Archive for April, 2014

April 28, 2014

Once Upon A Time

by Janie Jones

There once was a time when I thought a job paying $8 an hour was sad and pathetic.  That was circa 1994 when I got my first real job that didn’t involve a retail store position and left the world of less than $10 an hour paying jobs behind.

Somehow since then my pay scale expectations have gone backwards.  By leaps and bounds.

Now, I just got all excited because I got a call back on a job in the Big City at Stickittoyou U paying a whopping $8.85 an hour.  After all, I’ve been struggling to get by on a part time job paying just $8 an hour for the last two years.  I suffered that miserable wage because the job was working for one of my previous professors who is one of my biggest fans.  She is extremely easy going with how I work my hours, and lets me do lots of work from home when it’s convenient.  She also lets me keep a desk in her office and gave me an office key so I can come and go there as I please and have a place to work between classes as well as a place to stash my belongings.  But, because I’m moving at the end of May and returning to Stickittoyou U for the rest of my educational career, I have to quit that job.  Which means I need a new one, and I need it to pay well.

Hence my excitement for a measly $8.85 an hour.

Hence my huge disappointment that they can’t hire me if I’m not taking summer classes at Stickittoyou U.  And, I can’t take classes there because Stickittoyou U isn’t offering the particular statistics course I need this summer.

But a small glimmer of hope lies on the horizon, the supervisor said she will probably have one or two positions in the fall, and if I am still interested I can be reconsidered then.

*Sigh*

Can I please get a stroke of good luck that doesn’t feel a consolation prize?

April 28, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #14

by Janie Jones

Well, things are actually slowing down at school.  I have just one regular week of classes left, then my finals schedule is spread out over 3 weeks on account of the fact my O-Chem class is run through a different college than Local College.  It is strange and complicated and not worth explaining.  Anyway, the long and short of it is there’s probably not much to blog about so this may well be my last Monday post about all the stuff I’m “learning.”

So what did I learn last week?  Not much of interest.  But, I was extremely happy to get one piece of information last week:  Calc teacher gave us our grades so far.  Thankfully, I’ve been dutifully doing her insane amount of homework, and by in large getting full credit.  This is a good thing, because 45% of our grade is based on the homework.  And, it would seem that as long as I continue to do all her insane amounts of homework for the last 7 days of class and at least show up and write my name on the final I should have enough points already in class to get at least a C over all.  If I can get at least a C on the final I ought to end up with a B in the class. And passing calculus, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

I don’t know if any of you all can quite understand what a huge relief it will be to put calculus behind me.  I would like to get that B, but at the same time just passing with a C will ensure I get credit for the work I did, and that is good enough for me these days.  I have always hated math.  But, it is a necessary evil if I want to go down the educational path I’ve chosen, and I really want to get my bachelors of science.  I wanted to do this so badly, I devoted the last two years to get to this point.  Once I pass calculus, I have just one more math class to pass: statistics.  With luck I can get that done over the summer and I will have triumphed over Math.  I have a couple other classes I’m not particularly looking forward to taking still looming over my path to my degree, namely two semesters of physics, but I tell you all one thing, it is incredibly empowering to be within two weeks of passing the dreaded Calculus beast.  If I can pass a semester of that, while being a basket case about moving, and being broke, and all the other life drama I’ve been juggling, I start to feel like there’s nothing I can’t do.

Still, I wish it didn’t cost a small fortune to discover this feeling.  And, it would be nice if I could have done so with out so many tears and emotional break downs along the way, but I suppose we always want what we can’t have.

Anyway, they say a photo is worth a 1,000 words.  So, here’s a photo of how I feel; somehow, inexplicably and against all odds, I am still surviving while clinging to the edge of life.

misc april pix 2014 040

This is actually the lid to our fish tank.  Because cleaning it is not a high priority, flakes of fish food fall on the crevasse, and apparently created an adequate “soil-like” medium for a random plant seed/spore to grow.  We have no idea where it came from or what kind of plant it is, but for the last few weeks it has been growing and kicking butt.  Even just since I snapped this photo a couple of days ago I noticed that the new bud has grown over the top of the full leaf, and a third bud has appeared.  Amazing how tenacious life is.

 

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

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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.

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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.