Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Here's what I was up to this week:
- I took Pat out for dinner to celebrate his up-coming promotion. He heard about it on Wednesday. He's now an analyst programmer. I'm so proud of him!
- Thursday I presented in class on the role of Rho signaling in calcium sensitization. It went really well. 3 down, 1 to go!
- I finished The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. The next (6th) book in the series is A Breath of Snow & Ashes ... which isn't available in any bookstores in the area!!! So I ordered it off Amazon - I hope it comes in soon (the email says today). I love this series!
- The fat sample that came in on Tuesday came in too late - it stayed out all night. Waste. I can't afford to waste those... And the one scheduled for Thursday was a bust. *sigh*
- I listed this necklace, using hmbstudios's awesome beads:
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Yes - definitely more ruffles today. And some cute birds - you really can't get much better than that! This gorgeous vase by jmrpottery deserves a spot of honour where it can bring a smile to your face every time you walk by it.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
For today's Science Byte, I'll be answering a question from one of my most faithful readers - my mom. She was wondering how an antibiotic taken orally can find the infection, or how a painkiller can find an ache.
When you use a cream on a rash or an inhaler for an asthma attack, it's easy to imagine the drug working directly at the site of the problem. But when you take a drug orally, how does it get to where it needs to be?
First, the drug has to pass through the stomach & then hopefully get digested somewhere along the way before it's ... uh, too late. This is probably the trickiest part of designing a new oral drug - actually getting it absorbed. First there's the acidity of the stomach to consider - often drugs have a protective coating to help them through the stomach. Next, the drug has to be digested, usually in the small intestines. The hard part is that the intestines are designed to absorb nutrients we need... not necessarily the drugs you're trying to take. There are ways to work around this though. If the drug is fatty enough, it will pass through the cell membrane & get absorbed with other fats. Otherwise, the molecule has to be engineered in such a way that it will be absorbed - having a similar shape to a necessary nutrient helps. This is why some drugs must be injected - or why more serious conditions are treated with an IV or shots. You're guaranteed to get high levels of the drug in the bloodstream.
Fine, the drug is absorbed - now what? Distribution. The drug is in the bloodstream & gets distributed throughout the body. But not so fast, it isn't quite that simple (is it ever?). The blood coming from the intestines passes through the liver first. The liver helps to clean out the blood & repackage some of the nutrients so that they can be distributed throughout the body. One of its major roles is metabolism - many compounds & drugs get degraded in the liver. This metabolism can send the compound to be excreted or it can actually activate the drug. Once active, it can hit the bloodstream & exert its effect. If the drug isn't excreted after this metabolism, it will travel through the body until it is eventually voided (via the kidneys, intestines, sweat or shed skin/intestinal cells).
As a recap - you just learned the ABCs of pharmacology - ADME. Absorption, distribution, metabolism & excretion. These are the steps that the majority of drugs pass through on their way through our body. The body is designed to protect us though, & the actual amount of working drug absorbed is usually very small. Which is why you often have to take more than one dose (perhaps over a period of days). This repeated dosing maintains the concentration of drug in the blood above a certain threshold needed for the desired effect to be achieved.
But still I haven't answered the question. How does the drug find the problem? How do antibiotics find the bacteria? Well, the short answer is that it doesn't. Oral drugs are distributed (more or less) evenly throughout the body & thus act everywhere. So if you have a sore knee & a headache, one painkiller will help both pains.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I'm always on the lookout for quick and easy vegetable side dish recipes. I get bored eating the same old thing, but Pat likes his red meat so I need to be creative with the sides. Here's a quick veggie stir fry that takes minutes and adds both a burst of colour and flavour to your plate.
Mixed Veggie Side
2 carrots (1 if it's particularly big)
1 red pepper
1 small zucchini
1 yellow summer squash, if available
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1. Slice the veggies into matchsticks.
2. Fry on medium-low in a bit of oil. Start with the carrots & peppers, then add the zucchini & squash after 3 minutes. Fry for 3 more minutes.
3. Add the salad dressing & turn down the heat to low. Warm for a few more minutes, until the veggies are softened. Enjoy!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Here's what I was up to this week:
- We had a pot luck at work. I brought homemade mac'n'cheese - everyone was impressed (mostly because I made so much) & seemed to like it.
- I won SAS over on the MMG thread! EXCITING! My supportive friends made 8 purchases from me altogether.
- With my SAS winnings, I bought myself this funky serving plate that goes with my Swiss Alpine dishes:
- I worked on some paper crafts: cards for the MSOE feather challenge, a recycled notebook, an ACEO: - as well as on some jewelry: a couple bracelets, a really long necklace & a pair of earrings.
- We traveled back from up North on Monday - so I had a short, lazy week. It was nice.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Today's Science Byte is brought to you by Guyton & Hall's Textbook of Medical Physiology, p. 572.
Have you ever wondered about your 5 senses & how your body goes about actually sensing? Sure, your eyes see & your ears hear - but how? When you get down to the cellular level, specialized cells in these organs & throughout the body have special sensing receptors* that detect changes in our environment & convey these to our brain for processing.
There are 5 types of these sensing receptors but they don't correspond exactly to our 5 senses. They are as follows:
- mechanoreceptors: detect stretching or compression of the surrounding tissues - includes sounds receptors of the inner ear which detect the vibrations transmitted by the ear drum
- thermoreceptors: detect changes in temperature - some being cold, some hot
- nociceptors (AKA pain receptors): detect physical or chemical damage
- electromagnetic receptors: detect light on the retina of the eye - rods & cones for detecting white & coloured light, respectively
- chemoreceptors: detect various chemicals - includes taste & scent detection, blood oxygen, carbon dioxide & glucose levels
So as you can see, there is more to it than just the 5 senses. But if you do break it down by the 5 senses, then you get:
- touch: mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors & nociceptors
- taste: chemoreceptors (& nociceptors - spicy foods act on pain receptors to give you that burning feeling)
- sight: electromagnetic receptors
- smell: chemoreceptors
- hearing: mechanoreceptors
The only problem with this outlook is that you forget that the chemoreceptors have many more functions than simply allowing us to enjoy tastes & smells (or not).
*receptor: a receptor is basically a large protein on a cell that has at least one pocket or binding site where some chemical or compound can attach. Receptors are often on the membrane of the cell so that it can detect changes in the environment surrounding the cell. Receptors can also be found inside cells where they detect any chemicals that may have made their way into the cell.
Have a request for the next Science Byte? Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite science topic or any burning questions you may have!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Lillyella is one of my favourite blogs - her Couture du Jour is my favourite daily feature. Recently, she issued a fun challenge: The Fiji Dress. The challenge is to create an outfit around the Fiji Dress (by modaspia) - either dressy or casual - using 3 pieces. Here's what I've come up with - I have 2 dressy outfits since my first attempt at casual didn't end up being so casual.
Sweet & Sassy
Sexy & Sleek
Bright & Bubbly
Bright snakeskin flats in yellow (American Eagle) - Cropped cardigan in gentle fawn (Old Navy) - Baroque Swirlies porcelain earrings in purple (Suuskeramiek)
Which one is your favourite?
If you plan on submitting an entry, be sure to leave a comment with links so that we can see your combination(s)! You have until Monday, February 22 to enter.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I had a dream last week. It wasn't especially long or strange, but very specific. I dreamed that I lost an earrings - one of those heart ones I recently received. All I remember is feeling my ear & the earring was gone.
Well. Now here's the weird part: I lost one of those earrings last night. I went to take them off ... nothing but earlobe. What the...?
Thankfully, I found the missing earrings in the shirt I had just taken off.
But still... that's the first prescient dream I've ever had! I'll let you know if I have any more!
I had a GREAT long weekend! We left Friday afternoon & arrived in North Bay just in time - we drove straight to the ice. Pat only missed the first half of his first pond hockey game. Our team was slaughtered both games that night, but they were just getting the kinks out & learning how to play together. Saturday's 2 games were much better - they won 1 & lost 1, both by 1 point.
Since they won a game, they got to play a consolation game on Sunday (for 5th to 8th place) - at 10 AM. Everyone was less than thrilled at the early time - since we all live out of town, that means getting up at 8 to leave by 9 to get there before 10. But we all made it out - even Pat's cousin, whom we invited the night before after being down one man on Saturday. Turns out the other team didn't show up - we won by default. Everyone showed up for nothing. Well. Not nothing. They all won a toque. Everyone agreed they'd most likely do it again next year - it was a lot of fun!
I brought the camera but left it in the car both days (I had it Sunday though). So all I have are 3 crappy cell phone pictures. The first one I took is probably the best - and also at a lower resolution. Awesome, I know. Here's one of my sexy hockey player (giving me the finger - Dalton, a friend of Matt's, beside him laughing):
And here are a couple action shots of them getting ready for the second half of their winning game: Pat's the one moving in both - Dalton is #3 & crouched down in the other picture. My younger brother John is 24, with the grill in the background.
Clearly, I was a fan & not a photographer.
Besides the tournament, we had a pretty good weekend. We spent the rest of the time with friends & family and we actually saw everyone we wanted to - that never happens! On Sunday evening, after a few drinks, Terri-Anne (my sister-in-law) read me, my mom & Emily (John's girlfriend) our tarot cards. Mine was a very accurate reading. A new step predicted in my learning & career (starting my PhD within a year), spending money is where I am my own worst enemy & the description of my personality was pretty bang on.
We left early on Monday since I had to go to work briefly to take care of my adipocyte cultures. We had a great trip though & look forward to heading North again at Easter! Maybe I'll take a few more pictures then...
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I came up with this on a whim Monday night. I wasn't too sure how it would turn out & was pleasantly surprised. Pat loved it - I would have preferred it if I hadn't over-cooked the pasta (it was a touch mushy for me). Quick & simple - plus it's easy to substitute whatever meat, vegetable & cheese you have on hand.
Cheesy Chicken Pasta
1 red pepper
3 celery stalks
3 garlic cloves
2 chicken breasts
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley
2 cups cheese (mozzarella, Brie, Parmesan)
1. Slice the red pepper, onion & celery. Chop the garlic or use a garlic press. Fry together in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat - season as desired. Remove from the pan once the veggies start looking a little soft - about 5 minutes.
2. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season. Fry on medium-high heat until brown & cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, start a large pot of water to boil. Cook around 4 servings of your favourite spaghetti/spaghettini/linguine until al dente. I used capellini - the skinny noodles gave the dish a nice texture.
4. Add the veggies to the chicken. Add in the tomatoes & tomato paste. Simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.
5. Grate the cheese (cut Brie into small cubes).
Stir it in. Warm on low for 5 more minutes. (This picture was taken before I added in the tomato paste - it should be a bit let watery.)
6. Stir in the cooked & drained pasta. Serve immediately.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I love the look of embroidery hoops hanging on the wall - they make for a great dynamic textile art piece. DashingEtc has some beautiful felt flower ones - obviously I'm showing you the beautiful heart in honour of tomorrow.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Here's what I was up to this week:
- I received this gorgeous painting from my friend Angie. I LOVE it! (Please disregard the reflections in the glass.)
- I spent last night packing - we're heading home for the long weekend (Monday is Family Day)!
- I finally finished up this notebook for Dorana. I was a bit uncertain how to decorate it & decided to keep it simple. I'm glad I did.
- I made these delicious peanut butter chocolate bars... they're so rich you can feel the fat accumulating. But in a good way.
- I finally took pictures of & listed this composition book I covered a couple weeks ago. I love the bright spring patterns.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Don't you just love the week before a long weekend? Sure, there are often things to get done in preparation for the extra day off, but there's always such an air of anticipation that makes the work light. For me, this week has been lazy. Long weekend coming up & I don't have anything urgent to take care of. In consequence, I've been baking & crafting a lot.
This long weekend, we're heading home (up North to Sturgeon Falls & Verner). We wouldn't usually go home on a random long weekend, but my brother signed Pat up for a hockey tournament. It's just a fun pond hockey tournament the college is putting on - held on the (rather large) pond behind the school. Tiny little nets with no goalies, 3 (or maybe 4?) men per team on the ice at a time & each team is guaranteed 4 games. It should be fun - for the guys, there's no way I'm playing. Even if I wanted to, Matt wouldn't let me - he's already worried about getting thrashed!
Their team - the Reversibles - is composed of my 2 brothers, Matt & John, Pat & a friend of Matt's, Dalton. Matt's never played hockey really, besides in the back yard with John, who played hockey (both house league & AA) until... hmmm. Grade 6? 7? Somewhere around there. At least 7 years ago. Pat played hockey for 13 years - but he hasn't been on skates more than 2 or 3 times a year for the past 7 years. I'm not too sure about Dalton, or any other friends that may be stopping by for a game... But. I have a feeling they'll be a bit rusty their first game. And probably more than a bit sore for their 4th game... Keep your fingers crossed!
They play Friday at 7PM and 9PM and Saturday at 6PM & 7PM. On the pond behind Nipissing University in North Bay. Will I see you there?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I decided to change it up today - today's Science Byte is brought to you by Vander, Sherman & Luciano's Human Physiology, the Mechanisms of Body Function, p.262.
I'm sure many of you already know that the left side of your brain controls the movement & sensations on the right side of your body & vice versa for the right side of the brain. Language is a bit different though; it's mainly controlled by the left side of your brain.
Language can be broken up into different parts: hearing, reading, writing and speaking words. A different region of the brain deals with each of these different parts. For example, the cerebellum (at the bottom-back) is involved in speaking and writing.
What's really cool is that men & women process language differently - some parts of the right side in a women's brain are also activated when talking or reading, but not men's brains.
Memories are also handled differently - verbal memories are associated with the left side & nonverbal memories with the right side.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Anyone else a Saints fan? I am - I was cheering them on last night (& glad to see Manning go down - that interception was gold!). Show your pride with this great shirt by circularaccessories. I love the subtle design in the logo - who dat?