Sunday, January 27, 2008

spinning progress, part 2

first, i delight in showing how the Romney displays its loft post-bath. it is just delicious!

Grey Romney delight, post-bath

after months in the darkness, i bring you Mango Sun - Sunshine from loop- an alpaca/merino blend with a WPI of 13 and 170 yds.
Mango sun

here we have Wolf's Eyes, Australian Merino from Woolie's Fiberworks. there is 8 oz with a WPI of 17 and 430 yds total.
Wolf's eyes in snow

last but certainly not least, this is 4 oz of Targhee top in Fruit Salad from Spinning Bunny, a gift from Lara. WPI 15.5, 280 yd.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

spinning progress, part 1

in anticipation of Madrona i am working hard to achieve some closure on stagnant knitting WIP. still, they are growing as stagnant things do - slowly.

Grey Romney delight
my spinning however has been visibly productive. first up is Grey comfort. this is 6 bumps of Grey Romney from Denise with a pre-wash WPI of 16. I ended up with two skeins: 182 and 196 yd apiece. the yarn is remarkably even and i anticipate it will full up a titch with its bath.

Blueberry patch
next is Blueberry smoothie. this is 4 oz of 50/50 Tensel/superwash Merino blend by Spinning Bunny. Sport weight with a WPI 10, 102 yd.

Shetland from Cathy
Shetland/Finn cross from Cathy
Shetland/Black Welsh Mtn from Cathy
to the right is a delightful Shetland medley courtesy of Cathy. from top to bottom, we have Shetland, Shetland/Finn, and Shetland/Black Welsh Mtn. all ended up with WPI ~17 with between 50-80 yards per sample.

yet to photo are Sunshine, Wolf's eyes, and Frootie Tootie. stay tuned!

Monday, January 21, 2008

cats improved, house survives

thanks to everyone who has been pulling for Mr. Head and Elise. it has been a stressful time here - what with all the vomiting, unformed poop, and general 'anything could happen' atmosphere. in exciting news, i can report that the cats Elise has started annoying the bejimminies out of me - knocking [expensive] things off end tables to prod me into feeding her sooner, trying to steal my lattes, insisting on camping on my arms while i try and type. in addition, Mr Head has stopped leaving bodily fluids scattered about like flower petals by a fairy. he still has a ways to go to get to 'fighting trim', but he will probably be normal enough to have his nasal CT this week. after a weekend of spot treatments and overall cleaning, i can report the house has suffered no irreversible damage.

today is an official university holiday so i have decided to alternate reading papers for my research with working on Mystic Waters since it has lain stagnant for close to a month.

but first i thought i would share something positive from my working life. when i am on clinics, i require the students to write one multiple choice question about every case they see. i edit them for accuracy and psychometric balance and then add them to a freely accessible self-study file for the students' boards preparation. the students gain a better understanding of the challenges in question writing, greater ownership of their cases, and increased knowledge about the diseases they 'met' while on rotation. in addition, i often catch misunderstandings this way and can thus make sure they leave with the right take-home messages.

benefits to me are few. it is a time-consuming process for which i get no 'credit', the web form likes to change answers in weird ways, leaving me baffled and challenged in determining what the student might have typed, and the questions can require a LOT of work to be useable in the file.

however, it is fascinating to see what the student, coming from a very different place in his/her career, felt was important enough to score a question. sometimes, i actually get to learn something new in some way. most awesomely, some of the students write questions that reinforce all the effort spent on the floor, make me laugh, and are eminently usable.

this particular question caught me off guard and i almost choked on my coffee from the laughter and wisdom. the great thing is that it can be enjoyed without extensive medical knowledge. just ignore words that are unfamiliar - i blocked out a few to get you started...

Your favorite client brings their 1 year old dog, Brutus, in with a history of acute onset lethargy and weakness. On physical exam, the only notable abnormality is a chronically elevated temperature of 104.5. After performing many diagnostics - including thoracic radiographs, abdominal radiographs and ultrasound, CBC, chemistry, lytes and urinalysis – you still have no clue what the heck is causing Brutus’ fever. You decide the best thing you can do is refer Brutus to the local veterinary college.

Prior to sending Brutus to the referral institution, what is your best course of action?

A) Give Brutus a shot of dexamethasone - it’s got to make him feel better.

B) Start Brutus on doxycycline - you heard somewhere that tick borne diseases were common in the area.

C) Give nothing - even though it kills you to watch Brutus suffer like this.

D) Give Brutus dexamethasone and doxycycline - you may not know what is going on but this should be a good start.

Answer: C

this was a challenging case where we actually had to stop medications and let the dog get much sicker before we could get a diagnosis and thus a cure.

the typical student would have written, "What test should you perform next?" this student, however, took away something more valuable. he read about the disease in humans and learned that the time to diagnosis was nine days if the primary care doctor started treatments before a diagnosis was made but only five if the doctor referred without starting treatment. in his question, he validated the pressure the doctor feels to 'fix it' - this is big because it is easy to do nothing on paper when one is talking concepts but hard to do nothing when you have an emotional investment, have to meet someone's eyes, and still say no. finally, he made it funny, so any student reading this question will remember it and the lesson it contains.

this student is why i do these damned questions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

because PETA made it go away

i have been resisting posting this, but after Lara brought up one of the many many ways that PETA is satan-spawn evil sucks, i find myself helpless to resist. although they could not be bothered did not have the resources to find homes for 3,031 of the 3,042 animals they 'rescued' in 2006 and consider it 'okay' to burn lab animals alive to make a 'statement', they found plenty of time and money to strong-arm Traveler's Insurance to pull a clever, funny and not-the-least-bit-cruel advertising campaign: the Rabbit Foot Reattachment Campaign.

i loved this commercial and can only be comforted because my honey went to great lengths to score me one of the highly sought stuffed bunnies to shore up my morale in these ongoing sick-sick-kitty times.

oh, and i knew it would live on on You Tube... enjoy!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

i can't believe we made it

thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and wishes for Mr. Head. i was able to take him home with an indwelling IV catheter for antibiotic administration. he is doing a bit better since he got home, energy-wise, though his appetite still sucks. his bile grew E coli that is sensitive to the antibiotics we chose and his blood work yesterday was somewhat improved. hopefully, his appetite and strength will return now that the bacteria is being beaten back.

on the downside, Elise (my other cat) developed vomiting and anorexia one day after Mr. Head got sick. she had normal bloods the day before so i think it is stress/anxiety-induced. she is over the vomiting but still not eating well. if she doesn't turn today, i may have to drop in a feeding tube to try and stave off a life-threatening condition that strikes cats with sudden anorexia.

things here are strained - my two kitties lives are literally hanging in the balance after all - but we are plugging along. we got the abstract in in time Friday, so now that is in someone else's court. looking back, i still don't understand how we made it.

i met with the statistician Friday morning (while the intern was at a routine doctor's appointment) to go through the study design and hypotheses. she crunched through the database while i worked on clinics and was able to get results back to us around 3pm.

in the meantime, the intern involved in the study had to be rushed to a human emergency room for epinephrine and benadryl after eating something with nuts in it. he returned shaky and weak but still committed to getting the abstract in before he went home to collapse. we slogged through the stats (while i worried about him passing out) and managed to finish the abstract around 6pm. a couple of proofs by colleagues and in with a few hours to spare.

again i must say there has been phat spinning and knitting. (one of my students has been bringing in 'Ghetto Slang' flashcards.) but i have to go and coddle the kitties some more so pictures will have to wait. to tide you over though, here are some of the holiday knitting pix:

Keyhole scarf for LuciaButtonhole bag for NancyCabled footiesDiamond waffle socks for RolandCabled scarf for BillKeyhole scarf for DaveSatchel for SteinieTravy slippers

and a little spinning:
Midnight clear

Thursday, January 03, 2008

my Mr. Head is sick

even though it only started Wednesday, the week has been challenging. and now it has been a miserable, miserable day.

Monday i went to work to check a couple things. in a good news/bad news twist, i found an approved IACUC protocol waiting.

now, this is a good thing because i have been waiting, begging and pleading for weeks for this in the hopes of completing the study in time for the ACVIM abstract deadline. you see, i have been working with an intern that would like to pursue a residency and getting the abstract in would help his chances a lot. so getting the approved protocol is good.

the bad news is that the ACVIM deadline is Friday at midnight. Tuesday was obviously out. that means we had from Wednesday morning to Friday at midnight to draw samples on 30 animals, convince the lab to run them twice (60 samples when they normally only run two research samples a day), statistically analyze this data and then write up the abstract in time for the Friday deadline.

if that doesn't already sound like a lot to do... did i mention i came back on clinics Wednesday? that we are down one resident because she broke her foot trying to run down a car thief? (no. she did not succeed. the car was stolen, totaled and found at the bottom of a ravine.) that the other resident is quite sick and the students have started dropping as well?

then, last night, Mr. Head didn't want his breakfast.

my Mr. Head not wanting breakfast is like the Yarn Harlot not wanting to knit.

very bad. very bad stuff indeed.

so Bear came to work today to participate in the study... and Mr. Head came to work to find out what was wrong. then Bear came home from work, but Mr. Head stayed there to hopefully get better. we think he has a severe infection in his liver. he has been started on IV antibiotics and fluids. hopefully we have the right diagnosis and have discovered it soon enough.


before this all went to hell, there had been knitting. and spinning. and pretty pictures of knitting and spinning. those will have to wait for another day.

i leave you with a picture of my Mister: