Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

July 28, 2021

One year later and all is well

by Janie Jones

Greetings to anyone still out there. It’s been almost a whole year since I’ve added a post. And, to be honest, I haven’t really given blogging a moment of thought. Sorry all.

The last year was very busy. I will not sport with your time or sensibilities and give you a recap. Suffice to say, I am well. The spud is well. Leif is well. And, the dogs are also well.

In the big news arena, I defended my master’s thesis exactly two weeks ago and passed. I am done! Yay! I was offered a fellowship with Sea Grant, which actually started about three weeks before I defended, so it hasn’t really sunk in that I am done.

As I am still in “recovery” mode, I am not really sure what will happen next. But, I just thought I’d let anyone out there who might be wondering “What the heck happened to Janie?” that all is well.

I don’t know if there will ever be an urge to return to blogging regularly. We will see. But seriously, once again WordPress, this new updated version sucks.

Best wishes to you all!

Janie Jones, Master of Environmental Education


August 3, 2020

The beauty of boring

by Janie Jones

Hello all.

Well, the new blog was a bust.

After keeping it up for a few weeks I realized I had run out of things to say, and it lost its allure.  Besides, I got to thinking, no one really could be interested in such boring posts anyway.  I mean, if I am bored with it how could other people not be?

So, I am back here.  Sort of.  Just wanted everyone to know that all is well.  COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be a huge issue in my corner of the world, so far at least, and my summer has been busy with the normal, boring stuff of life.  Which, is not a complaint.  It is actually a pleasure.

I have a new summer job which I enjoy very much.  I have great co-workers.  It’s work from home with flexible hours for the most part.  I wish it was a permanent thing, but it is only temporary.

I have been continuing to work in tick monitoring and doing some Lyme outreach.  Our group has been asked to make a community outreach video about our work, and the bulk of this task has fallen to me to coordinate.  Parts of that have been fun, but time consuming.  This year I have trained up several undergraduates so we can monitor tick population and activity on a weekly basis, which has given us a much better data set.  Earlier on in July two undergraduates and I also built six tick traps which we plan to use bi-weekly or monthly.  The traps are actually working pretty well, but are a bit of a pain in the butt as you have to buy dry ice for them, and then they need to be carried around to various locations, left for about 18 hours and then they need to be gathered back up and inspected.  Nothing worth doing was ever easy.

I was supposed to be working on writing my thesis, but have been distracted by a great many things (obviously not by compulsive blogging, however) and have made little or, to be honest, no progress on that front.

Now I am anxiously waiting to hear whether COVID-19 will keep schools closed this fall in my neck of the woods and whether I will lose my graduate school funding.  Fingers crossed that life stays boring!!!

The spud has been summering with her dad and step mom.  Apparently they did a little road trip and the spud took horseback riding lessons and finished her basic SCUBA certification.  Yay spud!  She is going to be 16 this December, so learning to drive will likely be next summer’s activity; unless we tackle that during the school year.  While it is a bit scary to think I will have to turn over the car keys, on the other hand, I am greatly looking forward to not having to chauffeur her around to things as much.

Leif turned 50 this July.  We talked about how to celebrate, but in the end we just stayed at home and grilled rib eyes and corn on the cob and ate our weight in watermelon.  I also made a gigantic punch bowl full of potato salad and a cheesecake with Key lime curd  and homemade whip cream topping, which melted because it was stupid hot that day.  I can assure you, however, it tasted quite fine just the same.

Because I have been too lazy to dig out the air conditioner units and put them in the windows, this summer we have melted ourselves through an Aliens movie marathon, all three seasons of Stranger Things and the first two seasons of MI5.  Leif is hot and heavy into Sharpe, but although it is refreshing to see Sean Bean not die, I am take-it-or-leave it.

I planted three variety of tomatoes, a cucumber, celery, kale, Swiss chard and potatoes.  The Swiss chard is kicking butt, but the others are not harvest-able yet.  That said, they are growing well.  I am eagerly awaiting a few dozen tomatoes to finally turn red, and my cucumber is loaded with flowers.  My taste buds are tantalized.

So.  As you can see, nothing terribly exciting going on.  But then again, a normal, boring life does have some of it’s own advantages and comforts.

Hope if you have had an exciting summer it has been for all the best reasons and not due to side effects or direct effects of the pandemic.



November 27, 2018

My favorite time of year

by Janie Jones

I love late fall and early winter.  I love when the air becomes cool and crisp and the leaves change color, then fall and finally the snow blankets everything in white.

I love the holidays.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and finally Christmas.

Halloween decor goes up the end of September and then comes down November first.  Here in the great white north the first snows come early, so Christmas lights go up outside early in November before it gets too cold or too deep in snow.  Then, generally, indoor Christmas decorations go up directly after Thanksgiving.  Gift wrapping begins, holiday fudge making starts, Christmas music plays, holiday cards get addressed, sent and received in return, and sugar plums begin to dance in my head.  Stuck in between Thanksgiving gluttony and Christmas revelry is my birthday, and this year I am taking a personal day to treat myself with some final holiday shopping, and to spend some gift cards I’ve been hoarding.  Stickittoyou U gives us all a large number of days off for the holidays, so there is time off to look forward to at the end of December, as well as feasting and finally, the unwrapping of all those presents.

Three wonderful months of twinkling lights, fanciful decor, anxious anticipation, good food, fun with family and friends and abundant good cheer.  It comes and goes so quickly.  I am anxious for all the Christmas revelry, just one month away, but at the same time I don’t want it to come and go and be over for another year!



November 25, 2018


by Janie Jones

Last Thursday was the Thanksgiving holiday here in America.  I love Thanksgiving almost as much as Christmas.  Primarily, I love Thanksgiving because I get a 4-day weekend, and I can spend it eating all my favorite things and preparing for Christmas.

Stickittoyou U gives all it’s students and employees Thanksgiving Thursday and the following Friday off, and this year I splurged and used a vacation day to take the Wednesday before off as well.  I spent Wednesday cleaning.

And, when I say cleaning, I mean, cleaning.  I vacuumed, I mopped, I steam cleaned rugs, I did laundry, I scrubbed the bathroom, I took out trash and recycling.  I changed the linens on the bed and washed all the throw blankets on the living room furniture.  And, when all of that was done I made apple and pumpkin pie from scratch for the holiday.

Does that sound like the most wonderful holiday ever?  Oddly, for me it was.  I have been so very happy this week because what I love the most is to be a housewife and do all that housewife-y stuff.  Very little makes me feel as content and proud as making a clean, tidy and beautiful home.  I will confess, I don’t like to dust, but most household chores are very therapeutic and, if not exactly fun, are deeply satisfying.  I almost get giddy with joy when I survey a linen closet of neatly stacked and tightly folded sheets and towels.  I love the look of a gleaming bathroom faucet, and the wide open real estate of a bare table and empty countertops.  And, I must also confess that I do sometimes do a little skipping happy dance when I survey a messy room that has been wrestled back into a sense of order suitable for a Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot.  I don’t get much chance to do that stuff anymore.  Between working full time, and now having a part time job as well, volunteering and before that when I was a student there just isn’t time to do the things that really give me a deep sense of personal contentment and satisfaction.  Sad.

But this week was happy because I got to do all of it.  I cooked my little butt off on Thursday and we had all the traditional stuff, just me and Leif.  So there are containers upon containers of delicious left overs.  Which means there was little cooking needing to be done the rest of the holiday weekend.  Happy face.

Friday for me is not about shopping.  Usually I am 90% done with Christmas shopping before Black Friday rolls around.  I stay in these days and set up all the holiday decorations.  Friday night I sat back and drank rum punch with Leif and admired my clean house and how pretty it is with all the holiday decor and sparkling lights.  I remembered how just last year at this time my house was still a construction zone.  I don’t know if I can explain how both physically and emotionally painful it is for someone like me to live in chaos, ugliness and disarray.  Living so many years without a real home, and the first year in my new house, it was all about just surviving.  There was very little harmony in my living arrangement and that was a huge stress factor.  I have to have a good home to be my best self.   There’s still a lot undone but, all in all, I’ve come a long way.  That, my friends, is a good feeling.   And, sitting there, sipping punch, in my new, mostly remodeled, fresh and clean home watching the twinkling lights play on the red and green and gold and silver ornaments on my Christmas tree was the best Black Friday gift I could have gotten myself.

Saturday was cleaning day part deux.  My dear Rupert in his advanced age became rather less concerned about where he did his business and the whole waiting to be let out thing, and started using the basement and laundry room as his potty grounds.  I tried to clean up his messes right away, but I have no doubt that I missed some pee puddles.  So everything came out of the laundry room and the place was thoroughly swabbed with 100% disinfectant.  The previous owners of my abode have wall to wall carpet in the main room of the basement.  Having run out of remodeling money, the basement is still rather a catch-all for renovation supplies and things I don’t know what to do with yet.  It also is storage central and my exercise area.  Eventually I want to get rid of that carpet, but for now I just liberally doused the carpet with carpet sanitizer and then ran the carpet cleaner over the areas not covered with piles of stuff until there was no more suds from the sanitizer.  The waste water never really ran clean, hence, I still plan to get rid of the carpet, but that will have to be a project for another time.  Until then, I’m hoping the liberal application of cleanser will get rid of the smell of pet potty.  It was gross, sweaty work, but it was very satisfying.  I had to haul out quite a bit of trash and organize a lot of stuff that was just dumped here and there during the various phases of remodel and unpacking, so it not only smells better down there, but it looks a lot better too.

This morning I have chores to do.  Bills to pay and I have to do some work for my part time job.  But first I walked the dogs, it was cold and crisp and even though the sun was out there were these lovely, fat, flakes of snow lazily drifting down from the sky.  I felt happy watching the dogs prance and play in the park.  I felt happy coming home to a warm house and left over apple pie and ice cream for breakfast.  And, I decided to take a few minutes and put out this post so I could capture this happy moment and bask in my gratitude for where I am today.

Although 2018 in general was a rather sucky year in Janedom, I am thankful that I can see the year out with a clean house.  And, it is my house.  I had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and lots of leftovers to fill my belly and tickle my taste buds.  I have sweet dogs who love me, and Leif and I are happier in each other’s company than ever.  I may not have much, but at least this year, I can say I have the love of good people and good dogs, a full belly and over flowing refrigerator, my very own home, and the bills got paid.   As the Rolling Stones so poignantly said, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes if you try you might find you get what you need.

After all is said and done, I have everything I need right now, I am very thankful and proud of that accomplishment.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

Love Janie Jones


June 25, 2018

So bummed

by Janie Jones

A couple weeks ago I played hooky from work to go on a second job interview for a research study I really wanted to be a part of, no mouse work, and only 4 days a week!!  The first interview seemed to go well.   I was particularly excited because I had a lot of relevant prior experience and they called me for the second interview just two days later.  I thought the second interview went really well, too.  I felt very comfortable with the interviewers, who would be my co-workers, and thought everything felt like it was “clicking.”

Today I got my generic you suck letter.



March 21, 2018

Pancakes for dessert, and for dinner, and for breakfast…

by Janie Jones

Recently, in one of my magazines, there was a recipe for buttermilk pancakes.  For some reason, it sounded particularly good.  So a few weeks ago when Leif was visiting I made some for breakfast.  We gobbled them up, they were really good.  So good I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

Last Sunday I made another batch for my dinner, with strawberries, bananas and whip cream, even though it was just me.  The other day I had some of the leftovers with strawberries and chocolate ganache as a dessert when my sweet tooth was running rampant.  And this morning I had some as “pancake tacos” stuffed with sugar and blackberries on the way out the door.

Normally I’m not really that big a pancake fan.  But something about these, they are just, wow.

April 18, 2017

Please cross your fingers for me

by Janie Jones

I have officially started the house hunt.  I have already picked through several dozen houses online and physically visited 11.

Last night I found one I like!  It is a little farther out from work than I had hoped but, in reality, my budget sort of prices me out of my most desired neighborhoods.  Still my commute should be under 20 minutes, which is quite acceptable.  I’m just spoiled by living seven minutes from campus these past three years.  It has well preserved hardwood floors and wood-work trim on the main level and a very grand staircase with a solid wood banister.  The home is a little outdated color and interior design wise, but everything appears to be in good shape.  It comes with all the standard appliances; washer, dryer, fridge, dishwasher, stove.  The bathroom is a little small, but it has a charming claw-foot tub.  And there is a lovely little fenced in yard with what looks like a new deck and a partial view of the harbor down the hill.  In short, it has everything I need and many of the things I want.

My realtor is going to put together an offer today.

If the sellers accept the offer, I will order an inspection.

If the inspection goes well, we will settle on a closing date and my financing will go to underwriting.  I have been told I am “pre-qualified” so now I have to cross my fingers and hope that nothing unexpected gets between me and my potential future home.

I will write more when I know more.

Please send any good wishes you can spare my way.