Monday, January 30, 2006

Teeny amazing critters - TARDIGRADES!

How did I not hear about these little guys before?

"Water Bears" belong to a lesser known phylum of invertebrate animals, the Tardigrada. They are similar to arthropods, which include crustaceans and insects.

Tardigrades are supertiny critters, typically 0.3 to 0.5 mm (For you non-scientists, a millimeter is about the thickness of a dime). They need water, but if the environment is too dry they just go into hibernation…. For up to TEN YEARS! They can also survive staggering amounts of radiation (5700 grays, while five grays would be fatal to a human). Oh, and they can survive being heated for a few minutes to 151 °C or being chilled for days at -272.8 °C (almost absolute zero). How sweet is that?

They have 4 pairs of legs with claws and five body-segments. They move like little bears, with a slow lumbering gait. The first link below has a short video. Tardigrades are found all over the world, including salt and freshwater environments, in humid rain forests and dry deserts, in low canyons and high altitude mountain-tops. Tardigrades are aquatic organisms and need to be in water to eat, breath, reproduce, and move. They are commonly found in the interstitial (water between leaves) environment of moss and lichen. Some tardigrades are carnivores, others are herbivores or omnivores. They feed on each other, as well as mites, aphids, nematodes, and other microscopic organisms. These microscopic creatures play an important role in the cycling of nutrients. And they’re really really cute.

More reading:

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Thursday, January 26, 2006


Great news: Matt went to see his cardiologist today and his ejection fraction has returned to normal. "One for the record books," the doc said. We had not expected it to be so good for weeks, perhaps months.

He still has a few months of recovery - he still has chest pain with exertion and gets tired very easily - but this means his long-term prognosis is excellent. Barring a relapse, the illness will have no impact on his longevity. That means I get to keep him for the next 80 years or so, just as I planned all along. *BIG GRIN*

Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed their prayers, distance healing, and movies to keep him on the couch! We are thrilled and grateful to have such a terrific community of friends and family.

Oh - and the rabbit? Blackberry is on antibiotics for the bad bugs, and probiotics for the good ones. Hopefully the bunny butt biohazard will clear up rapidly as well. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Things that have broken in the past few weeks:

All three cars: Wallace (various electrical problems) and the Jetta (melted fuseboard & dead battery) required professional assistance. Matt fixed Wendolene's electrical spazz early last week. Do you see a trend here?

Computer power cord. NOT the bunny's fault, for once!

Matt's iPod: Disc crashed and burned. Total scrap.

Matt's heart, for Bob's sake. It'll be months until he's right.

Peachey's blindness is becoming more apparent. We had though it was just one eye, but his laser-dot chasing behavior makes it clear that he's missing a chunk in the other side's visual field, too. He's a perfectly happy housecat, though, so it's not a big deal.

The bunny's butt. Trust me, you don't want the details.


It's still a great life... but I hope that's it for now. I really don't want any more disasters. Thank you to everyone for your copious support!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Matt is doing so well - his enzymes and troponin are finally dropping - they are releasing him today! The ID doc and cardiologist were very pleased and surprised to let him go so early. I am ever so grateful... WOW - that call for healing Qi really worked! Keep it up - we still have a few months of recovery ahead.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Matt's got myocarditis. No funny headline here.

Matt has contracted viral myocarditis, probably from a patient. That means a virus has infected his heart. He will be in the hospital for a few days at least, then he will have at least 90 days off work to recover. We won't know for a long while if there is any permanent damage, but the odds are very good. He's young, healthy, fit, a non-smoker, non-drug user, non-drinker, and he's got ridiculously resiliant genes. The only scary signs so far are that his ejection fraction is only 45% and his troponin levels keep rising. He's getting the very best medical care (I am SO GRATEFUL we live here and not in some tiny 3rd world country - I could have lost him!!). All we can do is wait and see. Your prayers / magic / healing Qi are all appreciated. Please check back for updates.

I really really really love this man.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Fig needed some Stuff to call his own.

Complete with jingle bell and stuffed with a plastic bag to make an intriging crunchy sound!