to turn over the car keys, on the other hand, I am greatly looking forward to not having to chauffeur her around to things as much.

Leif turned 50 this July.  We talked about how to celebrate, but in the end we just stayed at home and grilled rib eyes and corn on the cob and ate our weight in watermelon.  I also made a gigantic punch bowl full of potato salad and a cheesecake with Key lime curd  and homemade whip cream topping, which melted because it was stupid hot that day.  I can assure you, however, it tasted quite fine just the same.

Because I have been too lazy to dig out the air conditioner units and put them in the windows, this summer we have melted ourselves through an Aliens movie marathon, all three seasons of Stranger Things and the first two seasons of MI5.  Leif is hot and heavy into Sharpe, but although it is refreshing to see Sean Bean not die, I am take-it-or-leave it.

I planted three variety of tomatoes, a cucumber, celery, kale, Swiss chard and potatoes.  The Swiss chard is kicking butt, but the others are not harvest-able yet.  That said, they are growing well.  I am eagerly awaiting a few dozen tomatoes to finally turn red, and my cucumber is loaded with flowers.  My taste buds are tantalized.

So.  As you can see, nothing terribly exciting going on.  But then again, a normal, boring life does have some of it’s own advantages and comforts.

Hope if you have had an exciting summer it has been for all the best reasons and not due to side effects or direct effects of the pandemic.

Best,

Janie

March 21, 2020

New times, new digs

by Janie Jones

Hello friends!

 

The Spud, Miss Pickle and I were out at the park today, it was a lovely day for a game of Sticks.  But if you are Miss Pickle, every day is a lovely day for sticks.

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It has been lovely hearing from many of you either in your blogs, comments or by email.  I am glad many of you are doing well.  My heart goes out to those who have been hit close to home, I send well wishes and will keep you close in my thoughts.

I have been thinking about life in our new reality and decided I want to document these days, because it feels like something good should come out of this.  So, I have opened up a new blog, something I have thought about doing for a long time.  And, I have decided to go transparent, no aliases for myself.

If you are interested in reading the real life and times of Janie Jones, drop me an email and I will send you my new address.

janiejones.greatwhitenorth@gmail.com

March 19, 2020

Keeping tabs

by Janie Jones

Hello everyone.

I just read a post from Sarsm, and it made me think outside of my four walls.  So many of you in the blogosphere are emotionally near and dear, and being as how you are spread out across the globe, please spare a minute occasionally and let us know how you are doing in the wake of COVID-19.

So far we have been fortunate as there have been no cases reported by authorities in my neck of the great white north.  However, our local officials are being proactive and schools have been shut down and many businesses are closing or reducing hours to limit large gatherings.  Many programs are popping up to help people obtain food and maintain wages if their workplace is closed.  Stickittoyou U has cancelled all in-person events and mandated all non-essential employees to stay home.  I am fortunate that the vast majority of my work can be done from home, so I am not financially affected at this time.

Our primary and secondary schools have also shut down.  For the time being all lessons are suspended, but schools are to resume at the end of the month using online learning methods, and it sounds like they will remain that way for the rest of the school year.  I don’t know what this will look like exactly for the spud, but I am glad she will not have to be riding the public bus to school every day.

So, the spud and I are doing our best to stay at home and have supplies delivered as much as possible.  Even if we were to catch the virus, we are probably not at high risk for complications beside severe flu symptoms.  But Leif has a lot of other complicating health issues, so we worry about him.  And we worry about our other friends and family members who are also in high risk groups or areas where the virus is hitting hard.

It has been a very surreal time, but we are trying to stay calm and do what we can to be as safe as possible.  I just wanted to check in with everyone out there.  Please let me know how you are doing!  I will try to check in regularly, and I hope you will find a way to pause in the midst of adjusting to the new normal yourselves and keep up with your bloggy buddies.

My best wishes that you, your family and friends all whether this crisis with good health.

Hugs,

Janie

 

 

 

December 16, 2019

Happy Christmas

by Janie Jones

Recently something made me think of this YouTube gem, so I dug it up.  I have been addicted to it this past week or so.

So, my gift to you all:

Be sure to watch all the way to the very end.  Which I don’t think I ever did when I discovered it back when it was first published.

If you want something more traditionally heartwarming, I highly recommend checking out Klaus available on Netflix.

Leif, the spud and I watched it yesterday and there wasn’t a dry eye on the sofa. I think it is officially my new favorite Christmas movie.  Well, okay, maybe I should say my favorite animated Christmas movie.  Nothing can top A Christmas Story.

Wishing you everything good this holiday season!

Janie Jones

October 16, 2019

Help a friend

by Janie Jones

Hello,

A friend of mine did the voice over for this short video (the link is listed below the photo).  Apparently, they are entered in a competition, so if you like the video, please vote for it.

Screenshot_2019-10-16 #fridaysforfuture.png

 

https://editfest.filmsupply.com/submissions/fridaysforfuture/oX2VUu?fbclid=IwAR1qU2lLlCCNO7xoizLsilYRa0WhG1oVFEOdehWgIehypiBnHx0mS70nla8

The voting link is at the bottom of the screen under the video.  It asks for your email, but I am told it is not to send you anything, just so you vote once.

 

 

October 12, 2019

In case you were wondering

by Janie Jones

Bloggers came, and we read them and we fell in love with some of them.  We were shocked or outraged or comforted.  We laughed.  We shared.  We felt connected.  Then, bloggers disappeared and it was like the lights went out.  Now the blogosphere feels like a ghost town in an old western, with tumbleweed spambots the only thing rambling through the comments.

Do you ever wonder what happened to them?  Some of them I really miss.  Like dear friends who move away and then never call.  You hope their lives have moved on to bigger, better, happier things.

In case any of you were wondering what happened to Janie Jones, for the most part I think I am moving on to bigger, better, happier things.

For those of you who have followed me over the years I don’t know if you’d really recognize me anymore.  I don’t always recognize myself.

Who am I now?  I don’t exactly know, I have a lot of my journey ahead of me yet, but I do feel like I’ve entered a strange, marvelous new landscape and I feel like this new landscape may be a reflection of a new me.

I think, for the first time I can remember in a really, really long time, I can manage.

I finally got laid off from the mouse lab.  And I was happy about that.  It was a huge relief.  I got offered two graduate assistant jobs so I could go back to get my master’s degree, and I love these jobs.  They pay almost as much as I made in my full time job, and I got two good sized scholarships, so I don’t have to pay for any of my education expenses this first year.  I have a third job working for a friend, I don’t like that job so much, but it almost makes up the gap in my pay from my full time job and I can kind of do it when ever I want.  All-in-all the classes aren’t too stressful, but they are sometimes a challenge  as the new material is very different and less precise than the material I studied as an undergrad.  I think in the end I will do well, and I hope that I will have more employment opportunities when I’m done.  So, it’s seeming pretty good.

The spud is here with me, she’s going to a small charter school for high school that has a heavy focus on the fine arts.  She is apparently loving her ornithology class and is in the school play this fall.  She is doing great with riding the public transportation bus, and has some friends who she coordinates with to take the same bus in the mornings.  She’s a teen now, and sometimes a bit too saucy for her own britches, but that’s to be expected of the age.

So, that’s the new Janie’s Place.  It’s still busy and still a work in progress, but it seems a much happier, manageable mess.

Hope all is well with you, my bloggy buddies!

January 15, 2019

Hello 2019!

by Janie Jones

Greetings!

As expected, when the Christmas and New Years holidays arrived they flew past in a blur of happiness and indulgence.  I can hardly tell you where the first two weeks of January has gone, but my house is still stuck in December.  All the holiday decorations are still up.  I had thought to start the de-Christmasification last weekend, but Leif cut his hand up pretty good, he needed six or seven stitches, and spent the weekend at my place and it was too hard to resist sitting like a slug watching movies and YouTube videos all weekend with him.

But despite the sloth, I am feeling inspired to do a lot of things.  I have many plans in the works.  First, but not least, I am scheduled to finally finish wallpapering the upstairs hall starting this weekend.  And, there’s a 15% off sale at my home improvement store of choice to stock up on any supplies I need, so the Universe is giving me the thumbs up to get off my ass and get the ball rolling.  It will get the same treatment I gave the living room last May, however, a new paint color will be applied.  That green-grey never, ever pleased me.

I hope once that is done I will move on to a few other home improvement projects.  I don’t know why it has been such a hurdle to get things moving on some of the stuff I’ve been wanting to do, especially considering I have most of the supplies already on hand.  But, in a way, once the biggest projects wrapped up and the house actually started to feel like home, I have just had this undeniable urge to enjoy and relax and be without always doing.

Anyway.  I am still with the Mouse Lab.  I still don’t like it much.  I still am working on borrowed time.  Meaning, I still don’t know if I will be employed in the Mouse Lab much past May/June, whether I like working in the Mouse Lab or not.  If the bosslady gets a new grant by then, I’m told I will be kept on and given my long over due raise.  If no new grants are awarded by then, I could very well be sent on my merry way.  So, I am trying not to panic while keeping an ear to the ground and an eye on the horizon in hopes I will find a new science-y job that doesn’t require Mouse Work.  As I really don’t want to be in this particular field of science anymore, whether I’m let go or my position is re-funded almost feels irrelevant to me.  In fact, I’d almost be glad if it wasn’t.  Almost.  As one can imagine it would be considerably better to find a new job sooner rather than later in any case.  Unfortunately, good paying science-y jobs seem about as easy to find as a unicorn and about as easy to catch as a greased pig.

In the meanwhile I am still trying to figure out grad school.  That has been a huge disappointment, as trying to figure out how to pay for it without it taking an impossibly long time to complete or going broke returning full time to get my degree “in a hurry” continues to leave me stymied.  Stymied, for sure but not so much as to give up entirely.  I’m thinking of trying some other programs or going in other directions which offer better financial aid packages.  Just to have options.  And, I suppose if I get laid off from Mouse Lab and I have yet to find the illusive Unicorn Lab or my greased pig catching skills fail me, going back to school full time might be better than being unemployed.  After all, it’s one more option….

Finally, the Spud is supposedly going to come home for High School next fall.  We shall see how this plays out.  I am in the midst of negotiations with how to transport her stuff, what stuff to transport (really she has a full bedroom of stuff already so all she really needs is her clothes), and where to enroll her.  The local public school or a charter school.  Which ever the case, I’m afraid she’s going to have to start growing up quickly.  I don’t have a partner to be home to make sure she’s getting off to the bus on time.  If she misses the bus, I can’t just leave work and go home and get her.  I really hope she’s going to be up to the challenge.  We shall see.

So, there’s a lot of balls in the air in these parts, but despite it all I am currently feeling fairly hopeful 2019 will be a good year.

Hope 2019 is treating you all well!