Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy New Year: 2015

Here's an update for my family that reads my blog: I'm not dead! It's been a crazy time, but I'm hoping to get the blog up and going again, with all your favorite stories, recipes, and animations.

Happy 2015! I still feel like the year 2000 was so recent, it's hard to believe that was a full 15 years ago now.

So much has changed, even in the past one year. Even in the past four weeks!

After finally finishing up school and having my diploma in hand, I was able to get a seasonal job while Boyfriend finished up his last term of school. I worked out in Lebanon, OR at Persephone Farm. I met a lot of fabulous people and learned so much during those weeks there. One thing I learned right away is that farming is a work out! I have always respected what farmers do, but now I have first hand experience of just how hard they work every day! I also froze and canned fresh organic produce like none other, which we're really appreciating now. If you get the chance to go to the Salem, Hollywood, PSU, or Lloyd Farmers' Market go visit their stand and pick up some top notch, yummy produce!

Boyfriend graduated at the end of fall term and we promptly found a place on the outskirts of Portland that we absolutely adore. It's so perfect for us and even our grouchy old cat seems to be happy. That was about four weeks ago, and we're still working on finding places for all of our things. We've made about forty thousand trips to donate to Goodwill.

Boyfriend secured his dream job, and I did too soon after. I am lucky that I will get to use my degree in my new job and am so excited to get started.

Although we're only a few weeks in to 2015, I know it will be a year to remember, and I can't wait to see what it has in store for us.

I'm going to do my best to post at least once per month. *Fingers crossed*

I hope you have a successful and joyful new year!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ovarian Violence

I know this is a point that is complained about often, and therefore overlooked, but today I'd like us all sit down and talk about the violence that occurs every month.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about menstruation.

Fellas, I know a lot of us complain about this, and may or may not (but definitely do) yell at you for being so lucky as to have a penis. For us humans of the female gender, we do tend to overdramatize some stuff, but things are really not that easy.

First of all, ever notice how we all get so freaking cold? All the time? It's because our bodies perceive our uteruses (and other internal organs) as being the most important pieces to our bodies. That means when it's cold out, the blood flow keeping our extremities warm is suddenly diverted to our baby makers.

Humans are basically the only animal that truly has a menstrual cycle too. Most other mammals simply reabsorb the lining of the uterus, the endometrium. Chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives, can sometimes shed the endometrium, but it is often absorbed as well, and even more often, they don't have their cycle. Think about it. There's no birth control or marriage in the wild. As soon as a female ovulates, males take notice, and a baby is soon born. Then she must breast feed, which further prevents menstruation, until the baby is weaned and she is impregnated again. Thank goodness for our cultural norms, because nobody should a mom at 13, but it means we get to experience more periods.

But why do we shed the endometrium? I'm in Animal Sciences, and my Reproduction professor explained this phenomenon using words like "placental teeth".
Is that creepy or what!?

Humans have one of the most aggressive placentas in the animal kingdom. There are three main types of placental implantation based off of how many layers of the maternal tissue are invaded. Horses, pigs, and ruminants have it easy; their placentas lay on the surface of the womb digging into no layers. Dogs and cats lose their first two layers, the endometrial epithelium and connective tissue, to help anchor the placenta.

Humans and rodents have placentas known as "hemochorial". You might recognize "hemo" in words like hemoglobin and hemophilia. These words all involve blood. Our placentas invade three maternal layers, and actually tap into the mother's blood vessels. It is theorized that because our placenta rummages through so many layers, we have too much to reabsorb and thus it must be shed, including blood vessels that grow in response to estrogen (hence the bleeding).

I know that's a lot to absorb right now (pun intended). So here's a brilliant thing I found  to help explain:

When I was just beginning the wonderful journey of becoming a woman, I remember having menstrual cramps so intense I literally was forced to the fetal position on the floor crying. This is what the medical worlds calls dysmenorrhea. These cramps are caused by your uterus losing its sh*t and contracting too hard, cutting off blood flow and basically suffocating itself. It turns out that birth control is a good method for reducing this pain, along with Advil, heat pads, exercise, and avoiding salty and caffeinated foods.

I won't even get into the crazy roller-coaster ride that is hormones during the cycle. But obviously they cause a lot of unusual behavioral changes.

However, on a brighter note, I can honestly say our species has the most friendly looking penis. I have taken an animal reproduction course. You will not believe the morphology of some of the penes other species have. Specifically the pig, the sheep, and the cat.
  • The pig, or boar, is known for having a "corkscrew" penis. It actually locks into a female pig, or sow's, cervix during copulation. 
  • The sheep, or ram, is unique in that it has an appendage on its appendage, known as the filliform appendage. It's still not quite understood what this thing does. Are sheep aliens? Perhaps. 
  • The cat, or tom, in response to testosterone, grows keratinized BARBS on his penis. They rake the lady bits to induce ovulation. All I can say is that I finally know why my female cat is so angry all the time...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bronze Radio Return

I've turned a number of my friends onto a band called Bronze Radio Return, and if you haven't heard of them yet, you are going to now. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

BRR hails from Connecticut, and they have a brilliant style of music that is incredibly easy to start dancing to. Classified as indie rock, they are quite reminiscent of Mumford & Sons. The lyrics are crafty and sapient, and the melodies are simply delightful. They have a great span of really happy songs to some with more sentimental messages and serious tones.

This is the first song of theirs I heard was "Shake, Shake, Shake". I absolutely adore this song and the music video as well. Listen right now.

"Shake, shake, shake, the only mistake is if you stand still…"

A few of my other favorites (click them!): "Down There", "Everything Moves", "Sell It to You", "Melting in My Icebox", "Worth Wondering", and "World Spin, Home Spun". I won't lie to you though, every album of theirs that I've listened to I've loved, I could've just written the track listings in their entirety.

After I became thoroughly hooked, I did a search to see if they were touring. Knowing they were based on the east coast I was ecstatic to find that they had a tour going and would be hitting the west coast (best coast!) in October. Not only this, but they were going to be playing a small venue in Eugene, Oregon of all places! 

Last night, they rocked one of the best small venues I've been to, Cozmic Pizza, with their opening band Graham Colton. I am always a little worried that a band I love will end up only sounding good recorded, but honey, this is not the case with BRR. I had such a blast at the concert. The energy they put into their craft is remarkable and it is one of the best shows I've been to. They were energized and they looked like they had so much fun; it was impossible to listen without, at the very least, tapping your feet. 

I collect LPs and was thrilled to see that their new album, Up, On & Over, was available on vinyl. After the show I got this and their 2011 CD Shake! Shake! Shake! Being the slightest bit starstruck, my friend had to prod me to stop being a wuss and go meet them. I got to talk with them, tell them to stop messing around in Eugene and get to Corvallis, and their autographs now adorn one of my most prized LPs. 


Trust me folks, if these guys come to a town near you, go see them!