You’re probably wondering what the heck a Janet haul is.
There are probably better names out there for what this post is about and one of the runner ups was something to do with my shame and dishonour as a former Girl Guide who, whenever we would go on hikes, had to recite: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.
And I mean I didn’t kill anything (bugs excluded) and I don’t think I left anything other than footprints or potentially recyclable items in trash cans (this physically pained me BUT WHY DO NO STATES HAVE RECYCLE BINS?!). But I sure as heck took more than pictures. And I took more than my fair share of those too.
If you were a 90s kid or perhaps the parent or sibling of one, you might recall the very best episode (arguably only rivalled by the dinosaur episode… maybe the spooky music one) of one of the best nineties shows: Magic School Bus.
In “The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space”, Miss Frizzle’s class is joined by Arnold’s cousin… Janet.
I feel like Janet was universally disliked by pretty much everyone and it is not without slight embarrassment (and the complete repulsion of my eight-year-old self) that I confess I have some things in common with her.
You might remember this particular episode as the one where Arnold took off his spacesuit helmet while on Pluto (back when it was a recognized and appreciated actual planet) and his head froze solid. It terrified many a kindergartener back in the day, but what you might not remember is that this was done as follow through on an ultimatum Arnold presented to his cousin because she refused to get back on this bus without her giant pile of space junk.
While Janet was gathering the rocks and ice and space gas as proof that she had visited each of the planets, I did something a bit similar, I guess you could say.
Now, unlike Janet, I wasn’t collecting things as proof (I used the 2017 version of what Janet did in 1994– Instagram and Snapchat Stories) but moreso as potential DIY/ craft/ scrapbooking supplies.
When I was in Tofino back in April I collected a water bottle full of the Pacific Ocean, a ziplock bag full of sand, and this picture:
Tofino is not the most westerly point in North America (it’s in Alaska) or even in Canada (in the Yukon) OR BC (it’s waaay north) but it is a coastal town that looks out against the actual Pacific Ocean, not the Straight of Georgia/ Salish Sea that goes up against Vancouver’s coastline and carries (very overpriced) ferries from Vancouver Island to the Mainland and back. I have seen and been ferried across that water many times and while it sure smells like ocean… it’s not technically. So when I went camping in Tofino for the first time, I was seeing the wide open ocean too.
Fast forward a couple months and I did the same thing at Cape Spear, St. Johns, Newfoundland which is the most easterly point in North America because I wanted to mirror the two.
My original idea was to do something kind of like one of the very first things I ever pinned on Pinterest, where a couple got a vase and poured layers of sand from different beaches they went to throughout their relationship. It looks cool and is meaningful and I’m all about that. Then my plan was to blow up the pictures I took (these or other ones) and soak them in the water I collected and use it as a full scrapbook page. Then I found a thing where someone sealed sand in a pocket page. There were so many creative ideas coming to me (many fostered by good ol’ Pinterest) and I wanted to maximize the things I could do them with.
So… while my original plan was just to get sand, water, and a picture from the farthest points I was travelling… it kind of escalated when I saw my dad collecting water from the Athabasca Glacier. And then pretty much the entirety of the Atlantic provinces because everything there is out of this world.
So while I didn’t get bottles of space gas or asteroids, I did get pieces of Earth’s mantle from the tablelands in Newfoundland, some of the famous red and “singing sand” from PEI, a rock from the Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s biggest tides… and some shells that looked cool.
My water bottles filled with… water (almost accidentally drank out of many of these, many times) consists of water from the Columbia Ice Fields (it’s technically only snow runoff from last winter but shh), Lake Superior, Niagara Falls, Peggy’s Cove, Newfoundland’s Tablelands (where we walked on the Earth’s mantle), Atlantic Ocean (my original plan haha), and the Bay of Fundy at the Hopewell Rocks… which is the black, well… brown, sheep of the family.
Also, I just have to point out that while some people might not consider me a risk taker, all these bottles were stored in the same tote as my DVDs and books. Things could have gone really bad, really fast. I’m just a wild woman over here, ya know… totally taking “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy” to the next level.
Now while perhaps the original comparison to Janet collecting so much stuff that the magical bus couldn’t get off Pluto’s surface is closer to the amount of mugs I got (I was really close to taking a picture with them in the back on the truck reenacting the above one of Janet… still not ruling the possibility out), I think it’s kind of a fun link that I did collect kind of interesting parts of my country as I travelled across it, just as Janet did when she travelled across the solar system.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed my Janet Haul!
PS: Magic School Bus is available to watch on Netflix! They newly rebooted the series (a Netflix Original) and I did watch the first couple episodes… and I have thoughts. Janet does make an appearance though and I actually cheered because while she is totally the worst… she is also kind of the best.
PPS: RIP Pluto.