Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three Cats vs One Canary

I have a lot to do but I have to tell this one real quick.
Buck is on his way to India as we speak for nearly a month, business trip. He called me Saturday; the heat in his building went out and it was bitter cold with no landlord in sight. Could I mind the canary while he was gone? He was worried that if he didn't get it out fast it would get sick and die (they are really sensitive to drafts).
Enter Bandit, the little yellow guy with the black mask on his eyes like the Lone Ranger. Buck set the huge cage on the floor and Sorcha started sniffing- then Bandit moved and you should have seen the look on her face: eyes dilated, whiskers twitching, ear forward... We quickly cleared the dining room table and placed Bandit up (the leaves come out and it folds into a narrow table. We moved all the nearby furniture away. He is near sunlight, out of drafts and a heat register is right near him.
Sunday I spent the day chasing the cats from jumping on the edge of the table (there really is no room but they are determined). I am working on my poster presentation- due next week but draft due tomorrow, trying to set up organizational charts in Powerpoint so I can illustrate treatment arms and graph outcomes of studies.
I set up shop on the cushy chair where I study, near Bandit. I have candles around, had my puter playing Irish music while I type and Sorcha likes to snuggle behind my head. Well, every time a song sung by Katie McMahon of Anuna comes on (she has a really high soprano), Bandit would sing and flit around the cage like a maniac. I played several different sopranos and he goes berserk for Katie. He got so animated, Sorcha leaped from behind my head and landed on the 8 inches of table not covered by cage. Unfortunately for her, there was a lit candle there (next to the squirt bottle I kept squirting them with, apparently it isn't the deterrent I had hoped). She leaped off the table and tore up the stairs as I registered scorched fur smell. I tore after her, thinking she was on fire and ready to set the whole damn house up. She raced around, ending up on Buck's bunk- she stunk but was unhurt and not on fire, but she had big clumps of wax on her fur from the candle. I could hear her licking all night even tho I managed to cut most of them off.
After all the excitement, she left the bird be for the most part. But at 1 am I heard the unmistakable thump of a cat falling off the table again.
This morning he was waking up and cheerful and chirping.
This evening I got home and he seemed happy to see me- chirped back at me. Cats were lying around being nonchalant. When I came back in with the mail, I saw something bright glittering from the top of the cage. It was a collar- the kind that come off when a cat gets his head stuck somewhere. The big tag read "Cujo". I swear the bird was snickering.
I sat down in the cushy chair to work after supper and I noticed that on the back of Bandit's water dish (hung on the inside of the cage) is a huge chunk of cat fur- beige and fluffy (Cujo).
Bandit may be holding his own for now, but I think I am going to stop off and buy a hook and eye lock tomorrow. Bandit's moving to a safer location.
Bird 2 Kitties 0. Go Bird!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Footprints in the Snow

I woke up really early on Saturday because I had to work and it had been snowing when I went to bed. I let Sorcha out while I thawed my english muffin, and went out with her to warm my car up. I decided to clean the windows of snow and enjoy the morning.
I noticed that there were footprints in the snow. I looked at them and realized they went right up to my car's doors and did not walk past and out to the street. I looked more carefully and deduced very quickly- a car had pulled in sometime in the night. Someone got out and tried first the passenger, then the driver side doors to get into my car. Unsuccessful, he/she headed toward the back yard where my neighbors' cars are. The light on the motion sensor must have sprung to life, because the footprints stop and the car backed up, he/she got in and it drove off.
I called the local police and they investigated and pretty much concurred with my deduction.
I guess I am lucky because they didn't smash anything, they didn't try and break into my house and nobody is hurt. But it put me greatly ill at ease for the whole day, and I ended up being so jumpy. Every time my friend entered the IV room, I jumped, and I cut my fingers three times on syringes and glass ampules.
People who assault other people's belongings and violate their security suck.
I know they won't get caught, but I hope their karma catches up to them.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pearls without wisdom

A big thing in our learning is the professors imparting what they call "Clinical Pearls". These are things that don't make it into the books but are imparted by persons with more clinical experience and are based on years of observation. Some of my experience as a mom, as a player in the public health in my community, or as a social worker gave me a boost that many of our students didn't have, but frankly, my experience didn't help me a lot in school, so hopefully it will in practice.
Anyhow, pearls were always a big thing when I was younger- few people I knew owned real pearls, but almost all the women had fake pearl necklaces. Some people had pearl earrings. A Southern belle type moved into our neighborhood and wore her pearls all the time- we got a kick out of that. Then at Christmas in '86 when my dad had his really big heart attack and we didn't think he'd make it, we kicked into high gear. He had just started painting the house's interior, so we did it all. And for Christmas, he and Mom gave all three of us pearl necklaces. I was so shocked I couldn't even talk. They were so beautiful- like they are alive. The lucre, the sheen and polish was so lovely. And it gets more beautiful the more you wear them- the oils from your skin polish the lucre on the pearl. I don't wear them as much as I should but I wear them as often as I think of it.
My friend Melissa worked at a jewelry supply company for a while and learned how to make all kinds of cool stuff (she is sooo talented, she is Martha Stewart without the attitude!) She used a lot of glass beads and pearls, and her earrings and necklaces were so nice I started buying them for presents.
When I went to Hawaii, Kate took me to this store that sells pearls that are irregular shapes and sizes; some are dyed. I liked them so much I bought a handful, then the next day I went back and bought more.
I wanted to have Melissa make me earrings for Christmas gifts, but she has a new job and was too busy. She told me what to buy for supplies and how to make them. My mom was very ill and was in the hospital for four days, so I didn't get to it before Christmas. Right after, I took out the stuff and gradually I got the knack. The other night, I talked to my sis for an hour or so, and I whipped out 8 pair of earrings while we chatted.
I liked the funky, irregular ones the best. The colors were stupendous- some were bright and some just subtle. I made several pair for me too-I didn't buy myself any souvenirs, so this is my treat.
So I have yet another new avocation-I can make some pretty nice earrings. I should be studying and doing more of my school work, but I had my fling with pearls, and now I can turn my attention to tyrosine kinase inhibitors with a fresh outlook and a clear conscience.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Information Diva

This is totally funny to me but I have a new occupation. I was messing around on Yahoo a few days ago and I saw this thing called Yahoo Answers where people can ask questions and everyone can answer. Some of them were totally smartass and some very practical. So I posed a question about stale chocolate and then surfed a bit. I answered a question I saw, and then another, and then a few more. The next day I looked on my email and was told that out of seven questions I answered, four of them were chosen as Best Answer by the asker.

So that piqued my interest some more and I went on again last night and did a few more. I had three more best answers by this evening.

My favourite was one I did today about how to throw a tea party for 12 ten-year olds. I channeled Mrs. Aloysius Smythe III, for those of you who remember my famous tea party back when I did day care for Heidi's kids. I would be proud to have the Mrs. be my next best answer. She was, after all, one of my greatest creations.

So check out the Yahoo Answers - under my skier nick- sceanaim- and say hello to the Mrs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year Resolutions

Yeah yeah everyone makes 'em and breaks 'em. Usually I avoid them.
But I hereby declare that in '07 I shall:
  • Drink more water. I never drink enough water, and now I understand how important H2O is biologically.
  • Eat more fruit. I eat my veggies pretty often but I need to eat more fruit.
  • Take my calcium. I know that if you have osteoarthritis (and I do), you don't get osteoporosis, but I also know I don't metabolize minerals properly. Calcium is absorbed best along with food and the recommended daily requirement is 1200 milligrams and 400 International Units of Vitamin D for a woman my age (somewhere between the Age of Aquarius and the age when I can collect Social Security!). If I take one tablet in the morning and one with dinner, I can get the rest in my diet, since most of my proteins come from cheeses & legumes.
  • Take my iron at least five times a week. Normal people look at iron as a drain clogger. Me, it's the opposite- it passes through me so fast, I can barely function on it. However, my hematocrit is a struggle to keep above 25. I feel better when my crit is up; I like having energy. I need the help of the mineral to get there.
OK that's a good start. I want to add in walk more and add weight-bearing and stretches, but for the next few months I face a commute in the dark both ways and regular is a word that won't happen until graduation. So for now we start on building healthy cells and energy. And that's a good start to a starting year.

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