Archive for March, 2015

March 31, 2015

Tuesday Titters: I love science, don’t you?

by Janie Jones

If the comics are too small clicking on them will enlarge…

I'm surprised more people don't like science cartoon
Yeah I love science cartoon

Now excuse me, I have to go count a few billion bacteria…

March 30, 2015

Miscellaneous Monday Morning Musings

by Janie Jones

There is only 6 more weeks in this semester.  Halla-good-dog-u-lah.

I’ve been tired before.  I’ve been frustrated before.  I’ve been excited to finish a semester before.  But I tell you all right now, I am having the hardest time ever staying motivated this spring.  I think I’ve finally hit that wall I’ve been seeing approach.  I don’t want to fail, but damn it’s hard to make myself focus.

Sitting at the show Saturday (when I wasn’t forced to engage in inane conversation with Young lady, that is) I kept thinking how I missed those weekends when my time was my own, back in the days of having a real life, when you were tired of the work week and Friday at 5pm meant you were free and could sleep all weekend or read for leisure or go for a walk.  Friday at 5pm now means, if I don’t have to work at my tour guide gig, I have to still get up early to catch up on all the studying I didn’t have time for during the school week.


Anyway, there are moments when I really feel like throwing up my arms and walking away from it all.  If I want to go to graduate school, I have to find time to actually apply and sit for entrance exams in the next few months.  Or, I could just stop with my Bachelor’s and hope for the best.  I’d have leisure time again.  Probably no money to enjoy it, but OMG it is soooooo tempting.

And then I get a little carrot.  See it?  It’s right there, dangling just beyond my reach.

Dr. Smythe, the professor who took me on to count Borrelia, replied to my email about my data and the next phase of my project.  He said, and I quote:

“Thanks for the data…. The higher temperature is an interesting issue, one I never considered. Keep up the good work!”

I think of things he doesn’t.  He thinks it’s good work.  Awesome sauce (as those youngsters say).  Considering I felt inept and frustrated the whole time, that casual compliment feels pretty damn good.  Maybe I can do this.

And while we are on the topic of school and things I can do, I’m not struggling nearly so much with using the word moiety.  Dr. Smythe used it during our weekly meeting and I thought to myself, “Aha!  I remember what that means, and now I actually kinda get it!!!”

Here’s one last thought.  My seminar grade isn’t posted yet, but I think it went well.  Now that it’s over I do have a question I can’t quite shake.  You see, in the U.S., mice are the primary natural reservoir for Borrelia, the bacteria which cause Lyme disease.  If it wasn’t for the tick feeding on mice carrying Borrelia, the tick would not pick up and be able to pass it on to humans and other animals.  But if Borrelia naturally live in mice, where did the mice get the Borrelia?  In my seminar I made a little joke out of it saying it was kind of like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg.  But really, seriously, how did Borrelia get in mice in the first place?

Oh-ho-ho.  Possibly a doctoral thesis theme?

Perhaps I’m hallucinating that there’s an entire carrot farm just up the hill….

March 29, 2015

Say “hi” to Leif’s other mom

by Janie Jones

Yesterday Leif had a booth at a horse and tack show and as I didn’t have to work at my tour guide gig, I agreed to tag along and help out.  Early on in the day a young lady probably between late teens-mid twenties came by and began to make small talk about her interest in learning blacksmithing.  We were pretty busy with setting up the booth and some early customers, so she wandered off after a little bit.

Now, if you’ve never done craft or art shows, you might not understand the culture involved.  You get a lot of bored, lonely and socially awkward people coming by looking to just chat more than buy.  You also get the other vendors who often tend to be a lot of elderly, or out of work, bored, lonely and socially awkward people who want to compare their skill to yours and try and make themselves look more knowledgeable, skilled or experienced, especially if they think your wares are actually better quality than theirs.

Usually these people are harmless, but occasionally they are spooky (harken back to last fall…).  As it was a horse and tack show, it did draw a little bit higher-end clientele than the flea market/craft shows we’ve sometimes attended, but you always get those few special snowflakes.

So, Young lady it turns out was an SCA type, which adds it’s own variety of weirdness to her character.  SCA, if you are unfamiliar stands for Society for Creative Anachronism.  The SCA is an organization of people who like to pretend they are from some historical venue.  You get a lot of re-enactors, but usually the hard-core, serious ones who really want to re-enact eventually realize the SCA tends more to be about those Dungeons and Dragons types who wanted to take roll playing to the next level, or the socially awkward geeks and nerds who realized they could be “someone” in an imaginary world when they were just “nobodies” in real life, and generally disengage from the SCA to do real, solid, respectable historical work leaving mostly a band of people who are somewhat less than the cream of the crop. (sorry really long run on sentence)

Young lady reappeared later in the afternoon.  I didn’t see her approach, as she came up from behind me.  But suddenly Leif was talking to someone and I turned to see who and there was Young lady inches from my face saying “Boo!”

She then proceeded to stand around and talk.  And talk.  And talk.  Somehow it came out that she wanted to be a masseuse.  Leif, being quite sore from several days of hard core forge work in a row preparing for the show, said she could give him a hand massage.  So she pulled over our cooler squeezed between us and proceeded to give Leif a hand massage.  Then she wanted to give me a hand massage.  She wasn’t half bad, but I don’t like people I don’t know very well touching me, and I didn’t like her sitting so close to me.  I like my personal space when it comes to strangers, even friends.  So I took my hand back after a minute saying that she seemed to have a good technique and I hoped that would be the end of it.

But I think she enjoyed an excuse to touch Leif, who I’m pretty sure she was nursing up to having a crush on.  He told her she could rub his neck and shoulders and so she had at.  Now he’d tried to get me to do that earlier, but it felt awkward to be doing so in a public place where he was trying to sell his products, and the old guy from the booth in front of ours kept making comments about when it was his turn so I told Leif it made me uncomfortable to give him a back rub out in public.  But if he didn’t care to have some strange girl doing it, or getting the additional catcalls from the old guy about how come he couldn’t get one massage while Leif got two, I suppose it was none of my business.

After while she stopped and Leif offered her one of his cloak pins she’d been admiring as “payment.”  Then he went off to the men’s room and I thought for sure Young Lady would leave.  But she continued to sit there trying to engage me in conversation.  Unfortunately for both of us, I preferred to sit and watch the booth and try to talk to customers that might wander by and had nothing really to say to Young Lady who I felt had overstayed her welcome.

When Leif came back we decided it would be a good time to check on the dogs who were out in the truck.  Leif said I could go and I didn’t argue as it would give me a good excuse to get away from Young Lady who was still perched way to close to me on the cooler for  my comfort.  So, I took Rupert and Vera for a leisurely sniff about the mall and surrounding areas.  And, oddly enough, I found their company much more soothing and rewarding.  Even when it entailed scooping up large piles of hot, stinky dog poo.

But eventually I got cold and I had to use the bathroom myself so I put up the dogs and wandered back indoors to the ladies room.  Having finally run out of excuses to stay away I tried to mentally prepare myself to bear the company of Young lady once more.  But, much to my relief she was gone when I got back to Leif’s booth.

“So, I see you’ve been deprived of your little lady friend.  What finally pried her away?”  I asked.

“Oh, she went to the raffle drawing.  She had tickets.”

“Good, her company was getting quite tedious, in my opinion.”

“Yeah, well, she’s an SCA type.”

“Yeah, and there’s a reason I left the SCA.”

“Yeah.  Me too.”

“I’m pretty sure she had a little crush on you.”

And Leif started to laugh.


“She couldn’t understand our dynamic.  I asked her what she meant, and apparently she thought you were my mom.”

“Oh, really?”  And, honestly I wasn’t offended, I found it very funny, especially as I was sure she was interested in Leif.  “So what did you say?”

“I told her you were three years younger than me.  She was surprised.”

And we both laughed.  Now, I have a very striking head of mostly silver hair with some deep brownish-black hair low-lights that I keep cut pretty short.  It’s natural, and I don’t have any interest in coloring my hair to look more “youthful.”    I dress pretty comfortably, in “mom” style because I don’t want to look like a middle aged lady trying to still be 20.  Occasionally people think my daughter is my granddaughter, but it doesn’t bother me either as she’s only 10 and I kind of expect that as most 40 something ladies usually color their hair to avoid looking all grandma-ish.  Now, while Leif keeps a crew cut, and on account that his hair is so short, his grey doesn’t much show, Young lady still must have thought either Leif was  a couple decades younger than he actually is, or I was a couple decades older than I actually am.  I don’t see how that premise worked.  Maybe it was wishful thinking on her part.

But regardless we found it funny.  And, perhaps once she realized I was competition and not just Mom, she saw no reason to come back, and that pleased me to no end.

March 28, 2015

Here’s a spot of good news

by Janie Jones

I got an email yesterday notifying me that I have just been awarded another $2000 scholarship for next year.  Applying for 30+ scholarships does start to pay off.

March 27, 2015

You know you have a crazy schedule when…

by Janie Jones

…the only way you manage to find time to eat your sandwich is while you are walking to the bathroom.

Kind of gives a whole new perspective to multitasking.

March 26, 2015

Thursday quote du jour has been preempted in favor of jam session

by Janie Jones

We don't play heavy metal

March 25, 2015

My fortune says: Today you will hold the attention of your peers

by Janie Jones

I give my Lyme disease seminar in one hour.

I’m not so much nervous about giving the speech as I am about staying within the 30-35 minute time frame. I get docked points if I go over or under. So far practicing my speech at home I’m generally running right at 35-36 minutes.

Interesting side note:

My February issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine (yes, I’m a little behind) says that the Fortune cookie was invented by the Japanese, not the Chinese.

I wish my fortune said wealth and contentment will befall you soon.