1/29/2017

I am (21st century) woman, hear me roar…

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 11:28 am

As I sit down at my sewing machine to spend a lazy Sunday puttering around with quilts and hats and things, these activities are being performed:
1. The bread maker is baking a loaf of bread.
2. The rice cooker is making up my breakfast oatmeal for next week.
3. The washer is washing dirty clothes and
4. The dryer is drying clean clothes.
AND
5. The Roomba is vacuuming the living room and dining room/kitchen.

I’m not sure if my feminist forebears would be cheering because I’m getting all of this stuff done at the same time as I’m doing something that I want to do, horrified at the lazy slattern their genes produced because I’m having machines do everything for me, or censorious because I really should be spending my Sunday at church instead of doing housework on a day of rest.

I am 21st century woman. Hear my appliances beep!

1/8/2017

Dear Teddy’s Old Fashioned Root Beer

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 1:28 pm

In 1992 or so I discovered the hard way that I’m allergic to almost every artificial sweetener except sucralose and saccharine. A sip or two of a soda sweetened with aspartame is enough to make my lips go numb and, if I don’t promptly stuff myself to the eyebrows with migraine medication, within a few minutes I’ll have flashing blue lights in my peripheral vision, sound and light sensitivity, and a headache you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Acesulfame potassium skips the numb lips and enhances the blue flashes. It’s really neat!

I have gotten into the habit of reading labels pretty carefully. Anything with a label on it that says “Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine.” gets dropped like it was hot (for those not in the know one of the metabolites of aspartame is a compound called phenylalanine which causes significant problems to those people who are subject to phenylketonuria). If a package says “DIET” I don’t come near it. If it reads “NATURALLY AND ARTIFICALLY SWEETENED” I don’t come near it. If it reads “LOW CALORIE” I don’t come near it.
So when I recently drank part of a bottle of Teddy’s Old Fashioned Root Beer and it didn’t have any of those labels on it, I figured I was okay.

I can understand the urge to put out a product that is partially sweetened with no-calorie sweeteners. It’s a good product and it’s lower in calories than you’d expect. Win-win situation, right?

And yes, I accept the fact that I bear some responsibility here. With my sensitivities, and especially after having been burned by Wrigley’s gum while on a trip to Scotland, you think I’d be in the habit of reading the whole label of anything I haven’t tried before. I am in the habit of doing do and I do generally read the whole label. In this case though it wasn’t I that picked up the bottle of Teddy’s. My husband offered to share his soda with me and since it wasn’t labeled as “diet” “low calorie” or “artificially sweetened” he figured it was safe for me to drink.

I submit that any product which has high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient should be more clearly labeled if it also includes artificial sweeteners. I don’t pretend to know a lot about people, but I’m pretty confident in saying that I think someone who is concerned enough about their calorie intake to seek out something that is artificially sweetened isn’t going to be real enthusiastic about a product that is loaded with high fructose corn syrup. And those of us who are on the natural sweetener bandwagon are going to be intensely grateful to not have to worry about gotchas in our sodas.

It was a good root beer though.

Sincerely,

12/31/2016

Well it has been, and will continue to be, an *interesting* year!

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 4:51 pm

New Years’ Eves I have known….

I’ve been pensive because a week or so ago I came to the realization that it was 20 years ago this month that I called my first boss at my First Job as A Grownup, got his wife, chickened out on actually speaking to HIM, and told her that I was leaving for Hawaii in two weeks and I wasn’t going to be coming back.
And, of course, I’ve been pensive about the state of American politics. If, by ‘pensive’ you understand that I’m saying “scared shitless of”.

I have, and probably will continue, to drone on and on and on and on and on about what a shithead Dr. First Boss was and what a horrid job that was. I’ll try not to here.
I was terrified. An assload of student loan debt, no job prospects despite having been looking for several months, and, thanks to Dr. Shithead, pretty much convinced that I shouldn’t be a veterinarian.
New Year’s Eve 1996 was spent on Oahu. That may have been the year we walked down the block and joined in at a party that one of Joan & Tony’s neighbors was holding where a _very_ many things were going kaboom. Or it may have been the year that we bought a lot of things that go kaboom ourselves and annoyed the snot out of the neighbors as well as scaring the living daylights out of a very young Caitlin (here’s a photo of her firstborn, Calvin, by the way)Calvin Lee Anthony

with sparkly spitting ground bloom flowers that went kaboom at the end. Scared the piss out of me too, the first time one went BANG when it was done spitting sparks.
Despite death, medical issues, moving, and general chaos, though, 1997 turned out to be a pretty decent year.

Let’s try another decade back.
Hm.
New Year’s 1986
I’d finished my first quarter at Evergreen and had the world ahead of me. I probably spent the evening with The Trompler Foundation burning things in Eric’s driveway and dancing around chanting ‘UBI’.
Halfway through Regan’s second term and hopeful that we were at least not going to get another four years of THAT when the next presidential election came around.
I loved being at Evergreen. The learning environment was exactly what I needed. I was excited by what I was learning (if not, precisely, the mechanics of learning it…. #readtoodamnmuchFreudforanyone’shealth) and planning for my future. A lot of things are possible when you’re 18.

New Year’s 1976?
Sheesh. Carter’s set to take the White House and I’m simply *aching* to get out of third grade. I probably tried to stay up until midnight and then was ticked the next morning when I realized I’d fallen asleep.

2006? Home. Family. Friends. A good fire, sacrificed Spam, and knowledge of the year to come. A little trepidation, a new job in the offing, two more years of Shrub, and the conviction that we could stand together and keep going. And we did, and I did.

Which, if I think about it, is an echo of where I’m at now (minus the ‘new job’ part)

Happy New Year y’all. Let’s see if we can at least achieve that.

12/19/2016

A blast from the past

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 9:27 am

Our hummingbird feeder had water in the ant moat which promptly froze overnight Friday night. The ice cracked the housing in which the hook is seated which meant that at any time the feeder might come crashing down out of the grape vines.
When we found this on Saturday morning we moved the feeder so it was sitting on the grill under the grape vines where it usually hangs, but that was only a temporary solution. We didn’t want the hummingbirds to get used to the feeder being there (seeing as we sometimes, y’know, actually USE the grill and would prefer not to be harassed when we have to move it), nor did we want the grill cover to become covered in hummingbird poo.

And it was a fairly urgent problem. We have Anna’s hummingbirds. Anna’s don’t migrate out of the PNW during the winter and they are, by far, the most stubborn, pig headed little feather brains I have yet to run across. If the feeder isn’t there we literally have birds hovering three inches away from the back door and in front of the kitchen window giving us the stink eye. Leave the feeder down for too long and the little idiots will dive bomb you when you go outside.

So Saturday afternoon I trotted down to our local Wild Birds Unlimited to get a new hummingbird feeder.

I walked into the store with eyes focused on the back corner where I knew the hummingbird feeders were displayed.
I was no more than about three steps into the store when I heard “Hi Peggy!”. A nickname I’ve not used in 30 plus years.

Screeching to a stop I looked around and saw a guy at the checkout counter. A nondescript dude, a little taller than me. Dressed in jeans and a jacket, some type of facial hair, maybe a hat, and probably an ear plug in his right earlobe (I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to details).
I stopped, fumbled… “Oh, hi! Um…..” I thought he looked a little like one of the Scotts (there were two or three dudes named Scott that hung in my group in high school) and I was about to say “Scott” when he chimed in with “Casey”.

Casey.
Right.
I mumbled something to him about it having been a long time, then was distracted by one of the bird groupies with whom I had a discussion about hummingbird feeders. By the time I got to the checkout he was gone.

Casey.
Casey? Maybe K.C.?

This was obviously someone I knew from junior high or high school. He can’t have been someone I knew from my summers as a camp counselor because I was going by Margaret by the time I was working at Sealth.
Saturday evening I trotted out my Bellevue Beacon (“Go Wolverines!” *GAK*) from 1986.
There were no guys named “Casey” in my graduating class from high school. I didn’t think about K.C. until later and I’ve been too busy to go back and look if there’s someone I knew with the initials “K.C.”. And I don’t think I’ll _ever_ want to have sufficient time to go back through the entire damn student body to see whether or not there was someone in one of the lower classes that I knew named “Casey” or with the initials “K.C.”

So Casey (or K.C.) from Burien Wild Birds Unlimited, if you’re out there I’d appreciate knowing who you are and how you know me.
There are some people from junior high or high school with whom I’ve lost contact that I’d like to contact again. Since I have no idea who you are I doubt you’re one of them, but either way I’d like the answer to the mystery.

12/14/2016

So Margaret, whadja do at work today?

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:48 pm

Oh not much.

Just this:

just this...

just this…

The dog’s head is on your right off camera. Ignore the blue stuff, that’s our surgical scrub.

Basically I removed the weight (and nearly size) equivalent of a gallon of milk off of this dog’s abdomen and thigh this morning.

When she went outside a couple hours after surgery to have a pee she was walking funny. I don’t think she knows how to walk without that thing in her way.

God I love surgery!

11/9/2016

And just because I’m three sheets to the wind….

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 6:48 pm

Because, well, That Man.

Well, That Man and two shots of rum in my Coke when I got home from work this afternoon.

*VERY deep inhale*

So I spent the summer in the garden, but in the middle of August our third doctor’s marriage imploded in some exotic fashion and she needed a job that was closer to her kids so we contracted from three doctors to two and I’ve been running my butt off ever since. Andrew had two surgeries on his left arm and is on the schedule for next Friday for two procedures on his right arm, and in between times we hosted Sara and Danny for most of a week and spent a good deal of time touristing around Seattle.

Including going to the Chihuly exhibit and garden at the Seattle Center.
I’ve never really been much of a Chihuly fan. I think a lot of his pieces look like the vomitus of one, or several, heavily drunk molten glass eating monsters. But at the exhibit I was actually able to find a fair number of pieces, generally the most simple ones, that I really liked
Comme ca:
img_1491
Sugar crystal candy

Native basket glass
Native Basket Glass 1

Et ca:

Native Basket Glass 2

Native Basket Glass 2

Sometimes it pays to play tourist in your own town.

And it was while we were at the Chihuly exhibit that we received news of the newest member of the fam!
Calvin Lee Anthony Hughes was born on the evening of 10/21/2016. Proud parents Caitlin Rachel Pomaika’i Hughes (Andrew’s middle niece) and her husband Cameron Hughes. Kiddo was 19 1/2 inches and 5.25 pounds at birth. Long skinny kid, that one!
And, come to think of it, why don’t I have any photos? Great Auntie (oh dear GOD I’m old!…. And a little tipsy, can you tell?) needs photos! And as soon as Great Auntie can get her head out of her ass she’ll be finishing, then sending along the quilts that are the kiddo’s welcome present, but there is a high likelihood that if I were to try and finish the one remaining unfinished quilt at this point I’d be sewing myself into the blanket and I don’t fit well into a flat rate mailer these days.

On the subject of being a tourist, though, I spent the weekend _after_ Sara and Danny were here in Atlanta. No, I didn’t get to see the historic, nor the flesh pots of Atlanta. I flew in Friday evening, had dinner with a bunch of my online professional contacts, slept, got up, spent all day Saturday conferring and eating with my online professional contacts, slept, got up on Sunday, checked out of my hotel then had EIGHT HOURS to spend hanging out in Atlanta with my purse and my carryon before my flight home.
And because I couldn’t leave my carryon with the check in desk at the airport (since Alaska doesn’t open their checkin desk at the Atlanta airport until 3:45 p.m. on Sundays)……. I went to the zoo.
NEGLECTING to remember that the date was October 30th, and there just MIGHT be some type munchkin related municipal EVENT at someplace like the zoo on the last weekend day before Halloween.
Fortunately the Zoo Atlanta security folks are _extremely_ cool and let me leave my carryon with them for the six plus hours I spent poking around the zoo. And crowds not withstanding it was a nice visit. Nice zoo, much smaller than Woodland Park, and way more “amusement park-y” than Woodland Park, but still a nice zoo, and way, way, WAY better than spending the time between my hotel checkout (1030 a.m.) and my flight home (1840 Atlanta time) at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport.
They’ve got a great reptile house which includes a copperhead snake — never seen one of those before and they are quite attractive — and a charming chameleon. On one of the PBS Bill Nye The Science Guy episodes they featured a rather prolonged video of a chameleon. Chameleons being (perhaps, I can’t quite remember right now) the one species on the planet whose eyes move independently of each other they were showing a video of this chameleon with entirely funny little “squeak” “squirp” noises dubbed in every time one of the eyes moved. I’ve had a soft spot for chameleons ever since.
Oh, and for the record the (extremely small example) of Atlanta architecture I saw was really neat. I like the “everyone needs a big front verandah” look of the houses, it’s weird to have EVERYONE refer to me as “Miss Margaret”, I didn’t see one. single. Starbucks. (not that I found that a black mark for Atlanta, you understand, I just thought it was noteworthy), and sweet tea is way overrated.

So to summarize:
Three sheets to the wind. Check.
Multiple surgical procedures on Andrew’s arms. Check.
Sara, Danny, and Chihuly. Check.
New beebee nevvy to play with when we’re next in Hawaii. Check.
Atlanta, chameleons, Bill Nye, a total absence of Starbucks, and overrated sweet tea. Check.

If anyone knows a veterinarian who wants a full time job where you don’t have to work weekends (my best potential candidate is likely moving to Edinburgh now that The American People have Spoken) let me know.

But for right now I need to lie down with my earbuds in my ears and pretend that the last 36 hours have been a really fucking weird dream.

Yesterday

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:29 pm

Yesterday I thought the most absurd thing I’d hear all day was a client telling me: “Oh my dog can’t have food allergies. All the different brands of dog food I feed her are low in yellow corn!”
(a side note…. What the actual FUCK?!)

But, yeah. It wasn’t.

Happy day after the election everyone. Stay away from foods that are rich in yellow corn.

10/7/2016

Because they’re cool

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 4:19 pm

Sally, who will be 30 years old next spring, has developed an occasional constipation issue. Since Sally hadn’t produced any notable amounts of stool from her last feeding about a month ago, on the advice of my exotic species treating friends I took her to work with me on Monday to get some x-rays that might tell me if there was a mass that was keeping her from pooping normally.

I’m happy to note that there is not a mass and, miracle of miracles, a little radiation therapy does a great job treating snakey constipation because when we were done taking x-rays Sally pooped copiously. All over my fresh scrubs.

Regardless I thought I’d post these because they’re cool!
Sally Head

sally-snake-middle

sally-snake-tail

9/26/2016

I’m not certain what to make of this

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 9:10 am

So as a long time gardener I’m familiar with a number of conditions that will create deformed tomatoes. Your tomatoes will crack if there is uneven watering (or if you’re growing a variety that is prone to cracking). Your tomatoes will have blossom end rot, withered, black rotten ends, if there’s not enough calcium in your growing medium.

But this one is beyond me.tomato priapism

9/9/2016

I Am A Luddite

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 6:16 pm

Just before I left on a trip out and about to run errands this afternoon I told Andrew that I was going to go to the post office.
His reply: “Why go to the post office?”
I answered: “I *like* to go to the post office.”

Okay, maybe “like” is too strong a word. We’re not talking hurdy-gurdy music and cotton candy, but we’re not talking dirges and wailing banshees here either. Going to the post office is value neutral in general except that I like supporting the USPS and I do still get excited about getting the occasional piece of Real Mail That Isn’t A Catalogue or A Bill (which happens rarely).

And I needed to go to the post office to get stamps so I could continue to post our bills in timely fashion (Yes, I do still receive paper bills through the mail and sit down once or twice a month to (gasp) write checks to cover the bills which I then send back through the mail. I said I’m a Luddite, hush up and listen!).

“But Margaret!” I hear you cry, “When stamps are available at every grocery store, gas station, and even through stamps.com, why _bother_ making the extra trip to the post office?! Isn’t that a waste of time?”
Enh. Maybe so and maybe no. The point is that I was going to be right next to the post office while running other errands and while going to the post office is value neutral most of the time, getting cool stamps is a definite plus so I stopped in.
And cool stamps I most certainly got.

I walked up to the desk and asked for commemorative stamps. The desk jockey promptly got out his book of commemorative stamp samples and, of course, I glommed onto the Star Trek 50th anniversary commemoratives.

Making the Vulcan salute, the desk jockey told me that I had to be able to do that to qualify for purchasing those stamps.
I promptly did so.
With both hands.
At once.
My Geek blood runs strong.

Desk jockey and the younger desk jockey at the next service bay were suitably impressed and I completed my transaction.
At which point my desk jockey pulled another Vulcan salute at me and said “May the Force be with you.”
Which allowed the younger desk jockey and I the opportunity to soundly rag on the guy for not being a real Geek.

And that, my friends, is why I like going to the post office!!

6/12/2016

Why Home Security is Sometimes Not a Good Idea

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 6:04 pm

Here are the facts:
We have a hot tub. It’s very helpful with Andrew’s back, my back and shoulders, and it’s a lovely way to decompress. Being that we’re married, and that the area around the hot tub is pretty much completely screened from the neighbors, we don’t wear bathing suits when it’s just us in the tub.

The hot tub is on the back porch just outside the sliding glass door (this features heavily in the following).

Considering that sliding glass doors have locks that an angleworm could break, we’ve always put a bar (in our case a section of 2″ diameter closet rod) in the track of the sliding door when we’re locking up. Usually when we open the door the bar gets lifted out of the track and set on the floor in front of it.

However yesterday I was doing the floors so I took the bar, stood it on end _in_ the track for the door and completely forgot about it. The glass door was open most of the day and moving the bar back down onto the floor just didn’t seem necessary.

Pogo gets _very_ desperate around dinner time and is not shy about stretching up and planting his pointy little toes in the screen door. Pogo also knows that when we get out of the hot tub on Saturday evenings it means that Says You is over and that it’s dinner time.

So there’s the facts of the matter. Here’s why I’m telling you.

Andrew and I like to listen to Says You on the radio in the hot tub on Saturday evenings. Yesterday was a very pleasant evening and since we were sitting in hot water with the setting sun on our backs, by the time Says You was concluding we were getting warmer than was comfortable.
At about 6:45 p.m. Andrew suggested that we get out of the tub and just sit in the pleasant evening at the table on the porch while we finished listening to Says You. I thought it was a lovely idea.
So we got out of the tub, got into our robes, and to keep Pogo from shredding our screen door in an attempt to tell us how important it was that we were out of the tub and it was dinnertime, Andrew shut the sliding glass door.

At which point the bar, which had been conveniently standing on its end in the track for the door all day, perversely decided to fall forwards into the track for the door.
Neatly barring the sliding glass door.
With us on the other side barefoot and in bathrobes.

😯

Now if I were a stinker I’d post this solo without the follow up. But I’m feeling unaccountably mellow this evening so here’s the rest.

Fortunately our bedroom window was open. And fortunately we were in the _back_ garden where my garden shed lives. My garden shed full of garden tools large and small. Including screwdrivers.

Since the sill of the window is about 6′ off the ground and I’m 5’3″ on a good day, I stood on a chair and pried at the top edge of the screen while Andrew pried at the bottom edge of the screen.
Getting through the window involved more gymnastics than I’ve done in a while…. _especially_ while scantily clothed, but I’m pleased to be able to report that I didn’t moon the neighbors nor did we damage the screen.

And I think the bar for the sliding glass door is going to have a new home when it’s not in use from now on!!

5/25/2016

I now pronounce you….

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 2:09 pm

May 25th, 1996

Ron Barbara Us Our Wedding

5/11/2016

How are your futtocks old man?

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:47 pm

Y’all listen to The Moth recently?

If you’ve got 15 or so minutes to listen to something truly hilarious that is also totally safe for work please follow this link. Click on the “listen now” button for the first story.

I started listening to this episode of The Moth Radio Hour in the car on my way to work at 0620. I’m not a morning person. My trips to work early in the morning are usually done in a driving haze. Which is to say that I can focus on my driving, but the internal monologue in my head is entirely white noise.
Except the other day when this gem came up.

I started laughing at 0625 and didn’t stop until I was at work at 0650.

4/16/2016

Why I Hate Being A Professional

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 6:40 pm

In about 1983 I developed a cavity in one of my upper right molar teeth.
Being a dutiful daughter and unable to decline in any case, I resentfully went to the dentist and had it repaired.

That filling lasted until about 1986 when, in the midst of a campout with a troupe of 7 and 8 year olds in the woods at Camp Sealth, it fell out in a toasted marshmallow. As an aside, if you ever have the chance to get concentrated sugar on a raw nerve in your mouth, might I recommend that you decline the honor. That’s a really special sensation.
So back to the dentist I went.

That filling lasted until about 1993. At which point it cracked and I had to take time away from my shifts in the university hospital to go find a dentist to repair it. That was the first porcelain filling that went in that tooth.

The porcelain filling lasted until about 1997 when it cracked. And the dentist that I’d been seeing in Olympia replaced it.

Which lasted until about 2002. When it cracked and my current dentist noted that since there wasn’t very much of the original tooth left, it’d probably be worthwhile to just go ahead and put a crown on it.
And, through (if you’ll pardon the expression) gritted teeth, I concurred.

Lovely.
Wonderful.
Until a couple of weeks before my 6 month checkup in January when the damn thing broke.

And since my dentist said that the average lifespan on an average crown is about 15 years, I had to agree with her that it needed replacing. AGAIN.

So loaded to the eyeballs with valium I trotted off to the dentist. Before she took the old crown off I asked her if, since the last two times I’d needed a crown on a tooth I’d ended up needing a root canal, she shouldn’t just plan on doing the damn root canal.
And here’s where it begins that I hate being a professional.

The dentist said that she’d evaluate the nerves and the underlying tissue after she had the site cleaned up and she’d decide then. Dandy.
She looked at the tissue, said that everything looked pretty good, but she’d make the final decision when she was placing the final crown. And two weeks later when the permanent crown was ready she looked at the nerves and the tissue and said that everything looked good and she didn’t think I’d need a root canal. WONderful.

I was expecting the new crown to be a little cold sensitive. New dental implants are cold sensitive, it’s just the nature of the beast. But over the last six weeks the new crown got more cold sensitive. Then heat sensitive. Then sensitive to vibration. And pressure. And sweet, and salt, and sour.
So that when I called my dentist on Monday to describe my symptoms the dentist didn’t even bother making an appointment for me to go see her to have the tooth evaluated, she just arranged a referral to the endodontist.

And I spent the week taking 600mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours during the day and codeine or gabapentin at night.
Somewhere in the past I noted that the best time to have surgery was when the idea of *not* having surgery was worse than the idea of having surgery. The same sort of thing applies to trips to endodontists for a root canal. Or three root canals as the case may be. That tooth has three roots. By the time I got to the endodontist yesterday my mouth hurt so much that I didn’t even notice the lidocaine injections.

So yeah. Sucky week, sucky mouth. Dental pain sucks. You can’t chew which plays havoc with your digestion because you’re either swallowing without chewing or eating only things that don’t need chewing. And constant infusions of NSAIDs aren’t really good for either your kidneys or the lining of your gut. And brushing your teeth, even rinsing your mouth with anything, becomes a remarkably special sensation.

But as much as I’d like to, I can’t hate my dentist for not doing the root canal before I spent a couple of weeks in pain and spent another $1200 to have a series of holes drilled in the $1200 crown that I’ve not paid off yet.

I can’t hate her because I know she used her professional judgement in deciding that I didn’t need a root canal. And professionals are people, we’re not psychic. Shit happens. So I am professionally obligated to understand this.

But god damn I really don’t wanna!!

3/23/2016

Sorry for the delay

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 3:20 pm

Things have been moderately insane recently. But I promised to explain the previous radiographs so here goes.

andy lateral

So this image is a ventrodorsal (he’s lying on his back) image of Andy’s abdomen. Andy’s head is towards the top, his butt is towards the bottom of the images. The circles are pointing out Andy’s calcified right renal artery (the little squiggly white line in the center of the single circle camera left), and Andy’s two partially calcified femoral arteries (the little white linear blotches in the center of the circles near the bottom of the image).

Andy_CR_NO_20160229_0013

This is a left lateral abdominal radiograph. Andy is lying on his left side and his head is towards your right. The big oval circle near the top is pointing out the calcified portion of Andy’s terminal aorta (complete with calcifications of the major arteries that come off the aorta) and the other circle lower down is pointing out the calcified femoral arteries again.
The big red line at the upper right of the image is an oops with the highlighter feature of the image software that I can’t figure out (nor do I want to try) how to get rid of. Hey, I deal with carbon based life forms, not silicone ones.

Seeing these images come up after I’d taken the radiographs was one of those professional “Oh holy SHIT I’ve never seen THAT before!” moments that happen quite rarely. And since I managed to wig out both a board certified internal medicine specialist and a board certified radiology specialist with these images, I’d bet that I’m never going to see another one of those again. No, I don’t know why those blood vessels are suddenly becoming calcified. I’m currently working with both a wigged out board certified neurology specialist and a wigged out board certified surgeon to try and get an answer.
Carbon based life forms are such a glorious mystery.

3/9/2016

This is also fairly awesome

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 3:37 pm

Interpreting these images is a _bit_ more subtle than sussing out a Matchbox car but they’re still pretty damn cool images.lateral 2/29/13
vd 2/29/16

Super extra kukamunga bragging rights if you can point out the specific pathology.

2/28/2016

I Wonder…

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 9:25 am

Heard on NPR the other day (half of what I talk about is stuff I hear on NPR. If this surprises you, it shouldn’t.) that car sales spiked in 2015. The article went on to mention that a lot of these car “sales” were 3-5 year lease agreements and that “the modern car buyer is more interested in having a car with the most up to date gadgets and connectivity than in previous years”.

Hearing that made me follow the train of thought, as it were, to its extreme (logical?) conclusion.

How long will it be, I wonder, before cars come with data plans? Or you can’t access some of the bells and whistles of your car unless you purchase the accompanying data plan.
Or, how long will it be before we start having ads for cars like there are currently for various mobile phone and phone services? An ad for a car that offers to pay off the lease on your trade in so long as you purchase the appropriate number of minutes of connectivity?
How long will it be before automobiles will be seen as mobile phones are now? Disposable because the newest version just came out. I realize there are some people who have always operated in exactly this way, trading in once a year or every other year just to have the newest and best model, but is that going to become the norm?

Meh.
Certainly won’t with me. I’d still be driving my ’97 Impreza wagon if I’d not been facing something like $3K to replace the clutch and the head gasket on a car with 150K miles on it.
I’m hoping to drive my Forrester until she’s a crotchety little old bump mobile too.

2/7/2016

I can’t be the only one who thinks this

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:15 pm

Four new elements have been added to the periodic table. These four new elements are all human made and all, apparently, incredibly unstable lasting only a fraction of a second in the real world.
But they’re really honest to goodness elements and they need to be named.

There are, of course, rules and regulations for naming elements as they are discovered. But I really, REALLY think the rules should be bent a little bit and one of the new elements be named TomLerherium.

1/30/2016

And the winner is…..

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:29 pm

Not us!

Yeah, we did give in to the recent Powerball fever. And yeah, I know that purchasing a ticket only gives one the barest fragment of a better chance at winning than one would have if one hadn’t purchased a ticket but….
For a buck how can you not occasionally give in to fantasy?

Our first lottery fantasy experience was in January of 1994. We were on our way into Pullman for an extremely rare evening out. It may have been to celebrate my finishing all my board exams in preparation for graduation from vet school, but it may have been a totally random “I’ve got to get away from my damn textbooks or I’m going to go berserk!” night out.
Regardless we were getting into the car when we were approached by the dude that owned the land on which our mobile home sat. It was a weird arrangement, we owned the trailer, he owned the land, but it was a MUCH better place to have spent three of my four years in graduate school than living in the bloody awful apartment that we’d lived in my freshman year would have been. MUCH more expensive, but way better for living, studying, and not going to prison for killing the displaced frat boys that lived above us in the apartment complex.
Anyway, landlord (we still refer to him as Farmer McFuck) comes up, tells us that despite the verbal agreement we’d had (yes, we were suckers) when we’d bought the place three years prior, he wasn’t going to let us sell the trailer while it was sitting on his land. We had to move it before we could sell it.

We’d borrowed money from Andrew’s parents to purchase the trailer — a 1975 14′ x 70′ mobile home with a 30 foot chunk cut out of the back wall for a 12′ x 30′ home built addition. There wasn’t _any_ way to move the addition and even if the wheels and axles of the main trailer were still extant the whole thing was 20 years old. Moving the trailer meant not only finding a company to handle the moving, but finding a contractor to patch the hole in the back wall where the addition wouldn’t be anymore to say nothing of finding somewhere to put the damn thing once it was off Farmer McFuck’s land. All of that costing WAY more than we’d be able to sell the rickety, patched up thing for even assuming that we were able to find somewhere to put it.

We were… what’s worse than stunned? Gobsmacked doesn’t do it. Blindsided is close. Devastated? Yeah, devastated is a bit better. We were not only facing my graduation and $47,000 in loans (a pittance now), but we were facing starting our adult lives and careers with another $20K or so owed to Andrew’s folks.
It’s a bad place to be with one person unemployed and the other only earning sandwich shop wages.

Realizing that we’d just been hit with what was close to financial devastation we decided that we’d still go to town for our dinner & movie and we’d figure something out.
On our way to dinner we stopped to purchase a scratch ticket because we figured fuckit, if we were going to go down we might as well do it with style.
Setting a bad precedent, that particular ticket happened to be a $50 winner.

You all know the end of the story. We’re not destitute. We currently own our own home (okay, the bank owns it, but whatever) on our own land, we paid off my student loans and we even (somewhere around 2006) managed to pay off Andrew’s parents.
But that night started our lottery fantasies.

That first night our lottery fantasy was very much along the lines of paying my loans, paying Andrew’s parents, then finding a hit man for Farmer McFuck. I like to think we’ve gotten a little more sophisticated in that we’re now talking about using the entirely theoretical lottery winnings to assure financial security for ourselves and as much of our families as can be managed (although the idea of a hit man still has its charms even though Farmer McFuck has to be long dead of some or another smoking related disease). But doesn’t everybody give in every so often?
Lottery fantasies are pointless, especially if you don’t ever purchase a ticket, and in a lot of ways the lottery fantasies are just like those games that we played as children — a magical, mystical something happens and you can have everything that you’d ever wanted. A big house with an elevator? You got it! The transportation of your choice and only YOU get to decide who gets in it? You got it! The neighborhood bully gets pantsed in a public place and everyone laughs? You got it!!

But imagination is free and it’s at least one indulgence that doesn’t affect your waistline!

1/24/2016

Why Veterinary Medicine is Uber Cool

MargaretMargaret
Filed under: @ 5:11 pm

Part whatever at this point.

I bitch a lot about my job. Mostly because dealing with the pet owning public is enough to turn one into a raving lunatic in a remarkably short period of time.
And while there are a lot of things that I wish I could change about my *job*, I love my profession with a passion.

I’m a boards monitor for the megalith that is known as the Veterinary Information Network. We’re a group of better than 50K veterinarians around the world who meet online to share cases, research, tips, lunacy, whateverall. And being a boards monitor means that I moderate discussions in four of the medical boards. I make sure that the volunteer specialists answer people’s questions in a timely manner, I help bring specialists from other areas into a discussion as needed, and I occasionally wear my Hall Monitor sash and tattle non-subscribers or non-veterinarians using some subscriber’s account (we’re a little snotty that way). It also means that I’m online a LOT and checking in on discussions that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity or interest in opening.

Case in point.
In the last week on my four boards alone I have participated in a discussion about a fractured incisor tooth in a kangaroo (really cool radiographs by the way), a discussion on the ethics of various types of mousetrap, and have read a research paper about whether or not pouched rats are less effective landmine detection animals if they are castrated (they’re not).

And in one of the other discussions in which I have been participating for the last five years I ran across two of the most awesome sentences I think may have ever been written in the English language.
My friend Astrid, a exotics and wildlife DVM in California, was talking about how the tiger cub at the big cat rescue where she works has ringworm. We were all giving her a hard time about who got to give antifungal dips to the tiger cub (onetwothreeNOTIT!!) and she mentioned that at least this time the resident dog hasn’t gotten ringworm yet. And I quote: “The last time I made the keepers do the dips. It was them that let the dog play with the tiger.”

My job has its downfalls, but I do love my profession!


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