liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

The Cat Chronicles: Tacks and Fleas

Kitten just pulled another tack off my corkboard, causing important things to do lists to fall into the dark behind my desk. She loves to play with tacks, and leaves them lurking in the carpet when she is done. But her very favorite thing is a desk drawer just slightly open, with a hair tie in there. She'll play and play with the desk drawer, and when she finds the hair tie she will snatch it up as if it were a live bird, and run off to play with it on the slippery livingroom floor. That's where she is now, batting a hair tie around and pawing at the walls.

Vida the pug beast is sleeping in front of the radiant heater (we call it "the fire"), drugged with some kind of anti-itch pill. We've been stuggling with fleas, or something. Vida certainly has had fleas, but the kitten doesn't seem as affected. So far we've used that front line stuff, before learning how toxic it is, and discovering that the local fleas aren't scared of that shit. It only kept Vida flea free for about 2 weeks at a stretch. Then Suzanne put diatomaceous earth on her. It seemed to work, but it had a poisonous dusty smell to it. Suzanne has been putting occasionally brewer's yeast and raw garlic in the food. The garlic seems to work for about a day. I eat lots of garlic, and I'm wondering if that's why I don't have fleas.

It's half raining half snowing today, droplets with ice crystals in them. I'm supposed to go help a friend move--some heavy oak furniture--but he called us off until the roads around his house de-ice. I am going to study some more biochemistry this weekend. I answered about 2/3 of the study questions last night, while I was "at work" as a security guard at school. I really enjoy biochemistry when it applies directly to health.

I asked my security cow-orker what the board exams were like, and learned a lot. She passed all five sections, but was afraid that she had flunked the pathology section and the microbiology. She felt good on the biochemistry, and I guess the other two are anatomy and physiology? Nobody seems to talk about those. Anyway there's something called a "cut score" which is determined when they are designing the test. They run the test questions by a panel of practicing doctors, and the doctors rate the questions to how important and relevant that info is to their practice. Highly relevant information gets a higher "cut score" and so is worth more on the test.

This is a relief to me. I have a good sense of the big picture, of how systems interact and of the major diseases of our time. I am frightened when I have to memorize minutia to pass a test. It is important to know that more energy is stored in fats than is stored in carbohydrates or protein, but it is important to be able to calculate how many ATP you can generate metabolically for each compound? For my upcoming test, it appear that it is important. But I am not too interested. I am much more interested in the story about cholesterol--about how we can build cholesterol from glucose, and high insulin levels provoke its manufacture. I am interested in the fact that we cannot break cholesterol back down once we have built it. The only ways to get rid of cholesterol are to poop it out, sweat it out, or shed it from the skin. That is interesting to me. I'm pretty excited about ketone bodies too. =-]

The precipitation is very thick and white now, almost snow, but it still goes splat on the wet road. Vida is panting in front of the fire, but she's not moving. Suzanne is adding a new musician to her pandora radio station. If you haven't tried internet radio yet, I recommend this. You choose a few artists that you like, and the "music genome project" fills your air with tunes that are genetically similar to the ones you say you like. It turns out that Suz and I have similar taste in tunes---mostly lyric acoustic folky stringy music, minor and major tonalities, some storytelling tunes the radio station created from our combined artist selections is enjoyable to both of us all day long.
Tags: biochemistry, boards, cholesterol, insects, insulin, music, nd1, pets, shakti

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