October 12, 2015

Very strange thing to dream…

by Janie Jones

Last night I had a dream where I went to the veterinarian’s office to schedule an appointment for Rupert to get his rabies shot.  While I was there my Biochemistry professor gave me the shot instead.

Then I went to class and everyone was getting rabies shots.

Afterward, we all had these amazing cheeseburgers.  I kept eating burger after burger thinking I should stop because I was going to make myself sick, but I never felt full so I ate until my alarm went off.



October 9, 2015

I’ve been negligent

by Janie Jones

It suddenly occurs to me that I never shared the big news with ya’ll.  At first I waited to get some good photos, then school got crazy, as it always does, and apparently it slipped my mind.

Anyway.  Drum roll please:


No, you aren’t seeing double.

Leif adopted a new dog a few weeks ago.  Now he has a brace of white German shepherds.

Say hello to Vince:


He’s about 18 months and a total sweetheart.  Who doesn’t love a new dog?



Vera is in black, Vince in orange.  His previous owner had to move out of state and couldn’t bring him with.  Sad for them, but happy for Vince, ’cause now he gets to live the farm life.  And, he has a live in girlfriend.


“Um, Dog-dad.  There is a boy lying on my living room rug.  What is he doing here?  Surely you’re not going to let him stay?”

All joking aside, they seem to make a happy pack.  Apparently they play all day.  They run, frolic, wrestle, and constantly try to one up each other for prime sofa and bed acreage and monopolize the petting.  Poor old Rupert, he’d never get a single pet if Leif didn’t toss the two young whippersnappers out by themselves once and a while so Rupert can get some love in peace.

So Vince is settling in pretty well at the farm.  He has decided that Rupert means business when he doesn’t want to play.  He’s learning to respect the chickens as pack members and not chew toys and has a morning chat with the rabbits every day where they stand nose to nose at the bars of the rabbit hutches.  It also seems he has made friends with Duncan the cat, they even share dinner:


So, all’s well at the farm.  Now if only bones would rain from the sky.


October 6, 2015

Tuesday Titters: I can smell your anxiety

by Janie Jones

Yesterday was the first exam in Biochemistry.  I expect to fail quite spectacularly.

Prepared for an exam

The lecture hall, with it’s tiny little seats and lap desks that are smaller than your standard sheet of paper, is a particularly miserable place to take an exam, even if you expect to do well, which I doubt I’d do unless this was the only class I had to take this semester.  Biochemistry is very challenging even if it is extremely interesting.

taking a test awkward moment

Plus, I have the mixed pleasure of sitting a seat away from Ashtray Boy.  And when I say mixed pleasure I mean I’ve honestly thought about whether or not it’s worth choosing a different seat, or just pretend to have hideous allergies all semester and bury my face in a scented hanky throughout class.  I could move, but I have an aisle seat, which are coveted, because then you are only having your personal space impinged on one side instead of two and because no one else wants to sit next to Ashtray Boy, I have an empty seat to my left between us.  If I move, I must sacrifice the personal space to my right from being on the aisle and the empty space to my left which buffers me from Ashtray Boy’s self.  Obviously, I’ve decided not to move and honestly most days the stink wafting from Ashtray Boy is ignore-able.  Other days, I put on some scented hand lotion and lean my chin on my hand all through lecture.

The first day when he sat down and his cloud of funk enveloped me I was a little shocked.  It is pretty rare these days to come across such a smelly smoker.  Most people live in smoke-free dorms or apartments, so even if they do smoke it tends to be outdoors where I guess they air out better.  Besides, he’s a science major.  Didn’t he get the memo?

smoking cat memeWhere’d this cat critter come from anyway?  He’s everywhere and he’s hysterical.

Because some days his cloud of funk is more expansive, I imagine you can tell how Ashtray Boy’s day is going so far by how strong his eau de nicotine is.  Some times people ask me if the smell is “special.”  Having never had any exposure to “special” cigarettes, I can’t say for sure it’s just nicotine, but it is occasionally very extra stinky and to look at this guy and make an outrageously un-P.C. stereotypical judgement, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Or maybe a small part of me is jealous because he dropped the lab and I am still toughing it out.

Anyway, so the whole point is yesterday, for the first exam, Ashtray Boy must have been fairly anxious as he came reeking to high heaven.  It was enough to make my own lungs and eyes burn.

second hand bubbles

But, as bad as he smells at least he comes to class on time.  I can’t tell you the number of people who drift in 5, 10 even 20 minutes late.  It’s not enough that they are “sneaking” in late.  Oh, no, they then have to climb over you and all the other people who have tried to spread out through the narrow rows of theater style seats.  So there’s excuse mes, and sorrys, and the sound of lap desks slamming down which can make it really hard to concentrate.


I really wonder how anyone does well.

And now for the real jokes:

Student: I don’t think I deserved zero on this test!
Professor: I agree, but that’s the lowest mark I could give you!

Teacher: How can you make so many mistakes in just one day?
Student: I get up early!

Teacher: Why can’t you ever answer any of my questions?
Student: Well if I could there wouldn’t be much point in me being here!

October 5, 2015

118 Days and Counting

by Janie Jones

I had a lovely weekend.

Leif “kidnapped” me on Friday night.  We went to the farm, where I could sleep in my real bed, albeit one covered in dog hair.  I woke up Saturday to a pack of slobbery dog kisses.  We had fried potatoes, farm fresh eggs and sausages for breakfast.  We packed a picnic and drove up the shore of Big Lake so we could admire the fall colors and the clear blue waves.  The afternoon was spent sitting on the beach.  It was around 50 F, and the day started sunny, but by the time we made the 2+ hour drive to our favorite spot some clouds had rolled in.  Between the lower temp, the clouds and a very, very brisk wind we saw few other beachcombers.  But we didn’t mind, we’d bundled up appropriately.

The dogs frolicked.  We cooked soup on the camp stove and watched the dogs dodge six foot waves.  We made hot cocoa and snuggled under a wool blanket until the dogs started shivering, because, really dog mom, why should we sit still under a warm blanket when there is so much glorious beach romping fun to be had?

At last we decided to pack up before it got dark and made our way home.  We were all tired, but it had been a wonderful day.  Somehow, I managed not to take a single photo, but you all can imagine how lovely it was, can’t you?

*Sigh*  Unfortunately, not every day can be a day at the beach.  It’s back to class.

Only 118 more days of class and I’m done spending my weekends studying.  Then perhaps I can enjoy more beach time….

October 2, 2015

Constellations in my Borrelia

by Janie Jones

So, do any of you ever wonder what I do when I’m in my Lyme Studies lab?

I know, you have been dying to know!

Mostly I count Borrelia burgdorferi, the primary bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in the U.S.  There are other Borrelia species that also cause Lyme disease, but most are not found in my neck of the woods.

In general Borrelia are thin spiral shaped bacteria that swim about independently.  However, they do also form clusters of varying size.  I don’t know why for sure, and I don’t know if anyone else does either.  They might and I just haven’t stumbled on that information yet.

Anyway, I am responsible for a strain that has been genetically engineered to express a green fluorescent protein that makes it glow green.  This has many practical applications, it makes them much easier to see for sure, it also makes it easier to tell if the bacteria is alive as dead bacteria don’t make glowing green protein, they don’t make anything if they are dead.

So every week I gaze into a microscope and check for itsy-bitsy green lines on a field of black.  A healthy bacteria culture has millions or even billions of the little critters all swirling about doing their little bacteria thing.  Often there are so many it looks like the depths of outer space, if the stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae were all fluorescent green anyway.  To see them well it is best to turn off the lights in the lab to reduce the ambient light which can interfere with catching a glimpse of the faint green glow, so it really does often feel like star gazing through binoculars.  The other day it so strongly put me in mind of star gazing that I started looking for shapes in the “constellations” of bacteria.

Lo an behold I found Ursa Major!

Teddy bear Bb edit png

I think I just discovered the evolution of Bear-relia!

September 30, 2015

An Ode to Tilly Bud: the worst birthday poem ever

by Janie Jones

happy birthday banner

Thinking of you today, dear Tilly, and sending sincerest wishes:

May your day be filled with good friends, loving family and slobbery dog kisses,

May your box of Maltesers over floweth,

And may the sun shine where ever you go-eth!

May your tea kettle freely flow,

May the pile of crumpled wrapping paper grow.

May you grow old and wise,

(Though I feel a need to clearly emphasize,

That’s not to imply that you are still young),

And have travels far-flung.

For ever and always, I hope life treats you well,

In short, have a birthday that’s totally swell.

September 29, 2015

Tuesday Titters: Do fruit flies dream of bananas?

by Janie Jones

There is a saying which may or may not have first been coined by Groucho Marx and revisited yesterday by my genetics professor:

“Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.”

It’s stupid.  It makes me laugh.  Then again, grades this semester imply I am stupid.  But lets not dwell on that.  Let’s have fun.

What is the difference between a fly and a bird?

A bird can fly but a fly can’t bird.

Why do fireflies wear sunglasses when they talk to their children?

Because their future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades.


What do you call a fly with no wings?

A walk.

What do you call a fly with no wings and no legs?

A roll.

Whew!  I must be a fly with no wings and no legs because I’m on a roll.


Well that was fun.  My how time flies.

time flies

Maybe a little too much fun…