Archive for ‘I Have A Strange Feeling’

March 19, 2020

Keeping tabs

by Janie Jones

Hello everyone.

I just read a post from Sarsm, and it made me think outside of my four walls.  So many of you in the blogosphere are emotionally near and dear, and being as how you are spread out across the globe, please spare a minute occasionally and let us know how you are doing in the wake of COVID-19.

So far we have been fortunate as there have been no cases reported by authorities in my neck of the great white north.  However, our local officials are being proactive and schools have been shut down and many businesses are closing or reducing hours to limit large gatherings.  Many programs are popping up to help people obtain food and maintain wages if their workplace is closed.  Stickittoyou U has cancelled all in-person events and mandated all non-essential employees to stay home.  I am fortunate that the vast majority of my work can be done from home, so I am not financially affected at this time.

Our primary and secondary schools have also shut down.  For the time being all lessons are suspended, but schools are to resume at the end of the month using online learning methods, and it sounds like they will remain that way for the rest of the school year.  I don’t know what this will look like exactly for the spud, but I am glad she will not have to be riding the public bus to school every day.

So, the spud and I are doing our best to stay at home and have supplies delivered as much as possible.  Even if we were to catch the virus, we are probably not at high risk for complications beside severe flu symptoms.  But Leif has a lot of other complicating health issues, so we worry about him.  And we worry about our other friends and family members who are also in high risk groups or areas where the virus is hitting hard.

It has been a very surreal time, but we are trying to stay calm and do what we can to be as safe as possible.  I just wanted to check in with everyone out there.  Please let me know how you are doing!  I will try to check in regularly, and I hope you will find a way to pause in the midst of adjusting to the new normal yourselves and keep up with your bloggy buddies.

My best wishes that you, your family and friends all whether this crisis with good health.






May 16, 2018

What alien snatched my brain?

by Janie Jones

So, a very weird thing happened a little while ago.

I was walking down a long empty hall with a slight ramp.  Suddenly, I had this giddy urge to run as hard as I could.

I NEVER have the urge to run.

An alien body snatcher must have stolen the real me.

February 21, 2018

Umm. I kinda think that’s stealing

by Janie Jones

So, I go outside this morning to walk the dog and as I leave I notice foot prints in the snow coming from the neighbor’s front yard up to the side of my house.

This sets my spidey sense tingling.  Why would someone walk through the neighbor’s yard and up to the side of my house.  Peeping tom?

Then I remember that yesterday the neighbor was out front working on his ten-thousand year old blazer.  It occurs to me that he might have been using my electricity for jumping, or whatever, his truck.

Now, it’s just a little electricity.  And, I know the neighbors are feeling some hard times.  So, part of me thinks I should just let it go.  But then, there’s the principle of the thing.  It is basically stealing to take something from some one without permission.  Despite my propensity to be forgiving, I also don’t want to give the impression that they can just take whatever they want of mine whenever.

These neighbors, let’s call them the Smiths.  As it happens, the Smiths are kind of your stereotypical white trash (can I say that or does that make me some sort of bigot/racist/non-politically correct asshole?).  Some of my friends who have a clue say they smell various illicit substances wafting from the Smith’s dilapidated house.  Frequently Mrs. Smith can be heard hollering at Mr. Smith, or the Smith step-children of late adolescent/early adulthood years, using language so colorful a sailor would blush.  Not less than three times emergency services has been to the Smith residence since last fall, and I have seen Mrs. Smith carted off in an ambulance twice.  Also, last fall Mr. Smith was often to be found burning trash in their yard (this is within city limits and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to burn trash as well as the aforementioned illicit substances).  And then there’s the young people of not so favorable appearance who wander up and down the alley to the Smith’s place at strange times of night and day leaving  me to wonder what type of business they garner their meager income from or, how they squander their welfare dollars.

Any way, up until last Thanksgiving Mr. Smith was very friendly and regardless of the hinky-ness I have just described I was prepared to be understanding as long as they kept to their property and I to mine.  Then, just before the holiday he sold Leif an old wood stove.  I guess then he figured he could come and try and sell off other items to make some quick cash, as he came around twice more peddling various things.  Again, to be neighborly and helpful to a less fortunate individual, I bought some nice army surplus gloves off of him, but that was it.

After I made it clear I wasn’t interested in buying anything else, the week before Thanksgiving he shows up begging to use my internet so he can access his unemployment benefits with this sad sack story about his miserable marriage, being laid off and being broke.  I did feel for the guy, so I agreed to let him have a guest pass code to my internet until Christmas.  I laid out terms that his access would be limited to the hours I was at work and only Monday through Friday.  I reserved the right to revoke the pass code if I saw any other devices using it besides his iPhone.  I gave him a list of local places that gave free internet access and said, that come December 26th, the pass code would be reset.  This was my attempt to be helpful and neighborly, but I was not prepared to be his free internet provider indefinitely.  He offered to barter for the use of the internet, but I declined any sort of barter.  I told him it was my good deed and a way to pay forward kindnesses done for me when I was down on my luck.

Curiously, a few days after Thanksgiving, someone stole some change and a broken Amazon fire stick out of my car in my garage.  And, Mr. Smith hasn’t spoken to me since except one brief comment on the weather when I ran into him shoveling while I was walking the dog.  I have no proof, but my instincts tell me either Mr. Smith or one of the weirdos that come and go from the Smith residence was responsible for the theft.

I have had no real opportunity to bring the subject up even casually, but naturally as I had no proof I would never pointedly question Mr. Smith about it.  In general, I don’t think Mr. Smith is the worst of the problem, I think it’s Mrs. Smith, the step-children and wanderers-by who are the ones to really worry about.  And, in such cases with weirdos, it seems like the best policy to keep on cordial terms lest I become a target of more flagrant acts of theft, vandalism or antagonism.

So, now this thing happens with the electricity.  I have a timer on that outlet with lights.  It gets dark here early in the winter, and I am up early in the dark to walk the dog, so I have my holiday lights still come on at dusk and off at 10pm, then back on at 4am until dawn.  I feel it is the height of audacity to “borrow” someone’s electricity without permission and then on top of it to unplug their own cords to do it.  And, not only is it is audacious to do so, but in the winter here you leave a trail in the snow announcing to the world you were trespassing and using my electricity.  Does that not really strike anyone else as bold and inappropriate?

What do you think?  Should I be worried?

November 7, 2015

Just call me Dr. Jones. Some day. Maybe.

by Janie Jones

So, today was a hallmark date.

I officially began my graduate school application process.  It took the better part of the day.  I had to dig up unofficial transcripts from high school and 4 different colleges I’ve attended over the years.  I had to fill out a ton of forms, write an essay about why I want to get my PhD, another about what qualities I would bring to the graduate school, and I had to send letters to people asking for recommendations.  Before I can complete my application I need to get my GRE scores and I need to get confirmation that the people who I ask for recommendations are willing to give them.  Then, I send $75.  If the graduate school thinks I am worthy, then I have to get all official transcripts from my high school and all the 4 colleges I’ve attended sent in.  After that, if my official transcripts confirm I’m still worthy, by April I should know if I will be allowed to torture myself for another 3-5 years in pursuit of my PhD.

It is sort of daunting.  I have to admit, there have been a lot of days in the past year or so when I have doubted whether I want to commit to more time in school.  I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  Most people say it’s tough.  Then again, calculus was tough.  Physics was tough.  I’ve been on the tough circuit this past couple of years.  I haven’t always performed as brilliantly as I’d have hoped, and I am quite tired.  As Forrest Gump would say, “I’m kinda tired.  I think I’ll go home now.”  But I have no home to go to, so I guess I might as well keep on running this race and, in just a few more years I could hold the ultimate academic title.  Knowing I am this close, I don’t think I could be satisfied with not going the full distance if the powers that be in the admissions office will let me in.

And I think they will.  I mean, I just have this feeling.  I hope it’s not bullshit, but I do think I could do well in graduate school.  I don’t know why I feel this way exactly.  I just really think this is what I’m supposed to do.  Sure, I don’t know everything.  I certainly haven’t maintained that A average.  But I have yet to give up, and science is 90% being too stubborn to quit even when you have no clue what you’re doing- yet.  That’s the beauty of being a scientific researcher.  You don’t have to know everything.  If you did, you wouldn’t have a job anymore.  Research in science is all about not letting what you don’t know stop you.  You learn along the way, and the more you learn, the more you realize there’s a ton you don’t know, and so you do more research.

And “we” don’t know a lot of things yet about Lyme disease and the bacteria responsible for it.  I can do a lot toward a doctoral dissertation studying them little bugs.

So, cross your fingers for me.  Pray I don’t have to blog 5 months from now that I’m a washed out, has been, PhD wannabe.

It would be way cooler if some day you could be telling all your friends you read the blog of the famous Dr. Jones who discovered a way to prevent Lyme Disease and cure chronic Lyme Disease back when she was a strung out, neurotic undergrad.

Heh.  Paging Dr. Jones….

August 19, 2015

Pride, Responsibility and Integrity

by Janie Jones

I’m feeling a little unsettled today.

I got an email from someone at Stickittoyou U yesterday.  Apparently they want to interview me about my scholarships and grants.

This year I’m getting in excess of $14,000 of “free” money, meaning I don’t have to pay it back, for tuition and school related expenses.  Most are need-based, but some are merit based and have minimum GPA requirements.  These funds will cover about 90% of my tuition, books and fees.

Yes, it rocks.  Yes, I’m extremely grateful.  Yes, I do feel honored and lucky.  And yes, I’ve worked very hard to get the best grades I can to be worthy and have applied for up to 50 some scholarships for this year.  But, there is a part of me that is also very embarrassed and ashamed to not be able to support myself and my daughter without all this need based funding.

It feels very much like being interviewed and having my story pasted all over the school homepage and “other uses” is trying to make me seem like someone of distinction to be honored and looked up to when I have done nothing but find myself too poor to make my own way in the world and too under-educated to get the good paying jobs (ie, more than minimum wage) that would allow me to live an average middle class life I was accustomed to before “life” happened.

Sure, everyone needs a hand up once and a while and people and organizations who give out scholarship and grant money are trying to acknowledge and help us who are less fortunate better ourselves.  But, it seems to me if you have a proper sense of pride, self respect and integrity you should be celebrating the donors, not the people who have done nothing but accept their generosity.

While many people fail to see my side of this issue, awards ceremonies and interviews just drive home my shame in being unable to provide for myself.  It feels like celebrating my failure.  I have done nothing to deserve to be celebrated, yet.  Everyone, in my opinion should strive to better themselves, what I’m doing is not special, or unique.  It should be normal, average, and expected.

So, I do thank the donors.  It allows me to do what I have to in order to be a better person and one day again be able to provide for myself and my family.  But I’m not there yet.  Currently I’m a hot mess of stress, frustration, panic, fear, longing, exhaustion, and insecurity.  It’s too soon to see beyond the struggle.  I am grateful for the help but it’s way too soon to see anything in my situation for praise or admiration and I don’t want to be an object of pity either.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and go about my business.  Why is that so weird to the world?

September 19, 2014

“Hey there, Boo-Boo! Whaddaya think of this pic-a-nic basket?”

by Janie Jones

All the years I lived in Tinyflyspeck Town in the Great White North where large tracks of woods, parks and unused spaces predominated, I only saw one bear.  It was running across the interstate near the national forest, a good 30 miles from my house.

Then I take a room in Big City.  I’ve been here almost 4 weeks.  Now, I’m not in the big “downtown” area, but still, the neighborhood I’m in doesn’t include much in the way of large forested areas, just a little bit of an incline on a deep lot with some tree cover between homes to the back of the house I’m living in, and is much more populated and has way more traffic than where I lived previous.  And what do you think?

The other night we had a bear to dinner.

One of the guys living upstairs called me around 7pm.

GLU:  Janie, I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I need you to come upstairs and open the front door.  There’s a black bear outside.

Me:  A bear you say? (walking up the stairs trying to digest this information)

Me:  Stars and stripes!  (looking out the back door window) There’s a bear eating out of our trash bin!  Okay.  You want me to do what?

GLU:  Open the front door, I’m going to come in that way so I don’t have to walk past the bear.

Me:  Oh, yeah, right.  Good idea.

So, naturally as soon as I unlocked the front door I ran for my phone and tried to get a few pictures.

bear cropped 2

bear cropped 1

I should have spent the extra time looking for my real camera, because these photos suck.  But there you have it.  Yogi noshing on our trash.  In the middle of Big City.  Not on Leif’s farm, and not in Tinyflyspeck Town.  In the middle of the Big freakin’ City.

Now, I don’t really like to make a big deal out of it, but it is a bear, and well, not something that seems wise to tangle with; I mean it is a little disconcerting to think I could head out early one morning and if not paying attention walk smack dab into Yogi and Boo-Boo dining al-fresco.

I apparently have more paranoia about it than I thought, though.  Last night I dreamed about a bear siege-ing my house.  And then, when I finally thought it was gone, I went to go outside but it was already coming into the house through an unlocked door.  So, I threw my purse at it in hopes of distracting it, and ran into the bathroom and locked the door.  Once inside the bathroom my dream self chastised itself because when I threw my purse I lost my cell phone with it and had no way to call Animal Control for help.

So, I guess the moral to this story is that bears apparently like Big City life.  They must find the dining opportunities vastly superior to those encountered in small towns and the historic homelands deep within the woods.  I guess I can’t blame them, I would have to agree.

August 22, 2013

Thursday Quote Du Jour #6: Apropos

by Janie Jones

This one came to me through WordPress as I posted my last post.  It made me laugh at the timing as well as the accuracy of the quote.

The scariest moment is always just before you start.

Stephen King

Monday fall semester starts.  My biggest fear?  More than one of my classes get dropped.  Well at least that’s my biggest school related fear.

Cross your fingers for me, if you will, and let’s hope none of my classes are dropped.  On my part, I’m do my best to muster enough hope and belief that this year is going to be better than last.