Monday, April 30, 2007

Murphey's Law, or karma?

In the midst of wetlabs and packing and tests and presentations, I noticed yesterday that Smidgen the kitty looked a little lopsided. Sure enough, when I looked closer, one of her eyes was open wider than the other. I invoked the only diagnostic that I remembered from neruology, which was a thing called the menace response. To assess an animal's sight, you can swipe your hand at their face. A normal animal will blink. Smidge blinked when I swiped at her right side, but not her left. Hmm. That meant either she wasn't seeing out of her left eye, or for some reason she couldn't blink it.

Sooooo, we went to the vet today and he told me basically what I already knew (that she couldn't blink that eye), but also that she can apparently see out of it, because it dialates and constricts normally. The main reason that an animal loses the ability to close their eye is due to damage to their facial nerve, but that generally also means most of their face muscles are paralyzed. Smidge seems to have lost only the ability to close her eye. So what does that mean......? Her vet's response was, "Well, I guess she wants to go to school with you tomorrow!" Smidge will be heading in to the U of MN for a neurology/opthomology consult to figure out what on earth is going on. Of course she had to pick about the least convenient day possible to damage a nerve, but whatever.... :-/ She is acting pretty much normal, but it's getting to be apparent that she's uncomfortable. I would be too if I couldn't close my eye! I'm pretty sure that Smidge damaging a cranial nerve is some sort of karma for my extreme dislike of Neurology earlier this semester.

Will post updates as we learn what's going on with this little kitty, amidst all the excitement of tomorrow.

T minus . . .

In less than three hours I will turn in my work for the second and last apprentice show at the Northfield Arts Guild.

Less than 1 minute ago went live.

In 24 hours Megan will be almost done with class, and I should be starting the drive up to 2341 University Ave behind a U-Haul truck.

The clock is spinning down, everything is converging, no time to think about it now just gata get everything done!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

corgi in the springtime

Where is PNAF from?

PNAF - "A Proposal for a New American Flag." Where did it come from? Well here are some videos that I have been watching in the past 48 hours. A caution, these range from heavy to intense.

Bill Moyers talks with Jon Stewart the full interview 28 min

Men in Black - an amazing animation of a fire-fight in Iraq, and how to deal with it. (4:34)

What Every Soldier Should Know - another essay about fighting in Iraq (1:59)

Mike Gravel - the obscure 8th rung candidate in the Democratic primary in the first debate edited down to just him. (6:43) Where the hell did he come from? People are comparing him to Kucinich, but Kucinich is such a wimp. "blahblahblahblah blood for oil blahblahblah." Gravel on the other hand, seems to just slam it down with a little 'crazy uncle' vigor. He will make things interesting!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

i heart hamsters

you’re doing it wrong

Getting ready for Tuesday...

Today's additions to our apartment furnishings:

One IKEA bedframe (thanks Nick!)
One Dog Appeasing Pheromone room diffuser (to calm the Pooh's nerves at moving time)
One bottle of lavender essential oil (same reason as the D.A.P.)
Two stools for our kitchen island, plus a raincheck for the third
And lastly, not really a furnishing, but Winnie has a grooming appointment for tomorrow so she can enter the apartment as de-furred as possible

I have slowly been going through my massive collection of St. Olaf papers, books, notes, etc, trying to decide what is worth keeping and what would just be taking up room. It's been surprisingly emotional, as I've been digging through boxes that I haven't opened in three or four years. I found a quote book that I started for a brief bit during first year, and the first entry was:

"I could fix this in about ten minutes if I knew what I was doing." -Chris Schommer

This morning was our acupuncture wetlab, which was really fun. I'll post pictures when I get them!

Time to study like mad for Monday's pharmacology exam. I hope I can keep all these drug names in my head! Enalapril, verapamil, lidocaine, acetocylic acid, furosamide... Exams should be banned when the weather gets this nice. :-/

Friday, April 27, 2007

Show time!

It is almost show time and things are rolling along. I am working in the remnants of my room as its all packed up in boxes. Naked walls, dirty clothes, boxes piled high, and a 5.5 foot long flag on my bed! The web page is about 1/2 done, and should be live on monday. I am working on writing up all the text that goes along with a project who's medium is, "Modern Grassroots Political Organization." I did find this gem from the original creation of the US flag that I will just leave out there..
"Resolved that the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation" - John Adams, 1777

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Boo on Oprah

Apparently, Oprah had a guest vet on yesterday who talked about the best diet to feed your dog- placing raw meat at the top of the list. She talked about how she feeds her own dogs homemade thanks to his advice, and how dogs need "real food" rather than kibble. She made it look like all you need to do is throw some chicken, rice, and veggies in a bowl and you've got yourself a complete diet. No warnings about how raw can be a public health hazard, no advice about proper handling of raw meat, and certainly no suggestions on how to go about creating a balanced homemade diet. Reeeeal responsible Oprah. Pet food companies sell tainted food that kills pets, and they are the anti-Christ. Oprah (and her vet) suggests feeding a raw meat diet that has the potential to not only kill pets (quickly via bacterial contamination or slowly via nutrient deficiencies) but also to kill people (after kissing their bacteria-shedding raw-fed dog), and she is lauded for offering such a healthful alternative. Just because YOU haven't heard about dogs dying from bacteria in raw meat doesn't mean it doesn't happen- it does.

*scowl* if you are going to tout the benefits of feeding raw OR homecooked, be responsible enough to warn about potential risks involved, and advise people that they need to use a recipe certified by a veterinary nutritionist. In my opinion, what she did is akin to having a doctor on her show telling people that they shouldn't vaccinate their kids. Not vaccinating may be a school of thought, and some people choose to do that- but to make an intelligent decision one way or another they HAVE to know about the risks associated with their choice.

I should just rename this "The Dog Food Blog"

Yesterday, the Holistic Club hosted a rep from Natura foods (Innova, California Naturals) to come talk about their foods and to kick off a new free feeding program for vet students. I thought it went quite well, even though the rep got a little torn up by some tough questions ("Who says dogs don't do fine on by products?" "Why is it not good for dogs to eat a grain-based diet?" "Corn is digestible- why should it not be in a pet food?" etc). She answered them pretty well, basically stating that their company's philosophy is that fresh, whole foods equals better nutrition, and better nutrition equals healthier pets. Not everyone shares that philosophy, and that's fine, but she wanted people to be aware of it because we'll have clients who are looking for a food like that.

Someone asked her why they feel by-products are bad, when we know that wolves eat organ meats in the wild, and her response was something along the lines of, "You wouldn't want to be feeding your kids that stuff, would you?" Of course that lead to an uproar of "Dogs are a lot different from kids!" I just rolled my eyes, because I was afraid she'd pull some of the emotional-type marketing lines that I hate seeing in holsitic/natural foods. There are so many great reasons to feed less processed foods besides "you wouldn't want to be feeding your kids that stuff." But the more I think about it, the more I realize that that pretty much sums up why I feed Winnie a diet that uses human-grade meat. I hear a lot of people say "Dogs are dogs, if they had it their way they'd be living off cat poop and garbage scraps- they don't need human-grade meat." Sure, but if your 5-year-old had it his way he'd be living off hot dogs and Kool-Aid. The point of being smarter than your dog/kid is that you can give them a healthy environment to live and grow, including nutritionally. I'm not saying dogs can't live long, healthy lives on foods that use by-products and corn, or that people who feed IAMS don't consider their dogs family members. But for Winnie, I want her eating food that wasn't rejected from the human food supply- not because I think she's human, but because I have serious concerns about why it was rejected.

I'm still working out my own philosophy on pet food. I'm trying my best to stay objective, which is surprisingly difficult. I wish I could defer to science and say, well, the studies show that [such and such formula] leads to healthy, long-lived pets, but alas, I don't think that will ever happen. People get great results on Ol' Roy, people get terrible results on Eagle Pack. For now I'll just do the best for Winnie that I know how, and hopefully in three years I'll have a decent reply prepared for when clients ask me, "So what brand of food should I be feeding?"

Anyway, I think the meeting went well. The next goal is to get ready for the wetlab on Saturday! This week is uber Holistic Club week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I have finished making my flag, have t-shirts, have the stickers, and am picking up my vinyl lettering tomorrow. I still need to wrap up the web page and make the petitions and fliers. Lots to do, and 4 days to do it in! Ek!

The opening will be on May 3d at the Northfield Arts Guild.

Jayber Crow

Congrats to Jayber Crow's Pete Nelson and Zach Hawkins for putting on a smashing show last night the the Lions Pause at St. Olaf. Megan and I heard them play a few songs at the Contented Cow a few weeks ago, but this was a fully lit show and they tore it up. They are all pro, look for them to be on the radio in the next year if they can get a full length album out there.

Here is a song called "The Farmer and the Nomad" from their web page that is my favorite of their set. Good luck to them, and I hope to hear them again soon!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The ticks are out!

Blahhh, my least favorite creature has arrived in full force. I found a couple ticks on Winnie a few weeks ago when we had that weird warm spell, but they all disappeared when it got cold again. I just pulled the fifth one of the day off of her... ewwwww. Her Frontline is doing its job and keeping them from attaching to her, but that still means we need to do a good tick check every time she comes in from outside. Low-hanging doggies attract lots of ticks!

Anyway, the past week or so has been busy. We had a big physiology exam on Friday (55 out of 60, go me!), and then I headed down to Northfield for the Valhalla anniversary. It was a ton of fun to see Valhalla alums and see my band friends again. Our founder James Miller summed up what being in charge of Valhalla is like with the following story:

I learned pretty quickly that, as a leader, you get a lot farther by taking responsibility for anything that goes wrong, rather than passing the blame onto someone else. After our first concert, someone from the music department came up to me and asked, "How are those chimes getting back to the music building?" I replied, "Don't worry about it- I've got it covered, we have a guy, with a dolly, and a plan, and it's all taken care of." Then, as soon as he left, I asked the band, "What are chimes?!"
We had a great concert in the evening, and I got one last taste of playing with "my" band. I really hope I can afford time to play in a band in the future. It was so wonderfully absolutely not vet school... I told people on Monday that I spent my Saturday at a band reunion and was told that I'd "reached an entirely new level of dorkiness". ;-) Band geek to the end!

On Sunday, I started the day at a rabbit physical exam wetlab, which was fun, although not a ton of new information. I was happy to learn that the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society decided to distinguish themselves from the national House Rabbit Society due to a conflict of ideals. I've always thought the HRS too radical for my tastes (all rabbits must live indoors, all must be spayed/neutered, no rabbit should ever be bred, and anyone who uses rabbits as meat- or even discusses the fact that rabbits are a meat source- is pure evil). Apparently the MN club didn't care for the HRS "our way or the highway" attitude and branched out into their own organization. Go MN CRS!

Sunday evening, I was back in the large animal hospital on foal team duty again. This time we had three sick babies in, and somehow I got stuck with a foal who truly wanted to injure me, while my partner got a tiny fluffy white cria and a tiny miniature horse foal. Not fair! At least my foal's momma was nice. I had no idea that a week-old sick baby was capable of biting and double-barreling people!

We are a short 7 days away from moving in, and I think the next few days are going to be a blur! I've barely packed a thing, and Saturday is the acupuncture wetlab, Monday is a huge pharmacology exam, and Tuesday is my Virology presentation. Er, start packing Tuesday afternoon....?

Take the bus

I was trying to find information about the future of light rail that will run by our window, but instead got involved with the bus route maps and liked what I found!

For Megan, the 87 (left) drives right past our window and then goes north to the U. There is a bus stop a block away from our door, and it only should take 10-15 min to get there! Add in a "U pass" for $62 a semester and thats a good deal.

Also the 50 and the 16 run by our door as well, with the 16 being high frequency and the 50 being limited stops (one of which we have). Both the 50 and the 16 run the line to both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, and conveniently makes a stop right near my favorite brewpub, Town Hall Brewery.

Good deal all around! I am not planning on selling any cars yet, but if this is as good as it looks it might be a possibility...

Sunday, April 22, 2007


It seems my glasses have broken where the ear rest meets the frame. It is repairable with super-glue (a long weld broke free, not the wire) but it has gotten me thinking about getting some new ones as these have been with me for a looooong time now. I know I got them in highschool, but honestly don't remember when. I am guessing some time in 2000.

So I need new ones some time here, what kind should I get? I have no idea.

Update: After a quick stop at home and some help from Dad I got it re-attached with some of his super glue with accelerant spray (cool stuff) and they are rock solid. But, I think that kicks off looking for a new pair, so if any one sees anything they think is too cool to pass up, let me know! Or contacts....


Congratulations to Megan and the St. Olaf Valhalla Band for their 10 year Anniversary Concert! Megan's old band is doing very well and had another great performance last night. Megan and about a dozen other alums (including one of the co-founders) came back to play in about half of the program.

I think Megan deserves a lot of credit for keeping the band going during her tenure as president. She got hold of it almost by accident and with almost $1,000 in debt which caused the school to threaten canceling the organization at one point. Now they have been in the black for over a year, have more good leaders, and sound great! So congratulations all around.

Friday, April 20, 2007

even more recalls

Royal Canin recalled any foods that contained rice protein concentrate today, including some of their Sensible Choice line... There are indications that the rice protein was fed to pigs who went into the human food supply, as well. Fun fun.

The Pooh Bear's food (Eagle Pack) appears safe, and most ingredients come from the U.S. (minus "Duck meal from Germany, Anchovy & Sardine meal from Mexico, and Lamb meal from Australia") so I'm not expecting it to end up on the recall list.

The current theory is that whoever sold the wheat/rice gluten involved may have added melamine to artificially increase the apparent protein content. Melamine is rich in nitrogen, and one quick-and-dirty way of measuring protein content is to measure nitrogen. So add melamine to make it look like your wheat gluten/rice gluten is higher in protein than in really is. Sick sick sick.

Cary fridays

A few things came across the wire that are car related so I will post them at once.

First I was able to do some minor car repair on the Volvo this week when a headlight burned out. I am starting to remember why its fun to do car work in the summer, its warm! No fingerless gloves, no runny nose, no touching cold cold metal. Now its just back to unscrewing stuff!

The second bit comes from AutoblogGreen in the same vein as the air car I posted a while back. This has sort of the same idea of using alternative technology to store energy, it's a hydraulic truck. Developed for UPS, it is great at storing energy on short trips because hydraulic pressure can capture up to 70% of the breaking energy compared to a weak 30% with batteries. The down side is it can't hold nearly as much as a battery, thus the city usage only. Its also huge, so truck use only for now. They claim 39-74% fuel gains depending on how they run it. What if the UPS truck got better gas milage than your car?

Lastly, from Autoblog, another hilarious car mod gone wrong. Lets just say the idea of a spoiler is to technically act as a reverse wing, forcing the rear of the car down onto the road to obtain better traction at speed. This poor sap not only made his car look dumb by adding a silly post-production mod wing, he added it backwards thus slowing his car down a ton (think parachute), and lifting the back end off the road. I wish I could have seen it.

EDIT: From the AutoBlog comments section, "...the driver's hair was also cut really short in back, but he had really long bangs in the front..." heehee..

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Time for some Thursday funnies, with "Tuesday" by Awkward Pictures. What is the meanest thing you can do to a telemarketer? 5:05 long.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

U of M scare?

Just incase any one is wondering, Megan was not affected by the apparent bomb threat at the U of M today. More later if anything develops.

Tragedy and politics

Via the usual BoingBoing - an internet gem that was actually written on September 12th 2001. I have removed reference to that tragedy and it reads as a cliff-notes response to any horrific event.
Of course the ________________ are/is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. However, we must also consider if this is not also a lesson to us all; a lesson that my political views are correct. Although what is done can never be undone, the fact remains that if the world were organised according to my political views, this tragedy would never have happened.

Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced

The whole thing is here. Written by "JSM."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two week mark

Today marks a mere 2 weeks until we move in! Now our thoughts are turning to what we actually need to survive on move-in day. It's the middle of the week, and I have class in the morning- both of which seriously limit what we're capable of doing that day. Not to mention that Chris has his show opening at the Northfield Arts Guild on the 3rd, and I have my (very scary cumulative) Pharmacology final the day before the move. So, the things we actually get set up in the apartment on move-in day with be mainly the basics- some clothes, a bed, a shower curtain, and possibly some food (although not necessarily, we live right across from some good restaurants!). It will be interesting to see how the logistics end up working out, but I think right now we're so excited for the 1st to get here that logistics aren't super important.

Anyway, not much else to report. Natural Balance has joined the recall, taking their venison and brown rice dog and cats foods, and their venison and green pea dry cat food off the market after complaints of vomited and kidney failure. This is frightening, as none of the Natural Balance foods recalled contain wheat. Is this connected to the previous melamine scare? Who knows. Natural Balance is a company I definitely trusted, as their reps used to come into Petco and take the Natural Balance rolls off the shelf, cut them up, and eat them on crackers while talking to customers about the benefits of the food. I feed Winnie the rolls, grated onto her kibble. I don't think I'll be switching her off, as only the dry venison products are affected, but geez, all this recall stuff is plain scary.

Vets are bracing for the long-term damage that the recalls will cause in terms of nutrient deficiencies due to owners feeding inappropriate home-cooked diets (i.e. tuna for cats, boiled chicken and rice for dogs). I have nothing against home-prepared diets (although I do have a little beef with BARF), but please please do your homework before beginning! There's a great website called BalanceIt where owners can get personalized recipes for their pets, complete with what micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) your pet needs to stay healthy. Making a homemade diet is not necessarily hard, but it is easy to do it wrong, to the possible detriment of your pet. Also keep in mind that anyone can write and publish a book containing homemade diet recipes for dogs and cats... this doesn't mean the diets are healthy, and doesn't mean they aren't deficient in or contain too much of some nutrient. After all, "All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous." Some pet owners are switching to poorly-planned homemade diets with the thought that "anything is better than feeding a food potentially contaminated with melamine", but the truth is that a homemade diet can be just as dangerous if planned poorly.

On a sad note, one of our classmates dropped out of the program last week. We knew she was having some personal problems, and has missed some tests, but didn't know it was that severe. It stinks that she survived through the hardest part of the semester only to drop when things lightened up a little. She's welcome to come back and join next year's class. It makes me especially sad because her study carrel was near mine, and she was one of my first friends at the CVM. She will be missed.

V Tech

I thought I should add something the shootings yesterday because the photos and descriptions of everything that happened seem so strikingly similar to St. Olaf that its hard not to get a picture of it happening here. Just look at this aerial photo of VT and you get the idea. VT is 10x the size of Olaf, but the imagination does not have to stretch far and it is very chilling.

So, complicated emotions with the whole thing. I think the best thing is to realize that random events like this will happen, but we can not let our lives be ruled by them. I feel for all the parents and families and friends who lost their promising students and teachers and hope as always that this will never happen again.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blog slacker

Chris pointed out yesterday that I've been lax in my blogging lately, so here I am!

Last week ended with a very long Friday. I woke up at 2:15 AM to be to school by 3 for my foal duty shift. One of my classmates and I spent about 4 1/2 hours with our little foal friend. The foal came in because it seemed to be a bit of a dummy foal, and wasn't nursing or walking yet. She looked better by the time we arrived, but still couldn't get up on her own, so we spent our time helping her stand, then lie back down, plus taking temperature/pulse/respiration rate and trying not to get killed by Momma. We cheered Baby on through her first poop (I've never been so excited to see poo!), and every time she peed or nursed or pretty much did anything. It was a fun morning. After that, it was a full day of classes, then work, the down to Northfield for the weekend.

The Pooh Bear is still down in Northfield having a little dad-time, and my room is unusually quiet. Gypsy the cat is sleeping on my bed again, which she never does when Winnie is prowling, so that's nice. Only 15 more days until Winnie no longer has to be a commuter dog!

Not too much else to say right now. I feel like I should write something about the shootings in Virginia, but I'm feeling pretty blank about it still. Another tragedy at a place that should be safe. We did receive a note that none of our fellow VA vet students were involved, which we were thankful to hear, but that doesn't make the whole situation any better. Definitely keeping them all in my thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I took some photos of my bonsai this evening and I really like the way it is looking now. Some shoots I thought were distracting have turned into great branches that give it the feeling of being a miniature tree rather than a shrub. I will have had it for two years at the end of this month, and here is a Google Picassa album showing it from day 1 and today.

Below is the inspiration for my design, what is known as the "Witch Tree" or "Manido Giizhigance" by the Ojibwe. I visited it once when I was very young and it made quite an impression on me then. The difference here is that mine is probably around 5-10 years old, while that is over 400. Mine is also only 3'' tall. But they are both white cedar, so give me another 390 years and I might get there!

Winnie is fast!

So with Winnie's walky dog a success, I took the harness from that and applied it to my roller blades! I got a great video yesterday on my cell phone, but I don't have the USB cable to get it off yet so I re-shot it today and its almost as good. She is a little slower than yesterday if anything.

So here is some Winnie powered speed. I just said go and pointed my skates parallel, I did not move a muscle. Winnie gets so excited she barks at my feet at first, then takes off down the road. I can control her by pulling to the left or right or back on her harness, but she goes forward with no prompting! Video here...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Winnie understands english

Just now, Megan and I were sitting around and talking while Winnie was exploring/burrying stuff. She was acting hungry even though she had already eaten her entire dinner. She even went up and tried to lick the yogurt top I had on my desk. I scolded her and told her to get down so she came over and looked at me over a pile of stuff I had uncovered that she buried - a bone and and one of the cookies that my mom gave Winnie for Christmas (dry, really really old, and she treasures them).

Then I asked, "Are you still hungry?" She cocked her head, she knows the word "hungry" quite well. Then I said "Eat your cookie." She cocked her had again, she knows the word "cookie" too, and then picked up her beloved cookie. I thought that was funny - but then she went over to near her crate, and proceeded to eat the entire thing! It was uncanny.

So I don't know what she understood really. I know she knows "cookie" and that could have connected "hungry" and "cookie" in her doggy brain that equals "eat," or it could just have been a coincidence (she was hungry) but no matter what, it was hilarious.

After her snack and a drink she is now asleep on the bed. Good dog!

Friday, April 13, 2007

20 hrs pr week

Ok remember how we were close to the income limits for the lofts? How could that be? Well, it was very simple really, the Olaf payroll office put me down for 20 hrs pr week instead of 20 hrs pr payroll. So, it looked like I made thousands more than I did. This matters, because we still have to be under the $37,000 limit for 6 more months, and since it looked like we were so close it was going to be tricky. But I knew something was fishy, and I am glad I found the stink.

Now we are in a good place, not to high and not too low. Juuuuust right....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So it goes...

My favorite author Kurt Vonnegut, came unstuck in time last nigtht at 84 years old. He fell and hit his head, so it goes. The New York Times has written a good article about his life, and Boing Boing will be writing about him all day I assume.

He was a novelist, and artist, an aggressive political writer, and someone who has shaped my thinking about the world distinctly. Time Quake for art, Slaughterhouse Five for war, Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions for something i'm sure, and God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian for death.

His presence will be missed. I think I will just imagine him running off into heaven shouting TING-A-LING! TING-A-LING! as loud as he can.

Update Here is Vonnegut reading from Slaughter House Five that holds the key to much of this post

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Life is good

Oh yes- life is good. We signed our lease- something we've been planning on since June! It's been a stressful process hopping through all the financial hoops, but we finally made it.

And after we got done, I got to go to my first preceptorship at Normandale Vet Clinic. It was so much fun, and I got to do more there in one day than I did during my entire semester at the clinic in Northfield. There are three of us working at the same clinic, and we all started our preceptorships today. The vet I'm working with immediately made me feel both comfortable and professional, and encouraged me to participate in his appointments with clients. Rather than awkwardly hanging out in the corner of the exam room during his appointments (like I did at the Northfield clinic), I was introduced to the clients as an intern, asked to listen to heart and lung sounds, palpate, and look at teeth and eyes and scabs and bumps. He gave me a pop quiz on where the palpable lymph nodes are on a dog, and I got most of them (except for inguinals- darn you inguinals!). I also got to perform my very first blood draw and vaccine injection! The techs are awesome teachers, and are very very patient people. They all seem really familiar with having vet students around, and kept encouraging us to jump in whenever we could. I'm so excited to go back!

So anyway, today has been an exciting (and draining) day. It is finally starting to sink in that getting the apartment means not just moving out of here, or moving in to there, but moving in together (!). We were a little spoiled by four years of dorm life, and being minutes away from each other most of the time. This year has been all about planned visits, commuting, and "see you next weekend." Even today, all we had were a few minutes to digest the fact that we just signed the lease, the thing we've been waiting to do for so long- and then it was goodbye, drive safe, see you this weekend. We've both done some important growing and learning this year, but I think the main thing we've learned is that life together is so much better in so many ways. It will be so good to have that back again.

Lease is signed. Chris has an art project that has put him into that happy obsessive art place that he goes when he has a really good idea. I felt a little bit like a (baby) vet today. Winnie is wandering around trying to bury two bones at once. Yup, life is good.


Megan and I signed our lease today! (like that graphic?) So we are in in in. We also found out (much to our surprise) that we will make an estimated $32,000 next year some how. uhh.. ok but what ever because its below the $37,000 income limit! I asked if we could see our file so I could understand how our fiances improved so much from when the first (or was that second?) round of paperwork went through where we made the minimum limit by a few hundred dollars! But you can't because the employer might say something that you don't know yet. So here is hoping for a whopping raise!!

All in all it was a very anticlimactic event. It took forever, over an hour, but I was asking a lot of questions so that didn't help. Megan and I were going to celebrate but she had to be some place at 2 and I had a meeting at 3 so we went our separate ways as quickly as we came. *sigh*

Even though this place is fantastically cheap for what we are getting, the price comes with the cost of flexibility and all this HUD section 42 lawyer paper talk that is difficult and stressful. But, we don't have the money but we do have some stress to give so I guess its more than worth it! And we get to keep Winnie with a $500 deposit, $200 non refundable. So for the next few months Winnie is going to be jingling around with a tin can around her neck looking forlorn and whimpering until you give her some change... But at least we get to have her! And word on the street is that some people are pushing for an inclosed dog area, aka dog park, on the grounds! That would be wonderful!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Summer plans

I survived the Organology final today (yay), and for the first time in ages I changed an incorrect answer to a correct answer, instead of the other way around. Wee! Take that, Cushing's disease. Now we've finished both Neurology and Organology, and soon Animal Populations will be over. We got our Pharm and Virology exams back yesterday, and I was very happy with both grades! Too bad classes can't end right now, my GPA would be very happy if they did. The rest of the week is pretty calm. Tomorrow I start my preceptorship at Normandale Vet Clinic in Edina. One of my classmates has already worked with the vet that I'm paired with, and said he's a really great guy, so I'm excited.

Starting my preceptorship has gotten me thinking about what I'll be doing this summer. I've sort of been planning on looking for work in a clinic to boost my clinical experience, which I am lacking in right now. I need to call some clinics to see if anyone is hiring just for the summer. I know Banfield clinics do a summer work program, and I considered it for a while, but it would require selling a small portion of my soul, so I dropped that idea. I'm going to try calling the Como Park clinic soon. They're one of the premier bird clinics in the area, so I hope that means they see lots of other exotics too. They're also only about 5 miles from our apartment!

My other idea for this summer is to do an internship at the Widlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville. I spent one summer there a few years ago as a volunteer in the Mammal Nursery and really enjoyed it- and that meant a once-a-week commute from Northfield to Roseville! It would be a lot easier coming from St. Paul. The internship also counts as elective credit for school, so although it's unpaid, I get class credit. Chris and I talked and decided I should go for it, so my application is going in tomorrow. Wish me luck! I'll keep everyone updated.

Thank goodness Pipkin is quiet...

A New American Flag

Watch this space. Art + Politics + Satire coming soon...

(now live @ 11:52)

Monday, April 09, 2007

What is the Twin Cities?

This post is in response to Sarah who left a comment wondering about the Twin Cities and the U of M Vet School. (a blog conversation if you will!) I had written this in her comments but it got so long that I though I should just put it on the front page here instead! So what do I think of Minneapolis/St. Paul?

Minneapolis is a fast growing art town with some world class places like the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theatre as well as good local spots like the Soap Factory. Right now I am a bit removed from what's going on because I live out of town a bit, but I am very much looking forward to moving back in a few weeks. Places like the Carleton Artist Lofts where we will be living are part of the growing community there.

The outdoors is always available. It is hard to avoid dog parks, lots and lots of lakes with miles and miles of trails, natural areas, gardens, and so on. I think its because there is just so much water around with the lakes and the rivers that the city just built parks around them.

... But, its not always fun to go to those parks! Yes it does get cold and if you are not expecting it winter can get long, and .. cold. So scarves and big jackets are popular. But I think that this makes people appreciate nice days all that much more, to the point that in the summer every one is outside going a bit nuts. So a little bi-polar but I like it.

You need cars to get around most (if not all) of the time. There are buses but those are a bit of a pain. Light rail is growing and has become really popular in the last few years since it was built, and they are doubling its size by 2010 to go east to St. Paul. But traffic is not usually bad especially compared to other large cities.

The people are nice. Not as nice as we like to believe sometimes, but people will be very open and even affectionate to you quickly.

This is the land of Paul Wellstone and is a historicly liberal trending state, but right now have a Republican Governor, a Republican Senator, and Michele Bachmann from MN-6 who is just insane right wing. We also elected pro wrestler Jesse Ventura for Governor so try and figure that out.

Does any one else from the Twin Cities want to add anything? This is all from my sort of odd perspective of growing up in Minneapolis, then leaving 5 years ago mostly to live in rural Minnesota for college and now after college. I am very very excited to move back though, as proven by this long post!

Added @ 2:30: Bjorn Jeannette gets the first comment! Click on the comments link and be sure to add your piece! I want to hear what every one thinks of my past and future home town.

Added @ 2:35: You can't miss the wikipedia entry about the twin cities. Fun idea, Minneapolis is the furthest east "Western" city (a newer grid city), and St. Paul is the furthest west "Eastern" city (older and more irregular). I believe that.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter bunny

A classmate found a bunny abandoned outside her apartment by the dumpster a few days ago. Are the Easter bunnies being dumped before Easter this year?

Chocolate and plush bunnies will make your kids just as excited as a live rabbit, but they won't bite, poop, get big, want attention, or need an expensive cage.

Visit Make Mine Chocolate to learn about why rabbits are not the best Easter gifts, or, if you already have a rabbit, learn how best to care for him.

Pipkin says, "Bunnies are pets, not presents!"

Saturday morning

Ah, a sleepy Saturday morning in Northfield. Chris and the Pooh Bear are still snoozing, but for some reason my school week schedule sticks with me on weekends and won't let me sleep past 8 or so. It looks beautiful outside, but Weatherbug says that it's only 19 degrees!! Brr. This does not feel like Easter weekend.

After Monday's Pharmacology test and my Wednesday presentation on Przewalski horses, this week loosened up a lot. Here is what stands between me and the end of first year:

-Organology final
-Virology exam
-Physiology exam (GI tract)
-Pharmacology final
-Virology final
-Genetics exam
-20 hour preceptorship at Normandale Vet Clinic
-one more clerk duty shift
-a few more Foal Team shifts
-Holistic Club acupuncture wetlab
-ZEAW club rabbit physical exam wetlab
-Virology presentation on Rabbit Hemmorhagic Disease Virus
-Zoo presentation to 3rd-graders about the rainforest
-Professional Skills presentation to high schoolers about the link between animal abuse and domestic/child abuse
-Clinical Skills presentation about physical examination of the GI tract
-Clinical Skills practical exam of how to do a small animal physical exam
-Behavior Core

All that before June? No problem.

We had a cool case given to us this week in Physiology about why you shouldn't give dogs Ibuprofen:

History: An owner (an M.D.) noticed that his two year old Borzoi was acting a little arthritic, so he decided to give her some Ibuprofen. He extrapolated the dog's dose from the human dose, and gave it to her for three days. One the third day, they came into the hospital, and the dog was flat-out, with blood coming out of her mouth and nose, extremely dehydrated, unresponsive.

What happened: Ibuprofen is what's known as a COX inhibitor. COX is an enzyme that makes prostaglandins, the molecules responsible for causing fever and pain. So, if you inhibit COX, you stop pain and fever. However, there are two kinds of COX (COX-1 and COX-2). COX-2 is the one responsible for pain and fever, while COX-1 makes prostaglandins that keep your body running normally. In particular, they help to protect your stomach lining from the acid that your stomach secretes. Ibuprofin inhibits both of those COX enzymes, so while it releives pain, it also lowers your body's protective stomach lining (which is why long-term, heavy usage of Ibuprofin in humans can lead to stomach ulcers). The MD gave his dog a much higher dose of Ibuprofin than a dog can handle, so within three days, his dog had large, bleeding ulcers in her stomach.

The outcome: After three days of Ibuprofen, the dog spent three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. The options to treat the bleeding ulcers were either to tret them medically and hope they'd heal, or go in and surgically remove them. They decieded to treat medically. She did ultimately make a full recovery. The cost? $117,700. The lesson? Pay attention to species differences in physiology!!! Animal pain relievers (i.e. Metacam) selectively inhibit COX-2, without inhibiting COX-1.

Not much else to share from this week, except that I'm quite giddy that we've been approved for the apartment for real! Time to start browsing garage sales for some of those big things we still need...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Plant celebration!

I mentioned below that we bought some plants for the apartment, well here they are! We divided them into short and tall, and I took the short to northfield because they are easier to move. Among the hall is a lot of basil + other herbs, a coffee plant(!), 2 hops vines, and some jasmine. And more too! Everything was half off when we got there and has been raised in the U of M green house so everything is quite healthy. We will see what does good in the apartment, but I want to enjoy the fact that we have 4 huge south facing windows!

This was also an experiment with uploading photos from my phone directly to the blog, and it seems to have worked well.

Walky Dog

For Megan's birthday back in December I got her a "Walky Dog" bike leash for Winnie. Well now that it is warm enough the snow is gone Megan has been trying it out! I got to use it yesterday for the first time too, and it is great! We are amazed at how fast Winnie can run. And the Walky Dog keeps her away from the tires and gears and such just right. Megan also got her a body harness so if the bike were to fall it would just pull her with instead of drag her by the neck. Winnie loves it so much that she goes crazy when you put her harness on, and once you start moving she drags you along, you just have to steer!

Here a video of my first ride with it, coming in from down the hill and into Megan's driveway.

I was up yesterday to celebrate our loft acceptance and we did what we would normally do, buy about $40 worth of plants (they were 1/2 off!) at the U of M plant sale, and go do dinner across the street to Caffe Biaggio (awful web page). The Caffe was great, and the best part (well besides the wonderful food) was the inside looks exactly like the inside of our apartment. They must have been built at the same time, and then even renovated the same way. Same brick same windows same suspended vents and same lighting! Not much longer now, 25 days...

Thursday, April 05, 2007


From Inside the ap...
See that? Apartment no. 213 in building "A" at the Carleton Artists Lofts? Well that just moved a BIG step closer to being our home! I just got a call that all our financial information checked out, I have been approved as an artist, and all that is left is to apply a little more ink to some paper next week and we are in in in.

Megan and I are ecstatic and Winnie is too i'm sure. The main living area is so open, she is going to have such a big loop to run in! (read whats next in a 1930s sports caster voice)

And she is around the couch and already past the dinning table. Hard turn to the left around the kitchen island. Will she keeps her momentum around the turn? Yes! Now its down the straight towards the pillar she goes. Look at that speed! Duck around the pillar and back to the couch again, ohhh she skidded out there but recovered! The cement is slick today but will she make it??? Yes! there it is folks, Elfwinkle's Winniehaha "The Pooh Bear" ** has taken the prize

Heh ok blogging while giddy is fun.

Any way move in day is May 1st and we will have a move in party a few weeks after that depending on school and such. Every one and more is of course invited! More details to follow.

One more thing I wont mention it too much on here, but a story that I have not told is how in LA I got a call about some trouble with our app that caused me quite a large amount of stress. Big thanks to Cletus for keeping me OK through it.

In other news I have quit my job at the Caf to focus on my show May 1st at the Northfield Arts Guild. It was fun while it lasted! Time to move up and on....

** (that is Winnie's full name by the way)

Housing graphs

Speaking of graphs, check out this highly unnerving video of the US housing market graphed by roller coaster tycoon. This is all from Im not quite sure what to think of it, except to take it as a bit of caution. Also, housing has only doubled in value? (adjusted to inflation) I found another such graph of the DOW since the 20's and it makes housing look conservative! So are we doomed or is this the way things run now. Anyway, try to enjoy the ride!

(Here is the graph they used)

(The DOW and housing since 1920 adjusted for inflation)

Traffic down

What google grantih google can takith a wayith. After my first LA post that had all the car talk in it our traffic shot up 600% due to google image hits and we made about $6 in ad revenue. For a moment I thought it might keep up but I think our wave is done. Oh well, thats fine with me! I would rather write for people who care rather than image zombies floating about the internet. (with apologies to any image zombies floating about right now)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back in Northfield

Pictures! I found my camera cable here so I just uploaded all the good ones to a Picasa (google) album on the left. I am back in Northfield after coming full circle from LA. Its quite a change! The weather is quite chilly, but I don't mind that as much as I thought I would. It just surprises me a bit when I go outside with my new LA jacket! (see the last photo) I enjoy not knowing what the weather will be like though, I guess thats why I live in Minnesota.

The biggest change is going from a quick pace and a very social environment to here where things are very much about me, about here, and things kind of remain the same. Lucky for me that I get to take the great energy I got from Cletus and from LA and apply it to my life here. It was a memorable and wonderful trip that I hope to be able to do again soon. Enjoy the photos and I will write more later!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

can't forget.....

Thanks to all those who stopped by to say hi not just to Pipkin, but to me too! Parents, Nick and Diane, Lindsey and Dave, and Brandon Jutz- school feels very far from the real world sometimes, so it was nice to bring a little of the real world in :-) Thanks for coming!

open house

Phew, I survived! Today was the U of MN CVM's Open House, an event that I've been attending for years. I finally got to be in it! How exciting. The coolest part was that I was not only in it, but running my club's table. We started the day with about 40 bags of homemade dog cookies, cookie recipes, and about 250 samples of dog and cat food donated by Natura (the people who sponsor us). By the end, we had just a few bags of cookies left (note to self: no one wants wheat-free dog treats), only 4 samples of food left, and no recipes!

But by far the biggest attraction of our table was not the free stuff, or the dog cookies, or my charming self, but Pipkin the rabbit. He was an exceptionally perfect bunny today. He got poked in the eyes, had his ears tugged on, and had one little girl repeatedly grab him around his neck (oh man, I wanted to grab her around her neck). He just took it all in stride as always, munching on hay the whole time. Pip even got to give one little boy his first experience petting an animal. What a perfect little gentleman he was. I don't like to think that he's getting to be an old bunny, although he could just be middle-aged. He's six, and it's not uncommon to hear of 12 year old rabbits these days. We will try to keep him around a long long time. He's a pretty special guy.

No rest, though- pharmacology test tomorrow. Back to the books....

edited to add: check out the ticker...........!!!!