Monday, February 22, 2010

My Body is a Science Experiment

Well, I fell. Stupidly. And when I landed, on my left knee, I felt a deafening "squish"... sqshlktsht

I thought... that can't be good. But oddly, it didn't hurt - it just felt incredibly weird. And then a purple grapefruit grew out of my knee. Obviously I iced it, but here's what happened: I ruptured my subcutaneous infrapatellar bursa. The little fluid sac beneath my knee cap - all these sacs hang around in your joints to prevent friction between bones and ligaments and such, and also to protect the joint from external forces (like landing hard on one's knee) - sort of like an air bag - only with fluid instead of air.

So basically, when my knee grew a grapefruit, this was the air bag going off.

The cool thing is how these bursae heal themselves, and before too long all the fluid will go back into the healed sac and my knee will be good as new again! Hoorah! Meanwhile, there's still some swelling and some significant bruising (I think it's funny that's it's a doughnut shaped bruise), I didn't take a photo of the grapefruit, or even the navel orange that followed the next day after I taped an icebag to it for the night. Once the left knee bulge has become a dent again like the right knee - all will be well again! Aren't bursae neat?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mushroom Fest

I had grand plans for PaleoPalooza in Philadelphia for this long weekend, but unfortunately the armageddonesque snow in the northeast demolished those plans. As a substitute for adventure, I went to the LA Mushroom Fair with Extreme Chef, particularly because the keynote speaker was giving a lecture titled "how mushrooms can help save the world". It was fantastic - weather was warm, I reminisced about the days in England collecting shaggy ink caps from near the pool (I may be clumping memories together, but that's the association in my head for some reason), and the lecture was highly entertaining, interesting and informative. The man, Paul Stamets, is a speaker and a half. If you have the opportunity to listen to him, it'll be worth your while.

I finished the sweater I started over a year ago, knit with my Rock Buddy's mom's vintage red wool. It was too warm to wear it, but here is evidence of it being finished!

These peahens were for some reason scratching themselves little "wells" in the dirt to hang out in. I thought it was a weird sort of nesting thing, but there were no eggs... so I have no idea what was up with that.

This plant is called "fire sticks" how great is that?

A blewit from the morning mushroom "foray". Note the blue-purple stem (I think it's called a stipe actually, not a stem).

Some other kind of mushroom some lady found. It has a nice ring around it - possibly called an "annulum" (I took notes at the very beginning, then got completely distracted by digging around...)

This is the mushroom I took notes on, but it seems inappropriate to give its genus and species when I have virtually nothing to offer on the other photos. So let's just focus on the white fluffy stuff at it's "butt" (that's what Paul Stamets calls it) - mycelium - which is the matter of mushrooms and is pretty darn neat if I do say so myself.

The mushroom foray leader, Florence Nishida, was brilliant. Among her wealth of mushroom knowledge that she shared with us, she mentioned that some mushrooms will break down just about anything. This reminded me of the curious mushroom colony that seems to have taken over the old cat tree I inherited from a neighbour a few years ago that has been sitting on my patio (since I thought it was too catty to allow indoors). Well, now it's both catty and mushroomy, and I really really really have to dispose of it.

Finally, we ended our day with a lovely Chinese New Year dinner in Pasadena, during which I drank "dried longan beverage", which tasted like maple syrup, which was FABULOUS!