Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Tuesday Titters: Week 5, in protest of dirty jokes

by Janie Jones

This morning I said to Leif: I need a joke for my Tuesday Titters.  I need something funny to start off my day, but I forgot to put something together yesterday.

Leif:  Well, you could tell the joke about the *insert racial slur* who…

Janie:  Geesh.  I need something that’s not highly offensive or crass.

Leif:  *stares blankly*

Janie:  Do you even know any?

Leif:  *stares blankly, then turns to the computer and begins reading off only slightly offensive and bawdy jokes making me laugh*  Okay, then how about this one:

There was a professor who had a habit of telling the dirtiest, bawdiest jokes in class.  The young women in class grew offended by his ceaseless off color humor and decided to stage a protest.  They all agreed that the next time the professor started to tell a dirty joke they would all stand up and walk out of class.

The professor found out about their plans, but instead of confronting them came to class with a plan in mind.  That day, during lecture he proceeded very professionally until about midway through the class at which point he said, “You know, I hear there is a shortage of prostitutes in France….”

At hearing this, the women looked around the room at each other, then rose and headed for the door.

The professor then said, “Ladies, the next flight to France isn’t ’til this evening.”

Thanks Leif, and what ever place you found this joke.

January 30, 2012

A question that begs needs an answer

by Janie Jones

I woke up happy on Saturday, and then something happened that ruined my good mood.  The effect of which led me into much introspection aided and abetted by a question which was probably innocently and jokingly asked.  I have been on the fence ever since about whether or not I should write about it, but this morning something else happened that helped me make up my mind.

So with that cryptic prologue I’m going to write a therapy post.

Saturday I was all excited to have some fun time with my peeps.  First, however, I had to do an assignment for my astronomy class.  Because it’s online, most of my “work” and “class time” is in the form of using this educational software.  Perhaps by week 15 I’ll fully understand the ins and outs of the software, but so far, it’s been completely unpredictable.  A “section” may be worth one point, but consist of a 45-60 minute interactive presentation, with 20 or more questions spread through out.  Or, it could be worth 3 points and contain 2 questions.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason and no warning what you’re in for when you start the assignment.  Saturday’s assignment consisted of 13 sections and took me over 4 hours to complete.  Not realizing that’s what I was going to be up against, I slept in, had a nice brunch with the fam, then at about 12:30 started working with the idea that I probably would be done by 2 ish.  Hahahaha!

Not only was the assignment time consuming in the extreme, but I was having a devil of a time figuring out how to get some of the interactive stuff to work properly and having some technical problems no doubt a result of user ignorance.  I nearly cried at several points.  What was most frustrating was a lot of the time I knew the correct answers, but I couldn’t figure out how to use the program so my results were not showing as accurate.  Then there was the stuff I flat out didn’t understand.

So, Janie had a couple or ten temper tantrums, mini nervous breakdowns and was utterly miserable.  Leif brought in chai and took the spud to the basement to watch tv all afternoon.  The work got done, and miraculously with a respectable grade but…

There’s always a but, isn’t there?

I couldn’t help but hear Tilly Bud in the back of my head the whole time saying, “Cough, cough…I have to ask…is a degree really what you want to be doing? :)

And I just wanted to bawl and sob, “Nooooooooo!  It’s NOT what I want to be doing!  I’d rather be doing almost anything else, but that’s not really true, what I really want I can’t have, and important people are relying on me!  So, I have to do the right thing even if it sucks, because in the long run it’s the best chance for happiness tomorrow.”

If I were my own armchair shrink, I’d say, “So Janie, what do you want?”

All I’ve ever wanted was a modest middle class home, with cool, shady trees in the yard, a neat little garden with flowers and some berries and vegetables.  I want to be June Cleaver or Carol Brady, and keep an immaculately spotless house so if Better Homes and Gardens drops by unannounced they could take pictures I’d be proud to have in an international magazine.  I actually enjoy clipping coupons, hunting down the best price on peanut butter, folding laundry so underwear is neatly stacked in perfectly square rows, towels fit in perfect stacks in the closet and sheets and pillowcases are in bundles neater than new store packaging offers them.  I like to plan meals and monitor the levels of my house hold goods, I like the feel of pride and satisfaction in removing spots from the carpet, having the whitest whites and fabric napkins at every meal.  I love changing season decorations, having plump toss pillows with slipcovers to coordinate with the seasons, and craftily arranged centerpieces on the buffet.  Heck, I don’t even mind paying bills and staying on a budget as long as it doesn’t feel like I have to make two pennies a dime.

Perhaps I ask for too much.  But, for a brief period in time, I thought I had achieved my dream.  I had found a man who had three pieces of paper declaring him well educated and he bought me a house and promised to provide and take care of me and our child.  And, then a combination of fate, my own naivete  and the irresponsibility and carelessness of others took it from me.  I will never have it back, because I can’t rely on others to support me, and I am not independently wealthy.  Therefore, I must go out in the world and make myself suitable for the kind of employment that will pay in a manner to keep me living in a modest middle class way and pay off the remaining debt I am responsible for in the nuclear-esque fallout which ended my marriage.

I have never ever wanted to be a career or academic woman.  I don’t have the drive, the ambition or the curiosity for learning.  Nothing much matters to me outside my home.  Gone though are the days when a woman can rely on a man to support her.  And even if it weren’t so, I don’t think I could ever really trust a man to support me ever again.  I’ve been too deeply hurt by giving my faith only to have my dreams torn from me nearly as literally as having my heart ripped still beating from my chest.  But I also have too much pride to live off the government dole.  In fact, the fact that I have been since getting laid off of work over a year ago really chaffs my hide.  I absolutely hate myself for it.  I also hate having to justify every action I take short of breathing to get the pittance they offer to help pay for school and travel expenses.  And, I hate the idea of what will become of me when they cut me off, because then I’ll be even more screwed. I feel stuck.  I don’t want to take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans and beg the government for financial assistance.  So, what’s a Janie to do?  I don’t really care if I’m a grocery store bagger, but with those kinds of jobs I’ll barely make enough to cover rent, utilities and insurance.  Forget eating.  Forget having clothes that aren’t threadbare where they aren’t patched.  Accept the dreary prospect of working for a thankless employer until I die, because there will be no retirement for me, I won’t likely be ever at a financial state where I can save enough to retire on, missing out on my kid’s life because I’m always at work, working weird schedules and or overtime and never actually having the time to enjoy the one thing in life that, in my opinion, makes life worth living: a home of my own that I clean, I decorate, I can garden in, I relax in, I feel safe, secure and content in.  It won’t exist in this life.

I am precisely where I swore I’d never be.  A single working mother trying to eke out a living, relying on the help of my friend to get through life.  Without Leif’s love and financial assistance I would be up the proverbial shit creek without a paddle.  So once again I’m relying on a man.  What happens if he gets tired of pulling my cranky ass along through school?  What happens if I’m left alone?  I can’t support myself and my daughter with the skills I have now.

So again, we ask, what’s a Janie to do?  Seems logically the best answer is get a real education.  What do I have to look forward to out of this education?  A shit pot of school loan debt, several years of frustration and misery dealing with professors, and shoddy tenured work ethics, having to swallow educational drivel, irritating assignments, partners in group projects young enough to be my children who could care less about being there and how much their education is costing their parents; I’ll stop myself there.  You all get the point.  I don’t like the institutional system they call school.  But I need that freakin’ piece of paper that says I suffered through it because, maybe if I have one I can change the bleak prospects and unpleasant outcome I would otherwise have to anticipate of my working future.  Maybe if I stick it out through school, maybe I might get a good enough job to not have to worry about money quite so much.  Just maybe I might some day get out of debt.  Maybe I could buy a house of my own.  Maybe even start saving for something resembling retirement.  I might never have the June Cleaver or the Carol Brady life, but at least I won’t have to rely on someone else or the government to support me.  I’ll have some respect back.  I’ll have accomplished something I can at least be proud of and hold my head up high with dignity feeling like I wasn’t a total waste of oxygen.

I love Leif, he’s a tremendous source of help and comfort and I’m glad he’s here to help me, and hope he always will.  But I don’t want to have to rely on him.  I want to be able to stand tall on my own two feet.  Logic and past precedent tells me in order to do that in today’s world I need at least a bachelor’s degree.  Do I really want to do this?  No.  Do I really need to do this?  Yes, if I want to have some chance of  financial security in this crazy world of general insecurity I’m pretty sure I do.  I’m not confused or conflicted about that.  But there’s no mistake, this is not being done for a love of learning or education.  Still, if possible I’d like to try to find some enjoyment in it so it’s not totally loathsome.  That’s why I’m taking steps toward switching majors. Hopefully also, in the end I’ll be proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished.

There are a few traits I like to flatter myself that I’m not lacking: determination, responsibility, pride, duty, honor, strength.  If I’m going to do this, I damn well want to do it right.  Of course, I’m going to make mistakes, but I’m going to do it right by committing myself fully and doing the very best work I feel I can.  I may have messed up my life, I may be sitting on the government dole right now, but I’m going to make things better if it kills me.

So, Saturday kinda sucked, and I’m still feeling pretty depressed and disgusted.  And, sometimes the weight of all that pain and misery is to much to bear alone, and too much to share just with Leif.  I sometimes feel so alone and so misunderstood.  I sure could use my own personal squad of Dallas Cheerleaders, only I’d prefer they all were men who looked like Chris Hemsworth in the movie Thor, or Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.  I wasn’t sure if I should say anything about it, my feelings, not the cheer leading squad, but the blog wisdom and blog therapy seems to always know best, and in not being likely to acquire the dream cheer leading team I’m relying on the blogosphere.  I hope Tilly won’t mind being my catalyst to deep thoughts.  As for the events of this morning, in a bizarre sort of way I have another blog friend to thank for giving me the kick in the pants to sit down to my blog and actually type these feelings right off my chest.  I feel like my life has been preempted by an education I don’t really want.  I feel angry and frustrated and I want to cry.  I want to give up.  I want to simply bag groceries at the food store for the rest of my life.  I swear something has to give.  I sometimes think this can’t possibly be worth it, then I remember all the good things I have and how much better my life is today than it was 4 years ago, 3 years ago, and when you weigh the good and bad I’d rather be where I am today than where I was then.  Because even though life is hard, and school sucks, at least now I do know moments of happiness every day and there is more than hope that my dreams, albeit revised ones, may still come true by the power of my choices.   My astronomy professor may be a hideous lecturer and the assignments may be infuriating, but I will stick with it so I can say I survived, and I understand a little more about life, the universe and myself.

I can’t pretend to understand what exactly what The ‘Stones mean, but you gotta love the chorus:

“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you might find
You get what you need”

So perhaps I’ll stick with it a while longer and see how things play out, I just might find not what I thought I wanted, but what I really needed.  Oh, and Universe, if it does any good to place that order, you can deliver my cheer leading squad any time on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays.

January 27, 2012

Is it May 8th yet?

by Janie Jones

So, that’s the date we’re aiming for.  On or before May 8th I will be finished with Spanish.  While I don’t absolutely loathe the class, I am getting a bit tired of it already and we’re only 3 weeks into the semester.  We are studying indirect pronouns, preterite verb tenses and, because it’s so important to appreciate other cultures, Cuba.  I have to write an essay about what a santero would advise his client.  Now, all I have to go on is a video, all in Spanish of course, to figure out what’s going on.  I infer that a santero is like a fortune teller.  So, I imagine the conversation would go something like this (only in Spanish, of which mine still sucks despite my good grades, and most of you wouldn’t be able to understand anyway):

Client:  Oh, santero, can you tell me the winning lottery numbers for Saturday’s drawing?

Santero:  Honey, if I could do that kind of voo-doo I wouldn’t be playing this charlatan’s game.

Of course, I’ve probably just been extremely insensitive to the Cuban culture.  But seriously I’m getting really tired of this class.  I’d much rather be doing almost anything else.  I have a hard enough time with my English grammar, and now I’m supposed to be managing grammar in a foreign language.  *Shudder*  I have a test on Tuesday.  No fun at all.

Which leads me to realize that I have been so hung up in the SOPA crap that I haven’t regaled you all with tales of my educational adventure.

So, the important details you’ve long been pining for:

My writing teacher is hot, for what that’s worth.  So far the first two weeks have been dull, and I hope that it stays that way.  However, I’m pretty sure that she has never seen the movie 2001, which would make more sense to all ya’ll if you were in my class.  Also, I said that Nicolas Carr, the author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” for which the whole movie reference is key, needed to get over himself and grow a pair.  Yes, I actually said that out loud in class.  Everyone laughed.  It sort of popped out before I realized what I was saying.  But, I think most of the kids in my class are young enough to be my children so they probably were just shocked to hear an “old person” say a pair in reference to testicles.

My astronomy professor, who called himself gibbous, is a horrible lecturer.  I cannot vouch for his personal attributes as it’s an online class and I’ve never seen the professor in the flesh, gibbous or no.  I spend a great deal of time saying much more colorful things than grow a pair at him, but as I just have to listen to recordings of his lectures it’s not likely to get me any attention.  It is unfortunate that he’s such a miserable lecturer because the subject itself is fascinating.

My Pre-historic Anthropology professor is pretty personable and interesting.  His class, despite being crammed cheek to jowl in one of the amphitheater rooms with tiny little seats smaller than movie theater seating and itty-bitty drop down table tops that aren’t even as big as a 8×11 notebook, is pretty engaging.  However, by the time class is over I’m stiff and sore, and wanting to holler to the students around me, “Get up a half hour earlier dammit and take a freakin bath before you come to class!”  Although yesterday a young co-ed apparently had sensed my vibe and, in effort to be well groomed, experimented with the other end of the stinky spectrum and came off smelling like she’d bathed in a vat of vanilla and magnolia fragrance then topped it off with a pound of baby powder.  It was both clean smelling and sickly-sweet vomit inducing stinky at the same time.

And, lastly there’s my biology class, which is online and so far rather low pressure.  However, things appear in the homework that weren’t in the lessons.  Curious and curiouser.  Like a lot of statistics and chemistry stuff.  Luckily I did well in chemistry so I was able to fill in those blanks.  Enough people complained about the statistics bit that we got three points of extra credit to make up for the 3 statistics questions.  Beyond that it’s been pretty unremarkable.

So far, besides being a bit ready to be done with Spanish, the work load and courses haven’t been too bad.  Well, except Wednesday when I had so many assignments due on Thursday that I worked about 10 hours straight on homework.  But I don’t think things will be bad like that all the time.  Which is good.  Which is way better than last semester.  Way.

Still, is it May 8th yet?  I’ll be really glad to be done with Spanish.


January 26, 2012

I lost my heart to Simon Pegg at Area 51

by Janie Jones

Couresty of Wikipedia

So here’s a bit of fun, I’ll even brave posting a photo I have borrowed from Wikipedia to share the fun with you all.  Leif and I just watched the movie Paul, written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and it was riotous good fun.  So many movies transplant Americans into Great Britain and have us going all goo-goo ga-ga for the rose colored view of all things British.  However, Paul takes the opposite view and transports two loveable Sci-Fi geeks into the southwest on a tour of comic cons and alien encounter sites.  And, of course, along the way they meet Paul.  As in their other joint efforts Pegg plays the “heartthrob” and is a thoroughly loveable geek who gets the girl in the end.  Oh, and for those of you who favor Frost, he gets his Ewok as well.  Replete with government conspiracy, hard core shot gun ‘n’ bible toting creationists, romance, and a three breasted alien, Paul won’t disappoint those who love the comic genius and lovable goofiness of Pegg and Frost.  The Jones family gives it a hearty two thumbs up!

January 25, 2012

Yes, I understand mild is a relative term

by Janie Jones

We’ve been having a relatively mild Great White North winter this year.  Very few subzero temps, and very little snow.  Some of us are happy, as it makes commuting to school much easier, others have been a bit cranky because they bought fancy new snowshoes and have only been able to caress them longingly before hanging them in the front airlock.*

Sunday through Monday we got a rather decent snowfall and our accumulation is now pushing winky high to a long-backed, short-legged dog.  I can say this with certainty as I luckily have such a creature.  I brought my camera out this morning to document the measurement, however, between wearing extremely bulky gloves, the lag on my shutter and Rupert’s desire to do his business quickly and get back in the house this is the best I could manage:

Amazing how that dog can poop like the wind in the wind, but then it must really suck to have to do one’s business under such conditions.  So for those of you who aren’t good at spotting the supersonic invisible dog, I’ve Photoshopped the photo just a bit to help you, my dear readers, fully realize the scene:

Good boy Rupert!  Isn’t he the cutest dog in the whole world?

But I digress.  This promising winter weather development has put several members of the Jones household in a flutter.  Yesterday Leif and the Spud apparently went sledding for well over an hour, and when I got home I was greeted by this:

Incontrovertible evidence that winter outdoor sports were highly anticipated.  On my dining room table non the less.

Winter is a very beautiful season in the Great White North.  Which is good, because real winter can last upwards of 6 months.  Unfortunately, some of us need to be studying Spanish, taking a biology test and annotating our writing class reading today.  *Sigh*  No rest or winter frolicking for the wicked I’m afraid.


*Airlock in our family means one of two hallways to the outside which are sealed off from the rest of the house by doors.  Airlocks not only help keep the warm air in and cold air out when coming and going in the winter, but they make awesome extra freezer space.  On the down side, you really want to remember to bring your coat and boots inside the house, as putting on a frozen nylon sleeved coat which has been essentially hanging in a freezer is somewhat less than enjoyable.  Some call it bracing.  I call it by a slew of colorful explicatives we will leave to your imagination.

January 24, 2012

Tuesday Titters: Week 4, A shaggy frog story

by Janie Jones

A frog hops up to an old man and says, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful young woman.”

“Kiss you?” says the old man, “What’s in it for me?”

“Well, once I’m a woman again, I’ll marry you.”  Replies the frog.

However the old man, instead of kissing the frog, tucks it into his shirt pocket and says, “Honey, at my age I’d much rather have a talking frog than a wife.”

January 22, 2012

Yet another disadvantage to getting the short end of the plumbing stick, evolutionarily speaking

by Janie Jones

Last night while looking at a television program, Mother Nature called to impose an urgent duty upon me.  I hauled my warm comfy bum out from under the down comforter we keep on the sofa and padded across the basement to the toilet.  Side effects of living with a man caused the need to lower the seat, and in the process the lid fell down and landed on the cuticle of my thumb with what felt like the force of a jackhammer.  So, I hollered and cussed and whimpered.

From the living room comes:  “Aw come on Janie, the seat isn’t that cold.”

The fact that it was is rather besides the point.  After finishing my duty to Mother Nature, I returned to the sofa where I explained with as much faux dignity that I could muster that he could poke fun all he wanted but my finger got smashed and pinched and it hurt.

And, it never would have happened if those who could pee standing up would kindly remember to put the seat back down when they were done.  The logical rebuttal to that would likely have been, well be sure to be born with the proper equipment for peeing standing up.  Sensibly though, the converstation didn’t take that turn.  Instead Leif acted suitably sympathetic, we re-adjusted the comforter, filled our mouths with ice cream sandwiches and resumed the DVD; domestic felicity maintained.

This morning, however, there is a faint blood blister on the edge of my cuticle.  Who’d have thought there was the possibility of maiming due to fingers being crushed between toilet seat and lid?  Beware the dangers of toilet seats.  It was very traumatic, but I think I can avoid the need to steal toilet seats and build a shrine in a tree (need I point out, I didn’t think of that last bit, it is a reference to Dead Like Me).