Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amazing Weekend

I can't believe its almost over. Having 4 days off has been great - I've been able to recharge, and my stress level is basically zero.

I saw Dimmu Borgir last night. They are absolutely wonderful live. One of the opening bands (I never caught their name) was pretty terrible, but Enslaved was great. I hadn't heard of them before, but they're similar to Dimmu - very melodic, basically distorted classical. And they SING. Best of all, they're also from Norway, and the vocalist's accent was so thick. In between songs he'd say something, and I'd expect the next line out of his mouth to be "My lungs unsbuzzle the air from the earth, as I can breathe... it. Period." Which probably makes absolutely no sense to 99% of the people reading this, but the 1% that gets it is going to be thinking the exact same thing when they see them play in Colorado. (Hint - its from the cartoon I named my dog after.) Anyway, Dimmu's show was amazing. Some of the more melodic keyboard parts got drowned out in the mix, but their light show was very impressive, and with the exception of the keys, they almost sound just like the album live. I left the show with a scratchy voice from screaming, a sore neck from headbanging, seeing spots from the light show, and ringing ears. It was so worth it.

I must say, though, it is so bizarre to go to a metal show and not know a single person there. I kind of feel like in Colorado, the metal scene was my second family. If it was a local band playing, I'd probably know at least 50% of the crowd, and for a big show like this, I'd still probably know at least 20 people who showed up. It definitely hit me at the show yesterday, and made me feel really homesick.

I've also been doing "productive" stuff this weekend. On our final exams, in addition to the same written and practical portions we've had before, we have a new part called the ACT, or "Assessment of Critical Thinking." Basically, we're presented with a case (similar to the ones we've had during the block) that describes a scenario, and gives us some clinical values, and we have to decide which two options from a list it's the most likely to be, describe the pathophysiology of those disease processes, and write about which tests we would use to rule in or rule out those diagnoses. I've been spending most of the weekend laying the groundwork to prepare for it. I'm feeling decently confident about it, but at the same time, feel like there's no real way to be completely prepared for it.

One more week of actual classes, then finals. After that, assuming I make it through ok, I'll be 1/8th of the way done with vet school!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Yesterday was amazing. Unlike quite a few of my luckier classmates, I didn't get to go home for Thanksgiving. Instead, I decided to cook a thanksgiving dinner for Tyler and I. I've been pretty busy with classes, and I really haven't been able to really cook all semester. I've pretty much just thrown things together that take under 20 minutes. Actually getting to cook and bake was awesome. And I think this is the first Thanksgiving in the 9 years Tyler and I have been together that we haven't had to deal with guilt trips and hauling ourselves all over town, effictively ruining the holiday. As an aside - have you noticed that the people who lay the heaviest guilt trips, and are the most manipulative and vocal about wanting to see you are the people you least want to spend time with?

I decided to make a couple interesting recipes that I found online, combined with replicating a couple of Tyler's grandma's recipes, and my Mom's pumpkin pie. What we ended up with:

A brined turkey which was then wrapped in bacon before being roasted. (Juciest turkey I have ever had in my life!)

Sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Asparagus cassarole
Some bizarre 'Nilla wafer pineapple dessert thing his grandma always makes
Caramel apple pie
Turtle cheesecake
Pumpkin pie

Since our dining table and chairs didn't fit in our moving pod, and we haven't replaced them yet, Tyler set the coffee table (I know, how classy, right?) and we dug in. There was only one casualty in the food department - I took a bite of the pumpkin pie, and immediately realized that I had forgot to put the sugar into it. Unsweetened pumpkin pie is nasty. However, I had opened a big can of pumpkin and froze what wasn't used in the pie, so I might have to re-make it with ALL the ingredients this time. And even though the pumkin pie sucked, the apple pie was probably the most amazing thing ever. I don't eat cheesecake, but Tyler said that the turtle cheesecake was amazing.

However, we're going to be eating leftovers for the foreseeable future. The smallest turkey I could find was 14 pounds - for only the two of us.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and try not to get trampled in the Black Friday craziness!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Duck, Duck, Duck......

So our bird case this week is turning out to be a bacterial disease of ducks that affects the females and egg hatchability. Since it was a reproduction-related case, it reminded me of an impressive anatomical feature of ducks. Their giant corkscrew penises. I told my group about it when we were discussing the case. They didn't seem impressed. So I told some of my friends from the last group I was in, and they thought it was hilarious. Of course, this is the same group of people that looked at me askance when I told them about iguanas having two penises (hemipenes.) I blame for most of my knowlege of weird animal penises.

And something that totally made my day - we had our vet issues class today, and at the beginning of class, they announced that they had a special guest - Dr. Khuly of Fully Vetted.

When I applied to WesternU, we had these supplemental essay questions we had to write about, and one of them was basically "Who do you admire, and why?" I wrote about Dr. Khuly, and how I love how open and honest she is with the general public in her blog about how the veterinary profession works. Its through her blog that I've learned about some issues in the profession I wouldn't have known about for quite some time otherwise. Her blog is one of the big reasons this blog exists.

She ended up just sitting through the last couple group presentations of ethical issues, and got to see our class dressing up, acting out skits, and being silly. Unfortunately, I guess she talked to the 2nd years, but just sat through our embarassingly lame ethics presentations. I was tempted to go up to her after class got out and go all fangirl on her, but I decided against it. Now I'm wishing I had.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Avian Techniques"

Friday we had something on our schedule that was only labeled "Avian Techniques." I showed up to the anatomy lab first thing in the morning, to find a bunch of chickens laid out for us. We got to practice placing feeding tubes, bandaging wings, flushing nostrils, swabbing crops, and placing emergency breathing tubes into their air sacs. All in all, the lab was pretty awesome except for one thing - the chickens were dead, but their mites weren't. They won't live on people, but they will crawl on you before they lose interest - and after getting a couple mites on my arms, I spent the rest of the day paranoid about it and itchy.

I'm assuming since next week's a short week, and we had the chicken thing that our next case will be a bird. I really don't feel like I know much at all about birds, and I'm down for anything related to them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I don't know why I was thinking about this earlier today, but the geology geek in me is a little bummed out that we've only experienced one (very unimpressive) earthquake since we moved here. Come on, N. American and Pacific Plates, impress me!

Anyway, this week our case centers around a cat with increased appetite and weight gain - and everything seems really straightforward and easy to grasp. Which makes me really suspicious that either they're going to throw us a big curveball on Friday, or that I'm missing something really obvious.

Friday we have a lab on avian techniques. I'm guessing its going to be avian handling. Maybe next week, since its a short week for Thanksgiving, we'll have a bird case? And how is next week Thanksgiving anyway? What happened to November?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What happened to this semester?

I'm not kidding. I remember a long two months before midterms. Somehow, there's only 3 weeks until finals... and it doesn't seem like its been 5 weeks since our last test. I don't know whether to be slightly terrified that it seems like everything's whizzing by so fast, or pleased, because at this rate, 3 1/2 years will pass in what seems like a blink of the eye.

Remember that paleopathology talk I mentioned a couple months ago? I'm kicking myself for not being more proactive. One of my friends emailed the veterinary pathologist afterwards, and is volunteering with her to prepare T-Rex histo slides. My green-eyed monster is making its presence known, and I have nobody to blame but myself.

When I picked Tyler up from work today, I found a fun, albeit slighty evil way of starting a conversation with him. I asked "Guess how many cats we have today?" and the look on his face was priceless, before he asked how many more I dragged in. I actually took the older litter + the one I found under my car into the humane society today. They were all slightly over 2 pounds, and the woman I talked to there said they had a pretty good chance of being adopted. I really hope so, 'cause I was getting pretty attached to those buggers.

My younger litter is getting adorable. I think they're 6 weeks old now. They're running around like psychos, and generally just being trouble. The good kind. So if you or anyone you know is looking for a furry ball of awesome, they should be ready to go home mid-December. Otherwise, I'll have to resort to such tactics as sticking them in classmate's mailboxes, or flying home with them, putting bows on them, and passing them off as christmas presents.

In completely-unrelated-to-school news, I've got two awesome shows to go to in the next few weeks. Dimmu Borgir is playing the Fox theater right next door to campus the last week of November. Every time Dimmu came through when we lived in Colorado, something always happened so Tyler could go, and I couldn't. Either I was working nights, or we were too broke to go, and a friend slipped him an extra ticket. This time, they just released a new album, and I'm going, damnit. The other show I'm excited about is the Dresden Dolls. They broke up a few years ago, then Amanda Palmer did her solo album while she battled Roadrunner Records for owning her life. She finally got out of her contract with the label, the Dresden Dolls are getting back together for a renunion tour, and they just added a show in San Diego at the end of December. This will probably be my one and only chance to see the Dolls live, so I'm jumping on it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kitties galore

At school, we FINALLY have a cat case! I figured since we've been doing kidney and urinary tract cases for the past few weeks once we finally got a cat case it would end up being a blocked male cat, but no go. This week we've got a jaundiced cat, so I'll be delving into the world of biliruben, gallbladders and liver.

Speaking of kitties - I'm becoming convinced that they've planted some sort of homing beacon in my yard. Friday, I heard this pathetic frantic mewing, only to find a filthy little kitten under my car. I'm pretty sure you know where this leads. (And if you guessed that I now have 14 cats under my roof, you'd be correct.)

I'm pretty sure it breaks down like this: 1 or 2 cats, and you're a "cat person." 3-5 cats, and you're a "cat enthusiast." 6+ cats, and you're a crazy cat lady. 14 cats..... well, I'm pretty sure that puts me straight into straight jacket territory.

Tyler gets back into town tomorrow. I'm sure he enjoyed having his band fly him out for a week in Colorado and playing a show. I'm just happy he'll be back - with the exception of when his band went on tour, this is the longest we've been apart. Wednesday he starts his new job. I can't wait until he starts bringing in a paycheck. My student loans are tapped. You get enough in loans to cover your living expenses - if you don't have your roommates back out on you and stick you with twice as much rent as you were expecting, or if you don't end up supporting another person while they take 4 months to find a job. As long as I can figure out how to get us through this month, I shouldn't have to spend half my time figuring out how I'm going to pay bills anymore, and actually direct more of that energy towards studying.

Either the second or third week of classes, I tried to sign up with the LEAD office for tutoring. I never heard back from them until this weekend. They've finally lined me up with a couple tutoring groups - one for anatomy, and one for everything else. Our anatomy group met for the first time today. I don't know what it is about my tutor, but her energy's contageous. Somehow I left the group today actually *excited* about the subject. Hopefully I can keep this up.