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Back from our wedding / honeymoon in good ole’ blighty. Actually we have been back 4 days, but I have been unable to blog as we have been sorting out house traumas. Let me explain….

Innocent fools. No idea of the carnage that was wrecking havoc on their little apartment so far away.

We arrived home at ~6 pm Birmingham time, a fairly civilized time (only midnight UK-time) and impressed with how simple the journey had been (me being held at immigration for 3 hours due to an error on my immigration officers part withstanding). Looking forward to a hot bath and a take-away in front of some trashy TV (me), Craigslist (him) we optimistically flung the door to our apartment open. Whereupon the most horrific cat pee and excrement smell hit us. I mean, I seriously almost vomited. I was kinda confused, I couldn’t believe the litter box could smell that bad after 2 weeks. Granted, I try to clean it out weekly, but if I forget bi-weekly does OK. Even tri-weekly… I mean, at the 3 week stage you can smell it in the room your in, and the ‘usband (justifiably) does complain. But still, it is not bad, and nothing like this gut wrenching odour. So, I bravely walk in and can see cat poop in the backroom. Which is odd, as the cats NEVER poop out of their litter box. So, I go to see if the litter box somehow got too full? And there it is: a litter box with no feckin’ litter in.We (by which I mean, I) had cleaned it our before we left, bleached it, and left it to air, and forgotten to refill it.

Poor kitties. They had no where to go potty, so had made themselves their own potty in backroom. Poor Lekki: the backroom is her work room. Let me describe the backroom: this is my place of Zen. It is my place of work, my place of hiding, my place of chilling when I am sad. When I got seriously depressed / crazy on Apri (which I *may* blog about sometime) it was place of comfort. It is 2 little rooms, with a big open doorway inbetween. One side contains all my clothes, neatly hung up on rails, ordered by clothes type. The other side contains my desk and all 7 (yes seven) of my fish tanks, my terrarium and my green house, complete with orchids. The walls mostly contain pink butterflies and the odd memento from trips I have taken with da Hubby. There is always the gentle hum of fish filters, the sight of gently illuminated fish tanks (species specific and generally spotless, but all quite different) and the scent of candles (which I spend way too much on).

Except when we returned. There was only the deafening grind of burnt out aquarium filters (the water had evaporated and so the filters were not sucking up anymore), leading to the huge overgrowth of fish waste and algae and resulting murky waters…. the sight of many withered plants and the stench of 2 weeks of cat poop which had just sat there and so soaked into the carpet slowly, and then been relentlessly peed on, and peed on, and peed on, and worked into the carpet as the kitteh-s desperately tried to cover it up, and soaked into the under-carpet. Of course, Alabama is very hot, and very humid, and as we were away, all the windows were shut.

Not that it was their fault, but, you'd have to forgive something this cute anyways

It was, to say the least…. depressing. But! It is over now! We picked up all the poop, washed all my clothes (which had been sitting in the slowly evaporating pee-air… some had to be thrown)… vacuumed, scrubbed, revaccumed, soaked the area with pet odour remover, burned many a candle and finally used a carpet steam cleaner. I scrubbed and treated the tanks, refilled them with water, replaced the filters and although the fishies are a bit lackluster, they are OK. The place is finally… a place of zen again. But, we all react to stressful situations in certain ways… when I feel that my life is out of control (too much work, too much working out, too much socializing) I often freak out and demand the place is immaculately tidy. Everything must come off every surface and be put in a home. I will take 4 hours off work at the busiest time to do it. Wes responds differently. When dirt, or grossness reaches a certain level, he demands that we ‘Clean all the things‘!!

Stolen Reproduced from hyperbole and a half. Click for link

The place needs it, so I am pleased that he has gone on a bleaching FRENZY. In a chefs hat made out of Union Jack no less. Don’t ask. But, I have not been around to blog for this has required much tidying from me to free my things from bleach. And much hiding of the pets, lest they be bleached. And much hiding of me lest… well, just the less I am around tromping through his clean floors and disturbing him with my useful questions like “Have you seen what your dietary intake is doing to your life span on the online death clock?” the better, quite frankly.

Enough household madness... back to Science

Speaking of dietary intake, my newest (OK, OK, second, but that sounds depressing) postdoc paper has come out. I’ll keep it brief. Basically, it continues to question the dogma that saturated fat is bad for you, from the point of view of cholesterol. It shows that, when controlling for overall caloric intake and a number of other variables such as smoking and alcohol useage, increased saturated fat actually lowers your very-low density cholesterol and Triglycerides, but only at a moderate intake of carbohydrate. Once you are eating lots of carbs, this effect disappears and saturated fat is no longer protective. A few caveats:

It is a cross-sectional design, that is, it is a ‘snapshot’ – we do not know how this pans out long term

The role of MUFA/PUFA is not really examined

No individual differences are looked at e.g. extreme exercisers (who may benefit from more carbs) are not included

And it is just one study – it needs more verification.

There, told you it was brief. If you want some more info, you can read it, for free, here.

I am off to re-find my zen.