Archive for ‘101/1001’

March 8, 2013


by Janie Jones

Thank goodness it’s spring break.

I’ve made it through 8 weeks of this semester, and, in general, this semester has been going pretty smoothly.  However, life is got me feeling pretty burned out and it has been pretty hard to stay focused.  Mostly I’ve just wanted to read the stack of books I collected intending to read last summer.  Oh, and the new pile I bought myself from Thriftbooks when they were having a sale.  Big sale.  I paid on average only $3 per book with free shipping.

What I’ve managed to read lately:

  • Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Graham.

Surprisingly good.  Much, much better than his Pride, Prejudice and Zombies.  I particularly enjoyed the effort taken to make it seem “realistic” and historical.  Graham did an excellent job giving depth of character to the fictional Lincoln and wove the vampire elements into history with great skill.  It was almost believable.

  • A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell

Also surprisingly good.  I was expecting a period bodice ripper, but in fact, it didn’t contain a single “sexcapade.”  There’s not much really to this novel, but it is an interesting character study on life and love in the court of Elizabeth I and spins an amusing story if you like love stories.

  • Shameless by Karen Robards

An entertaining story with a decent plot and a few interesting twists.  It had a moderate “sexcapade” factor, but not as bad as I expected with at title like Shameless.  Don’t ask me why I gave it a try when I was expecting it to be smutty.  For some reason it caught my eye from the discount counter at Barnes and Noble and I read the first chapter in the bookstore before later deciding to buy.  I guess what brought me back for more was the female character who beats up her intended fiance when she tries to call off the engagement and in response he attempts to rape her.  It was refreshing, or I guess intriguing, enough to see a female character bludgeon a man to unconsciousness with a fire poker to buy and finish the book.

  • A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Called the “modern” Jane Austen by some, I’ve enjoyed several other Georgette Heyer regency period novels, however, this was not one of her best.  I found it rather boring.

  • Juliet by Anne Fortier

Over all I felt this was an interesting work.  It straddled two worlds, one being present day, the other being medieval Italy.  I enjoyed the way the writer crafted the tale,  and I continued reading for the historical world and characters who made the book worthwhile, although I did not like the modern day main characters whom I found whiny, naive and unbelievable.

  • A Match for Mary Bennet by Eucharista Ward, O.S.F.

I really liked this Pride and Prejudice spin-off.  Ward kept fairly faithful to the Austen style, though perhaps falling short in the level of wit and humor Austen fans have come to love from the original Pride and Prejudice.  She took some liberties with certain characters, but overall told a tale of quiet, gentle and genteel romance.

Still unread from the summer (and my abandoned 101 in 1001 list item #20, the summer task of reading a book a week) Tess of the D’Ubervilles and A Stranger in a Strange Land sit unfinished on the bookshelf.  Two classics I very much want to read, but have so far found intensely boring.  Perhaps they’ll some day get finished.  After all I think it took me almost two years to get through Moll Flanders.

Well, it is spring break, I’m going to go catch up on my life.

August 9, 2012

Task Mistress Day 121: Several items checked off the list…

by Janie Jones

4 more items to check off the list!

24.  Have at least one yard sale, money tree harvests are down again this year. (June 21-23, 2012)

25.  Clean out the screen house so it can actually be used as a screen house and not a storage dump. (June 23, 2012)

39.  Clean out the craft/guest room. (July 12, 2012)

26.  Do all the mending before school starts up again in the fall.  (July 12, 2012)


These all kinda went together.  I love me a good garage sale, and we had a nice one this year, and we moved out so much stuff we decided we didn’t have enough left for a second sale this year.  Not only did we make a nice profit from old junk we didn’t want anymore, but it made cleaning out the screen house possible, because that’s generally where stuff gets dumped when it’s in our way in the house.  I was thrilled to have my screen house accessible again, but, due to other circumstances I’ve only sat in it once.  But, I love to sit out there and read, and as I am woefully behind on my plan to read a book a week, perhaps I might find some time yet.

While the garage sale got the screen house clean, it caused an even bigger mess in my craft/guest room.  There was for a while the suggestion that there might be overnight company the second weekend in July and so, it became imperative to clean out that spare room.  The overnight guests never panned out, but I did have the opportunity in my nice clean craft room to catch up on my mending (oh, so that’s where that pajama top went…)  and even made a few bracelets with matching earrings and mend a necklace I made years ago.  Just enough anyway to re-whet my appetite for jewelry making which I haven’t done in ages. Getting the jewelry making bug back is dangerous.  Luckily I have no convenient place to buy supplies in my home town and no real cash with which to buy them.  Back in the day when I had access to lots of good stores and the fool hardy idea I could make money working from home with a eBay and craft fair business I bought lots of supplies and made lots of pretty things.  Many of which are still sitting in boxes in my craft room 6 years later.  However, I did finally sell a necklace at my garage sale, so I guess it wasn’t all for nothing.

August 8, 2012

Task Mistress Day 120; 101 Task 18 out of 101/1001 The party’s over, but someone forgot to tell my brain

by Janie Jones

Task 18 Completed!

Get my radiation therapy before my insurance expires in September. (4/11/12; 8/8/12 )

See “I’m my very own medical drama,” June 30, 2012 and “Woman in the Mauve Mask,” July 5, 2012


My last radiation treatment was last Thursday.  I turned off the alarm and just existed for the next three days.  But, every high has it’s low, and Monday was back to “normal.”  Or at least whatever passes for normal these days.

Today I saw my ophthalmologist.  I have been having some additional visual weirdness which defies quantification, and yet the medical staff always wants me to make it cut and dry.  *Rolls radioactive eyes skyward*

The quantifiable parts:

The swelling on the optic nerve ending where it enters the back of my eyeball is significantly reduced.

My “blindspot” has remained stable.

No new “blindspots” have been identified in my bad eye or my good eye.

I read at 20/20 vision with my contacts.

Sounds good.  Now the unquantifiable part:

Letters and shapes viewed through my bad eye don’t look like they’re supposed to.  My brain knows what they are, but it is telling me that they aren’t “appearing” as they should.

Letters appear out of focus in my good eye, even though I see them just fine.  They also appear “smeared.”  Bright objects and lights have a “halo effect” and lines of text and objects which should have straight edges appear “pinched” as if they are larger on the ends than in the middle when they should be the same size throughout.

Sounds clear, but these are subjective descriptions of things which defy description.  I can see and I can read, but I know I’m not seeing things as they really are.  In other words, I’m seeing well enough to pass all the visual tests available because my brain can compensate and accurately interpret the images on my retina even though visual input is not being seen as it truly appears &/or is getting relayed inaccurately.  The ophthalmologist can’t say exactly why this is happening or how to fix it; the relationship between the brain, nerves and the eye are very complex.  I am apparently a very complex case among complex systems. However, I will have to be patient.  For now, all I can do is wait.  Either my nerves and my brain will get back in sync or they won’t.  Either the quality of my vision improves, or it doesn’t.  The die is cast.  Ultimately, I just hope it stops getting worse or else I’ll feel stuck in a Salvador Dali painting for the rest of my life.

Well, I think we’re about ready to put this topic to bed.  At least for a while.  Before I end this post though, I really want to thank everyone out there who has been praying for me and sending well wishes my way.  It means so much to me.  So, thank you!

July 20, 2012

I don’t do garden gnomes

by Janie Jones

But this little critter has been seen in my garden:

And, I also have a Rupert instead.

Isn’t he a handsome doggins?

Anyway, I finally got some photos that were conspicuously missing from my July 10th post about my garden.  I can’t say my photography skills do it justice, then again, that may be a good thing to disguise how woefully overdue a weeding is…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

July 10, 2012

Task Mistress Day 91; Tasks 14 and 23 out of 101/1001

by Janie Jones

Again we’re working the combo angle with two tasks that go great together.  Hmn.  I now have a strange and inexplicable taste for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups….

14.  Take the Christmas lights down from the outside of the house. (6/23/12; 6/23/12)

23.  Plant my summer garden right after I harvest my money tree. (5/13/12; 7/4/12)

The old money tree is definitely taking a beating this year.  Luckily one of the true perks of working at the garden center in May and June was the 40% discount on plants.  The garden is all planted, but is looking pretty sad still.  I haven’t been out to do much weeding, and the grass seed is stubbornly patchy yet, so these photos aren’t really doing my garden justice.  Hopefully things will fill in soon.

*** Imagine Photos Here***

apparently the battery is dead in my camera, so no photos can be uploaded right now…

In general I’m pleased with my budget garden, but one day I still hold out hope to be able to do  up my garden right, and not have to buy plants on the basis of what my pocket book can afford compared to what will really grow well.

Leif has also got our veggie garden going.  We’ve already had potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, salad greens, radishes and peas out of it.  Tomatoes and cucumbers are blooming like crazy so hopefully we’ll have a bumper crop in a few more weeks.

And, because I’m so on the ball, I finally got my Christmas lights down off the roof line two weeks ago.  I hang my head in shame, I wanted them down in April as soon as the snow melted sufficiently to get the ladder up to the house without slipping or sinking.  Ha!  We shall speak of it no more….


July 7, 2012

Task Mistress Day 88; Tasks 12 and 34 out of 101/1001

by Janie Jones

12.  Figure out how to scrape enough gas money together to be able to afford the 600+ mile round trip drive to take the spud to meet her dad for the summer. (4/11/12; 6/1/12 )

34.  Make time to put inspirational notes in the spud’s lunchbox every day for the rest of the school year. (4/11/12; 5/31/12)

Greetings.  In effort to get caught up a bit on my 101/1001 Challenge progress I have decided to combine forces on this post.  The two kinda go together anyway.

In Task 34, I was putting notes in the spud’s lunchbox ever morning.  I have this crazy idea people will think I’m a crappy mom for making the spud pack her own lunch, so by inserting a note I assuage my guilt and look good and make the spud feel good.  I shouldn’t feel guilty, seriously.  I have a totally reasonable and rational reason for making my 7 year old pack her own lunch.  I found out she was throwing away, uneaten and many times unopened food packages.  Perfectly good uneaten and unopened food.  Packets of crackers and cheese, expensive “Lunchables,” applesauce and fruit cups, fruit roll-ups, chocolate granola bars, fruit filled granola bars, peanut butter frosted granola bars, pudding cups, yogurt covered raisin packets.  All of it going right into the trash.  Not to mention the fresh fruit she wouldn’t eat, or the sandwiches I’d pack.  I could almost see her reach into my wallet, grabbing $5 dollar bills, and tearing them to infinitesimally small pieces and then tossing them into the trash.  So, now she makes her own lunch, no matter how boring or “questionable” in health status.  Seriously, why send a healthy lunch a kid will just throw away and end up going hungry?  Better to eat a cold hot dog every day than nothing.  And the note at least makes me feel better.

She also needs some “behavior” encouragement.  So, notes help remind her to do her best to be quiet, keep her hands and feet to herself, and use good manners.  She looks forward to her notes.  She even saves them.

The notes also take the place of last years messages on her lunch bags.  She decided she needed a lunchbox this year, but now there was no bland, boring expanse of brown paper sack for Momma to decorate, so now we do notes.

Notes ended with the school year and her trip to see her dad.  She’s spending the whole summer with him.  So far, I’ve only had one partially hysterical phone call because she had a “rash” and the new arrangement seems to be going over relatively smoothly, better quick knock on wood.  We have our weekly “phone date” which is generally pretty lame because my 7 year old is not a phone talker, despite the fact that there is always noise coming out of her face.  With the somewhat unsatisfactory nature of the phone dates, I have begun sending inspirational letters.  So far we have had a “to find the secret message in the picture color by number,” “to find the secret message use the code,” and a “to find the secret message follow the maze to each letter and fill in the blanks below in order your find each letter.”  I have now to come up with a new challenge for next week.

Being childless causes certain worries, but generally is refreshing and has had certain advantages.  After all, the exchange of the child took place near the Major Metropolis.  And, considering I had to spend the gas money to get there anyway, I might as well enjoy myself a little once I was there.  Which means of course, IKEA!!!!!

Oh the bounty!  Where else on Earth can one find pear juice, Swedish fish, chocolate biscuits, stainless steel utensils, scissors, tea presses, straws, lingonberry jam, home brew bottles, and mock-Crocs all in one store, and at bargain prices to boot?  The Swedish fish even made it the whole way home unopened.  Chiefly because they were packed in the way back of the Jeep, and partially because there were, after all, also chocolate biscuits.  I made sure to save the wrapper for the photo.  However, our new pressure cooker did not make the scene.  It had already been pressed into service to make dinner.  I love me some IKEA restaurant food too, which also did not make the photo.  Firstly because I forgot to bring my camera and I really don’t think you all would appreciate that kind of “after photo.”  In any event, despite the relocation of the Place Lords, I never did see any sign of the Child’s Tartis, so I guess Amy must be right.  I just couldn’t help but laugh that Tinman wrote this hysterical post on the exact day I was tooling about IKEA stuffing my face at the cafe and buying $3 fake Croc sandals.  And if you haven’t read his post, you should, did I mention it was hysterical?  Besides, it makes the earlier bit about the Place Lords make a lot more sense.

But there are disadvantages to being childless once again, there’s no one to empty the laundry and the trash bins, no one to reload the soda in the fridge, and there is no one to put away the clean dishes when the dishwasher is done.  Now lest you all think my poor spud has Cinderella Syndrome, she gets paid for doing her chores and doing them right and having a good attitude about it.  So really that’s only half the disadvantage it seems to be, because on the other hand, I’ve had to pay out no allowance the last month.  Besides, chores build character.  How many of you out there had to do chores as a kid and didn’t even get an allowance?  I wager I wasn’t the only one.  Still, too bad we’re muggles.  House elves would be a good compromise.

Any way, I’ve managed to get the spud to her dad’s which was a nearly herculean task what with packing a summer’s worth of belongings, wrangling the travel plans and milking the ol’ money tree for the cash to get us there.  Now I just have to worry about getting her at the end of the summer.  That and what the theme for the next secret message will be…

July 6, 2012

Task Mistress Day 87; Task 17 out of 101/1001

by Janie Jones

17.  Get a physical before my insurance expires in September. (4/11/12;  5/31/12)

As some of you may recall from “Boobie Prizes,” June 1, 2012.  I had my physical.  Not only was I sent for a mammogram, but I was sent for back x-rays because of my chief complaint of pain in my back.  Figures, I’d develop back pain just as I got my neck pain under control.  Anyway, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thoracic spine (to go along with last years diagnosis of arthritis in my cervical spine, or neck).  I was also given the name of an awesome chiropractor.  He popped me and twisted me and made me feel a lot better.  However, he also made me feel every bit as guilty as I should about my life style in the past couple of years.  Too sedentary,  too much stress, and too much food.


As if I needed another reason to get on to Tasks #21, 22, 29-30, and 43.