Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

A cherished family tradition of mine is "Family Christmas" which is a dinner/Christmas celebration with people who technically aren't family, but who are friends that are as close as family.

One of the families there have two little girls, Macy and Zoey. Macy is about 5 years old and provided much of the entertainment for me this year. My mom had called Macy's dad earlier that day to ask if "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the one with Jim Carey) would be a good movie for them to watch. Macy's dad quickly said, "NO!" My mom was surprised and asked why not, and he told her that Macy had loved the movie the first time she had seen it, and then seen a big inflatable Grinch in someone's yard. Apparently she thought that seeing that inflatable Grinch meant that he was real. Since then, she had refused to go anywhere near fireplaces (how the Grinch enters houses) or watch the movie again.

Macy and I were talking later that night, and here's how it went:

Macy: Green used to be my favorite color, but the Grinch is green, so I lost it.
Me: Oh, Macy! I'm so sorry. Do you have other favorite colors?
Macy: *Sigh* Yes...I kinda like pink. But I also lost blue.
Me: Really? What happened to blue?
Macy: (completely serious) I don't know...I just...lost it.

Funny how those little minds think, right? Her parents also said that Macy has been complaining about wanting her room to be repainted, because you guessed it--it's green.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas...

...when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

We hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday - Merry Christmas!!!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holly Jolly Holiday

On Monday, December 15th, at around 9:30 am, I officially finished my first semester of Dental School. Cue the angels singing, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" Truly, this semester of school has been a season of tremendous growth as a student, as a person, and as a Christian, but as we all know, times of growth come hand-in-hand with times of trial--for we learn best those lessons we hear when we struggle.

One of the greatest struggles for me was to realize the simple fact that I was not at Abilene Christian University anymore. On a conscious level, I knew that already, but subconsciously I think that I expected my professors to be 100% invested in my life and my future as they were at ACU. While I had some professors who impressed me, some who taught me well, some who taught me poorly, and some who taught with love, none of these could give me back the feeling of security and overwhelming compassion that I felt at ACU. It was a difficult change for me. To go from teachers at college who were friends, confidants, leaders, and spiritual giants to the teachers at dental school who were (for the most part) simply teachers.

I do not regret going to dental school, and I do not regret going to ACU even though it supplied me, perhaps, with unrealistic expectations of how the world would treat me. I write this all to say--I am overwhelmingly grateful for the instruction I received at my alma mater, and I am also somehow grateful that I must now be "ACU" (or perhaps more accurately labeled "Jesus") to others.

Anyway, back to the last final. My last final was in biochemistry, and you will all be happy to know that the ridiculously long word that I wrote about in my previous post did NOT show up on the test. (Which was very good for me, since I cannot even remember the word now, much less what it means--ah, the post-test brain purge.) Unfortunately, I did "underestimate the beast." (A little phrase one of my ACU buddies used to say when he didn't allow himself enough time to study for a big test.) Because of the underestimation, I pulled my first, and hopefully last, almost-all-nighter.

For most of my life I have had a ritual for test-taking that involves studying until 12 pm (but no later) and then getting up at 5 am to study again the morning of the test. This system had always worked in the past, mostly because I really can't stay up past 12, so it was a good stopping point. For this final biochemistry test, though, I stayed up until 3 am, then woke up at 5:30 am to finish studying the day of the test. Hope I get some more concealer for Christmas because I had to use about half a bottle trying to cover the blackened raccoon-like circles under my eyes. We left fairly soon after my test to drive to Abilene for the holidays--guess who drove?

(Jeffrey.)

Oh, but before we left, Jeffrey and I needed to load up my desk to take home. I brought my desk from Abilene when we moved to San Antonio, but realized shortly after that I don't like studying at a desk--I like studying on the couch. So, the desk (like all good furniture) was going to be passed down the family line to my brother.

Problem #1: I am weak.

I don't work out much. If I do work out, it's on a treadmill, walking or jogging on an incline. I do not lift weights. In fact, I try not to lift anything--I mean, what's the point of being married if you're not going to use your hubby to lift things for you? (Kidding--he's good for other stuff, too. Our marriage isn't solely based on his lifting ability.) Needless to say, it was hard for me to lift the desk.

Problem #2: We live on the 3rd floor.

That means the desk had to go down two flights of stairs and be lifted into the truck bed. Not good.

Problem #3: I'm short.

5'4" to be exact. Why does this matter, you ask? Well, I'll tell you: When you combine problems 1, 2, and 3, you end up with Jeffrey holding the entire desk by himself (looking very much like the statue of Atlas holding the world) on the lower part of the stairs and me looking very frantic because I can't find a way to hold the desk so that I can lift it up without hurting my little fingers, then, when I finally figure out a way to hold it, I will be too short to hold it up high enough to clear the stair with the bottom of the desk.

Somehow, it got into the truck and to Abilene. And Jeffrey and I have decided that we can never move away from our current residence, as other things would have to be moved down the stairs if we were to leave.

Tonight is a Christmas dinner with friends, and tomorrow is Christmas with Jeffrey's family. And where there is family and friends, there will always be bloggable moments...more to come.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

10 Things I Think I Should Be Thinking About When I Think

1.) "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last..."

I don't think any other 14 words could attempt to accurately describe the absolute feeling of elation that has absorbed me since 1:58 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

2.) Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Jeffrey, you need to calm down. You still have 7 LONG semesters left. Pace yourself!"

3.) And to that I say this: "True, but I just finished one semester of school, which means that I now have one less semester to finish than I did 6 months ago." Plus, maybe now I'll be able to sleep in past 7:45 am. But I won't count on it...for some reason, my bladder loves to wake me up before the sun every morning.

4.) Lauren finishes up her first semester of dental school tomorrow, and I know she can't wait. She has studied to the point of sheer exhaustion - in fact, as I type this, she is lying on her back on the couch with her legs up in the air like a dead bug. Maybe I should check to make sure she's still alive...

5.) Lauren and I each received some early Christmas presents last night from some of our good friends. I would be lying to say that we expected gifts at all, so needless to say we were/are very grateful. Thank you, dear friends (you know who you are).

6.) Sam Bradford won the Heisman. As good as he was this season, giving him the Heisman is almost as bad as giving Bob Stoops Co-Big 12 Coach of the Year honors. I mean, come on...my brother Tommy could coach/QB that team to an 11-1 record. There are much more deserving people out there.

7.) Speaking of Tommy, in his last football game this year, he racked up 2 receiving TD's and a bunch of catches. If you don't know Tommy, or if you've never seen "Tommy Romo" play flag-football, then you're missing out on a great part of life. I mean, if you want to see some Super Dorks run an 8.2 second 40-yard-dash and see some of the best cheerleaders this side of McKinney High School, just call me up...I can probably get you tickets on the 50-yard-line at midfield.

8.) We are VERY excited about going home to see our families for Christmas. Honestly, that's the best part about Christmas. It's not the presents, or the time off from school, or even the millions of candy canes. Christmas is special because of the people you get to spend it with, and it doesn't matter if you see them on December 5th or 25th. We cannot wait to recapture old memories and begin new ones this Christmas season - so Mom & Dad O., Mom and Dad E., siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc., we'll see you all soon!

9.) Now if you'll excuse me, I have studying...wait, no...I have some laying on my butt doing nothing to get to.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

10.) P.S. If you're a guy out there and you read Peter King's "MMQB" on si.com or DJ Gallo's "NFL Hangover" on espn.com, then you should appreciate the title of this post.

P.P.S. We want to send our wishes, thoughts, and prayers to Mason and Casey O. - congratulations on getting married! Sorry we couldn't be there, but you can blame that on my wife - if she hadn't had a stupid Biochemistry exam tomorrow, we'da been there. And yes, I know "we'da" is not a word, but it works for me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Short Stories

Today, while I was studying for my biochemistry final that is on Monday, I came across a word that I had never seen before, and hope to never see again. "Perhydrocyclopentanophenanthrene." Thirty-two letters worth of pure biochemistry torture. There should be laws against words that long.

The other day I went to get Taco Bell. I had been on the phone and so when I got up to order I wasn't quite ready, but the guy came over the intercom immediately. I remembered that there was a salad there that I liked, so I quickly scanned the salad menu, but I couldn't remember what it was called. I asked the guy, "What's that salad yall have that comes in a big taco shell?" He said, "The Taco Salad." I felt silly.

My friend Maegan lives in our apartment complex, but we just went over to her place for the first time last night. They have a cute little dog named Paisley who we met also. Today I got an email from Maegan:

Ok, so I have a really random question, and I need you to be COMPLETELY honest. I think we’re at that point in our relationship…


(I was thinking at this point that we were about to talk about something really serious.)

when you came to my house last night, did it smell like dog peepee?? Jordan and I are always here, so we don’t know if we are good judges. It won’t hurt my feelings, I just need to know if I should have our carpet cleaned… thanks.


Last but not least, my sister is known as the "rebel" of our family. She just has to break the rules every-once-in-a-while. I was texting with her tonight and she asked me what I got our dad for his birthday tomorrow. I told her, and then asked what she got him. She told me the actual present, but added that she felt like the best gift she had given him was the fact that she had "been 18 for like a month and hadn't gotten anything pierced or tatooed!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feeling a little test-y

I took my anatomy test today. Hard. In celebration for the test being over, I'll give you a little top ten list.

How to know you've just taken a really hard test:

1. You only needed a 42 to pass, but you're concerned you didn't make it.
2. You couldn't remember the word for one of the anatomy terms on the test, so you just made up your own word.
3. You heard that someone threw up during this same test last year.
4. You hear one of your professors laughing like this: "Muah, ha, ha!" during the test.
5. Your eyebrows are sore afterward from furrowing them in consternation for 3 straight hours.
6. You change several answers (ahem...guesses) on your multiple choice test simply because, "They wouldn't put five D's in a row, would they?"
7. You look at the structure you need to identify, and the only word that rises to the top of your mind is "...what?"

But regardless of how badly the test goes, one can always simply be happy that it's over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On a much happier note, allow me to brag on my husband...he made a 100 on his biochemistry test AND on his histology test! Basically, what that really means is that I am married to the smartest man in medical school at San Antonio! I am so proud of him and all of his hard work. The dental tests tend to be over a little more material, but we usually have no more than two tests per week. The medical students, on the other hand, have FIVE tests per week! So Jeffrey has three more to go this week, but he's off to an AMAZING start.

Like the great philosophers Salt-N-Pepa said: "What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. (Yes, he is!)"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Barack No-Bama

I read last night on aol.com that Barack Obama smokes cigarettes. Are you kidding me? If I had known that during the election, I would have gone on the campaign trail against him. All the McCain haters talked about how old John McCain was during the election and how great the chance was for him to die while in office. While this may be true, it is also true that Barack Obama is at a HUGE risk for heart attack during his presidency! He is at a high risk because he is in his forties, he's at high risk because he's African American, and most importantly he is at a high risk because he is a smoker.

We live in 2008. We KNOW that smoking kills you. It's not considered "cool" or "suave" or even socially accepted anymore to smoke. It causes cancer. It causes heart disease. It causes your family's immune systems to be less effective. It stinks (literally). Imagine this: President Obama goes to meet with the leader of a foreign country smelling like a chimney. He will greet this leader with his burnt breath. He will shake this leader's hand with his grey-stained fingers. This is not the representative that I want for America.

I know that it's difficult to quit smoking. I heard one time that quitting smoking is like trying to write all your sentences without dotting any of the "i's" or crossing any of the "t's". I know it would be hard for him, but he OWES it to America and his family and himself to take care of his body. How can he possibly expect to run a country when he can't even take care of himself?

Here's my idea: Obama should hire someone to be on his staff to follow him around, and every time he lights up that person can slap his hand and say, "NO-bama!"

Problem solved.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Party/Meet Baby Santa Pope

Jeffrey and I decided to throw a Christmas dinner party for some of our friends this year. While thinking in my "Party Persona" I quickly made a list of our 48 closest friends that I would like to invite for dinner. Jeffrey encouraged me to use my "Common Sense Persona" (who is neither as fun nor spontaneous) to make a list of a smaller group of people that we could actually fit in our two bedroom apartment and feed for less the cost of a month's rent. Reluctantly, I agreed, but I stood firm that we should use the china and the crystal. (I mean, if you're not going to use it at Christmas, when are you going to use it? When the president comes over for tea?)

The evening was wonderful (I thought). We had fourteen guests for dinner (fifteen including little baby Tyson, who I will talk more about later) and had a lovely time. Jeffrey helped me cook a ham, green bean casserole, hot apple cider, and two rich desserts, and some of our invitees brought some other great sides. Some of my favorite comments of the night:

"Ooh--it smells like Christmas in here!" -Shannon F.
"Chili's molten chocolate cake has nothing on your chocolate lava cakes." -Steven H.
"Richie, why are you wearing clown socks?" -James F.
"Could you rub my shoulders?" -Blake J. to my husband
"So I walked into the police station and asked them to walk me to my car because there was a big scary deer out there." -Carly K.
"Bye, Buddy! Hope you find your dad!" -Sea creature on the movie "Elf"

It was a night of lots of laughter, that's for sure. One of the biggest laughs came when Alexandra gave Christian and Shannon a little Santa outfit for baby Tyson. The suit was adorable, but the hat was too small so it sat up tall on his head. He looked like a little Santa Pope!



Thanks to all our friends that came to celebrate the season with us. We love all of you, and we hope you have a lovely holiday season. You each mean something special to us.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Driving us crazy



There are a lot of crazy drivers in the world. I'll never forget one day in Fort Worth when Jeffrey and I were going to the mall with his mom and we witnessed a true case of road rage. A van cut off a guy driving a big truck, and at the next stoplight, we stared with slack-jawed amazement as the driver of the truck got out, grabbed the van driver by the collar and screamed his lungs out at him. Two words for him: anger management.

Here in San Antonio, though, it's a whole new world...and not the nice kind of "Whole New World" that Aladdin and Jasmine sing about in the Disney movie. I'm talking about the ugly new world where all drivers are offensive (meaning both rude and aggressive/unaware of others), the "fender benders" require ambulances, and all roads lead to traffic jams.

Ridiculous driving example 1: A few days ago I was traveling along a five-lane road to pick Jeffrey up from school. The traffic was really bad that day--cars backed up for miles, but only in the west-bound lane adjacent to the turning lane. Like all impatient drivers, I quickly switched into the faster-moving one and went on my way. About a mile up the road I saw the cause of the traffic backup. An accident? No. There was a van waiting to turn left from the west-bound traffic lane. Not in the turning lane. Not even partially in the turning lane. Just hangin' out in the traffic lane, holding up traffic, being obnoxious.

Ridiculous driving example 2: Jeffrey and I ate at Freebird's tonight and on our way home we had to pass what I lovingly refer to as "The Alley Of Death." The Alley of Death is the stretch of road between the exit off I-10 for our apartment and the stoplight at the road to our apartment. It's less than a 1/4 of a mile, but it's trecherous. Many a good fender have been lost there. Anyway, coming off the highway at 65 mph, we were shocked when a car pulled out about 100 yards in front of us at a speed I estimate to be no faster than 20 mph. Cue honking horn.

So to all of you silly, law-breaking, frustrating, crazy San Antonio drivers, I have one thing to say to you--and it's written on the sign below...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Much Blog About Nothing

It's true--I don't really have much to blog about these days, but I feel compelled to break this blog-less silence that has settled on this webpage...

One little funny did happen last week. Just before Thanksgiving, several of my teachers got together in a meeting to brainstorm evil ideas to use to torture dental students. The product of the villainous lunch was a schedule that included two tests immediately preceding Thanksgiving break, and two tests immediately following Thanksgiving break--so as to make the students feel as if there were no break at all. During one of the first tests, however, I interrupted my professor's evil Disney character-like "Muah-ha-ha!" laughter with some of my own giggles.

The test was in dental anatomy. Dental anatomy is all about knowing every detail about how each tooth looks in detail. The tests have proven to be rather difficult for me because they involve remembering charts with lots of numbers which are largely unimportant to the casual study-er (like the lengths in millimeters of all the teeth in the mouth from every conceivable side). While these things are difficult to remember, we students do have one resource on our sides--our own teeth! They can't take those away for the test, and it's not considered cheating to use your own dentition to help you on the test.

Needless to say, my giggles erupted when I turned around to glance at the clock and saw 97 adult dental students with various combinations of their fingers, hands, and pencils in their mouths feeling for answers. What a lovely group of professionals we are!

Jeffrey and I had a great Thanksgiving break which we spent at his parents house in Fort Worth. Complete with turkey and stuffing, the meal was incredible and the company was even better. Jeffrey's cousins got a new puppy and only one of our fish died while we were gone (R. I. P. Dolly), so I'd say it was a pretty successful holiday. We have much to be thankful for this year!

Only a couple of weeks until school is out for us and our brains can go on temporary vacation. Mine will probably go into a blissful, study-free coma...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts

As we all rapidly approach one of the busiest times of year, it is easy to get caught up in the rush - studying for finals, going Christmas shopping, planning the holidays, decorating the house, running children all over town for sports and parties - the list goes on and on.

But before all the hoopla and fanfare of the holiday season embraces us in its cold (or warm) wintry grasp, let us take time to reflect on our lives.

Every year is a lifetime unto itself. Families, friends, occupations, and lifestyles can change without warning - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Babies are born as loved ones pass on; families are transferred out of town as new families move in to begin their lives again; one door closes as another door opens. Seasons change all too often, and with each new day comes new fear. Fear that we may fail, fear that we may succeed, or simply fear of the unknown. In an effort to escape this fear, people preoccupy themselves with trivial and temporary pursuits, attempting to bring stability to an unstable world. In all this uncertainty, it is hard to be thankful.

So let me be the first to say that I am thankful for the life that God has given to me. He has blessed me with a great marriage, wonderful friends (both old and new), opportunities to continue my education and pursue a career that is worthwhile and meaningful to me, and two families that love me unconditionally. My life is far from perfect, but based simply on the blessings above, I see no reason to complain.

I hope that everyone out there can take time out of their hectic schedules to be thankful this week. I don't know the details of everyone's life, and it may be extremely difficult for some people to muster a spirit of joy and gratefulness at this present time. But amidst all of the craziness of our lives, there is one constant for which we may be thankful. I would encourage everyone to focus their joys, worries, prayers, and anxieties on the cornerstone of our hearts; Jesus is here...now...and he always will be here. And if that's not worth celebrating, then I don't know what is.

Lauren and I pray that God may bless you and your loved ones this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Saturday Morning Post

It's been a long time since my last post. I wrote an interesting political article last week, but then I realized that I didn't want this to be a serious, political, divisive blog, so I didn't submit it. But now I'm back...and ready to blog!

It would be a monumental understatement to say that Lauren and I are ready for Thanksgiving (and Christmas) break. Since we started school in July, we have yet to have any off days or holidays. Actually, both Labor Day and Veteran's Day were scheduled during some of my test weeks, meaning that instead of going dove hunting or celebrating war veterans, I had to study...interesting how the powers-that-be scheduled things, isn't it?

Yesterday, Lauren finished her last Anatomy lab of her life - HIP HIP HOORAY!!! Seriously, for all of you out there who have never had to smell or experience the depressing place that is the Anatomy lab, you may not be able to appreciate just how major this is, so just take my word for it - it's a big deal. To celebrate, we went out to eat at a real restaurant - not fast food - where we had a fantastic meal and molten chocolate cake for dessert. Needless to say, Lauren was quite fulfilled. And I would be remiss to not thank my grandmother or Mama Jenny - if it weren't for you fine ladies, we would not have had any money to pay for our dinner!

I would like to take this opportunity to call everyone's attention to the poor-excuse-for-real-music that is rap. Follow this link, and prepare to be amazed.

Click here!

I would now like to take this opportunity to call everyone's attention to just how wide the technology gap is in our nation.

Click here too!

And finally, click on this link to check out Lauren's new favorite TV show (and yes, she is officially crazy).

Lauren's TV show - click me please!

I hope you have enjoyed these videos this morning.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Duh-Duh-Duh...Another one bites the dust

Yes, another fish has gone to that happy flushing ground in the sewer. It was Jeffrey, Jr, my sweet husband's namesake, and the fish who had lived an astounding month in my care. He was a fighter. He hung on til the very end. And he died upright...no belly-up submission for little Jeffrey, Jr. He faced death head on,and was found peacefully sticking to the filter, frozen in a little swimming pose.

What a fish. What A Fish.

Needless to say, I'm buying a new fish tomorrow. Maybe another black molly--then we could have little molly babies. Speaking of the black molly, though, I did some research the other day and found out that Dolly the black molly is actually a boy--oops! Pretty inappropriate name.

Sweet Debbie H posted some encouragement on the bottom of my last post. Thanks, Debbie--it helped me smile that day! Debbie also suggested that perhaps I should spend less time blogging and more time studying...touche, my lady. But think of my readers...should they suffer for my schooling? Should they be forced to return to reading the backs of cereal boxes, laffy taffy jokes, and trashy novels from gas stations? By no means. The show must go on--and the show will go on.

Viva la Blog!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just for Sport

I've never been that great at sports. I mean, I played lots of them, had some good coaches, had some bad coaches, and above all--had a good time. But just because one does something doesn't mean one does it well (case in point--the studying I did for the test I took this morning).

Some of my favorite sports-related memories involve my parents yelling at me...

Regardless of the bad connotations associated with the previous phrase ("my parents yelling at me"), my experience with parents yelling (at least in the sports arena) were all humorous.

#1: Third grade. I was the point guard dribbling alone down the court. (At that age level, the point guard gets a "free pass" to cross half court without molestation by the other team, because let's face it: otherwise it wouldn't really get down the court, would it?)

I was looking over toward Coach (Dad) for the play, and focusing all my third-grader attention on trying to NOT dribble the ball off my shoe. As some sort of sixth sense, I was aware that someone was trying to tell me something, but it wasn't until I reached the center circle that the loud voice in my ear was suddenly understood. The "someone trying to tell me something" was my mom. She had been yelling repeatedly, "Lauren, TIE YOUR SHOE!" for about thirty seconds solid by the time the referee stopped the game to allow me to take care of my little wardrobe malfunction.

As a wanna-be-basketball-tough-girl, I was mortified. As an adult, I can look back at it and say, "Ahh...so that's why I always double-knot my shoes!"

#2: Eighth grade. I am not fast, but I run track. This is a problem, because only people who are fast are good at track. My little spindly legs, the coach sees, will never be bulky enough for me to even competitively run a short distance race. Some sadistic coaching assistant suggests that I try the 800. I, not knowing what the 800 is, agree to run it. Little did I know, I would be sooooo sad about that decision, say, 30 seconds into the race. Unfortunately, everyone else on the track team already knew about the 800 (affectionately called "The Death Race"), so I got stuck running it for the entire year.

At one bitterly cold and rainy track meet, I was just getting over a case of bronchitis. When you have bronchitis, you can breathe alright when you stand still, but any variation on standing still causes extreme difficulty in breathing. And so, while I just wanted to stand still, my coaches wanted me to run. The 800. In the cold rain. Nice.

Knowing from my experience with every other track meet that I would not be a contender for any points, medals, or ribbons to be won in that race, I decided just to try and give myself a comfortable race. I left my sweatshirt on so that I wouldn't get cold, and opted to begin with a nice jog rather than the breakneck pace set by the true runners.

About halfway through the race, I heard my parents yelling from the fence line. They had arrived late to this out-of-town meet, no doubt because they had had a different sporting event for another child to go to that morning. (Heaven knows why they came to my track meets at all. Watching me run the 800 against "real" runners must have been like watching molasses try to beat honey in a downhill race.) At first I thought they were just cheering me on as usual, pretending that I had some chance of regaining the family honor just by not coming in last place, but as I got closer to the fence, I heard Mom saying, "Lauren, take that sweatshirt off!" And Dad saying loudly under his breath, "It probably weighs as much as her by now."

It was true. In the time it took for me to make two laps around that silly track, my big warm sweatshirt had soaked up about 40 pounds of icy, heavy rain. Dragging all that weight and battling my aching lungs, I barely beat the girl who came in dead last and received the "pity-clap" from the crowd.

Nothing reminds me more of my history with sports than these final upcoming weeks of my first semester of dental school. I have the same feelings now as I did when I ran cross country. Cross country is an interesting sport because it's very personal, individual, and dependent on your mental strength. I used to have conversations with myself while I ran my races.

Good me: Okay, I think I have about half a mile left. That's not too far.
Bad me: Not too far? Do you not remember running the 800 in 8th grade? It's the same distance that was. And you've already run a mile and a half!
Good me: Right, but I can do this. I just won't let this girl pass me. I'll stay in the middle of the pack.
Bad me: Or you could step on that jagged rock and try to break your ankle. Then you wouldn't even have to finish.
Good me: You don't want to get hurt.
Bad me: You don't care about getting hurt. You just don't want to finish last.
Good me: Well, that's true.

Now I'm having these same internal battles with myself as I try to push through these final tests that stand in the way of Christmas break. (Except I'm not going to try to break my ankle on purpose. Mostly because my teachers would still expect me to take the tests.) All the tiredness and frustration and impatience is weighing me down like that big hooded sweatshirt that I wore in the rain. I sometimes have to just take a break and do something else--something not related to dentistry or school. Something that makes me feel good like getting a fresh hair cut or painting my nails. It's sort of like when I had to stop the game to tie my shoe. I need to get myself in order before the real fight begins.

Regardless of trials, the finish line is approaching, and I have parents to yell at me. I received calls from both my mother and my father in the last 24 hours, both encouraging me to finish this race. A little tough love, a little coddling, and a little reminder of the reward at the end.

So I'll keep on running...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rearranging

To those of you who have never had the pleasure of being a dental or medical school student, allow me to educate you on the feeling you get when you get out of anatomy lab...

It's a strange mix of light-headed euphoria (which could be connected to the fact that you are suddenly breathing non-formaldehyde air) and extreme fatigue. My parents worked as a youth minister and a teacher for most of their lives, so I would say the feeling is somewhat like how my mom feels after trying to motivate and teach high school kids all day, or how my dad feels after being in charge of 50 kids all night at a lock-in.

It is after such a trying time that one just wants to come home and rest. Instead, last Thursday, Jeffrey came home from anatomy lab to his sweet little wife asking, "Honey, could you help me rearrange some furniture in the guest room?"

Being the great husband that he is, Jeffrey agreed. I thought it would only take a few minutes...70 minutes later, we were done! My poor husband. It was totally worth it for him, though, because now he is so happy with how it looks that he often goes in there just to admire...no, wait--that's me.

Luckily, we were going to see the new James Bond movie on Friday (yesterday), so all was not lost. I would tell you more about the movie, but it's sort of Jeffrey's "thing," and I don't want to steal his thunder.

Speaking of thunder, though, I would like to officially announce that we have made the switch from Dr. Pepper to Dr. Thunder or Dr. B, the generic brands found at Walmart and HEB (Dad, please don't disown me!). Honestly, they taste the same, and they're so much cheaper. We have also changed from Diet Coke to HEB Diet Original Cola. (We're not crazy about that name, but the taste is right on the money.)

And lastly, but most importantly, the weather report.

"Thanks, Lauren. Well it's a little over a month until Christmas and we have definitely felt the chill of winter coming in here in San Antonio, Texas. Make sure and break out your coats and scarves, because after this cold front moves in, San Antonio will be seeing highs in the mid-to-low seventies, with lows in the night reaching a record fifty-two degrees! Brrr! Bundle up, San Antonio. Back to you, Lauren."

Wow. I wonder if we'll ever use our fireplace...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Memoriam: For Ben and Bobby

Two of my friends passed away in the last two weeks. Both were sweet guys, eager to please with quick smiles. They both were about my age, and thus were far too young to have been captured by Death’s wandering eyes. And yet, and yet…

they have gone.

Those of us here are left to wonder why. Why now? Why them? Why?

Questions without answers.

No one ever knows what to say to the grief-stricken ones who are left behind. Some visit the mourners and try to tell them how they should feel. They remind the grievers not to be sad, remind them that we will see the dead when we all rise again, remind them that the ones who have gone are with God now. And while these are all sweet sentiments, they all fall harshly on the ears of a tearful widow or widower or parent or spouse or child who has lost the one they loved so fiercely. A cacophonous racket of good wishes collide with the grievers’ own wishes just to have one more conversation, one more hug, one more of everything…

I am neither a grief counselor nor a professional. I have not read books on the subject and I do not claim to have any expertise in caring for those who are hurting. I do know what it feels like to hurt, and I know that sometimes the most comforting words are no words at all. Just a hug. Just a phone call. Just an “I’m sorry.” Just a prayer.

I’m too far away to hug Ben’s hurting family, so instead I will send them some words written by Lord Tennyson. He wrote a book of poems (In Memoriam) after the death of his best friend. Hopefully the words from one griever to another will somehow strike a healing chord in the hearts of the broken…

A prayer:

“Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in Thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pain is Beauty

I woke up this morning in such a good mood! I got to sleep in (we were off from school for Veteran's Day) AND I knew that I was going to get a facial--yeah! The facial was a part of a "Spa Day" put together by an organization I am involved with at the dental school, The American Association of Women in Dentistry (AAWD). Each AAWD member got to get a facial at half price--needless to say, I was there.

After a slight detour from my Tom Tom GPS system, my friend Carly and I arrived. (I'm still confused about the Tom Tom--it apparently thought the best way to get there was to exit the highway early, make several loops, drive through the slums of San Antonio, and then return to the highway, looping underneath the overpass to go in the opposite direction. Perhaps I pushed some button that said "I want to go to my destination, but I would also like to buy some crack cocaine along the way.") Anyway, we finally got there, filled out our forms, and were whisked away into the spa area.

The facial started out ok. The woman asked me about my typical skin care routine and I was applauded for wearing sunscreen on my face daily. Then she went to go get all of her materials for the facial, and started soon after. She was doing a great job, but at first I was annoyed by the fact that even the lovely plinking of the Enya music could not sway my mind from naming each muscle of the face as the woman was massaging it. Ah, the hazards of being a dental student. Your body knows when it's time to relax, but your mind thinks it's always time to review new knowledge.

Next the woman asked me if I had ever had any extractions done. Again, my dental school mind first thought, "Why is this beautician asking me about extracted teeth?" I quickly realized, however, that she was asking if I had ever had my blackheads extracted. At the same time I realized I am a dork. I told her that I had not, and she replied, "Ok, well you'll feel a little pressure. It's a little uncomfortable, but totally worth it..."

She lied.

She covered my eyes with cucumber slices and then used her instruments of torture all over my face. I promise you, at one point I thought she was actually trying to squeeze my nose off of my face! So I guess when she said "pressure," she meant "severe pain." And when she said "a little uncomfortable," she meant "will make you want to peel your skin off, so as not to have any blackheads to extract."

Now let's get one thing straight, I'm not one to shy away from a little pain in the name of fashion. Those of you who know me have seen me walk to school and around school in shoes that make straight jackets look comfortable. My wedding shoes were so uncomfortable, I couldn't feel 8 of my toes by the end of the night, but did I complain? No. Because a little pain is worth it if you get "the look." Some people say, "If the shoe fits, wear it." I say, "If the shoe is cute enough, who cares what size it is? Put 'em on your feet, pay for them, and wear them out of the store!"

So I leave you with this: Beauticians, don't lie to your customers--they might be your dentist someday...and then we'll see who's talking about "a little pressure." And women, don't ever agree to have extractions done--it's just not worth it. (Unless, of course, I get lots of compliments about how great my skin looks tomorrow...in which case it might have been worth it. But I'm talking about a lot of compliments--a LOT!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cat Woman

In reference to my husband's recent post, I must admit that his indifference toward pets probably stems from his fear that I will eventually become one of those 86-year-old ladies who has 212 cats in her home...and that all of them will want to sit in his lap.

And he has a point--I'm a little out of control with the animal-love. (As shown by my previous post, which was almost completely about fish.)

The Animal Whisperer

Let me start by saying that, generally, I'm not the biggest fan of pets. I think (some) pets are fun to play around with for a little while, but the responsibilities of owning a pet - feeding, cleaning, picking up the droppings, etc. - far outweigh any benefits that may come from owning a pet. (It should be noted that the preceding statement is solely my own opinion and not that of my wife.) And it's not that I hate animals; I would just rather use my free time for something enjoyable that requires little effort.

That being said, I find it quite ironic that animals absolutely love me. Whenever we go home to Lauren's house, her 2 cats are in my lap within 5 minutes of me stepping through the door. At Steven and Mary's house (2 of our new friends here in San Antonio), their little puppy dog can't seem to get enough of me. Then today, as I was walking back to our apartment from my afternoon jog, a dog sprinted full speed from 100 yards away and fell flat at my feet, ready to be petted.

What is the deal?!

Am I an "animal whisperer?" Do I look really good in black-and-white to those colorblind creatures? Am I pheromone-ically active with lower-order animals? Do I give off a silent whistle every time I breathe? Or does God simply have a very witty sense of humor?

I don't know the answer, but there's one thing I do know, and it's that having pet fish is fantastic - they don't make any noise, they can't chase you down and slobber on you or scratch you, and they are relatively cheap. So for all of you out there seeking to appease spouse or child with a pet, but would really enjoy a low-maintenance pet, then take it from me - get a fish.

Or if you're like us, get five. And give them funny names so that you can get a quiet chuckle every time you see them.

However, I'm sure that in one year's time we'll have a couple of dogs, 3 cats, a rabbit, 4 hamsters, and some birds - and not because we'll buy them, but because they will instinctively flock to me like an adult salmon returning to her breeding grounds upstream to give birth.

Honestly, I think that God just has a fantastic sense of humor, and if that's the case, then I'm keeping my thoughts and feelings on having children - more specifically, having boys or girls - to myself!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

P.S. Chase is coming down to visit us next weekend, so stay tuned to see what kind of trouble we can get into in the short time he is here.

P.P.S. The new James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," will be released this Friday in the U.S. You better believe that I'll be in the theater Friday night, popcorn and Twizzlers in hand, ready to save the world yet again!

Show and Tell

At the request of several of our friends, we have decided to put a picture of our Christmas decorations on the blog as well as some pictures of our fish babies!

For those of you keeping count, we (meaning just me) bought two more fish on Thursday, which brings our total to 5 fish babies. Oh, the responsibility! We now have 3 zebra danios, 1 black molly, and 1 Chinese algae eater. Unfortunately, none of them have been trained to sit still for portraits yet, so I had to just search google for some pictures of their species. The danios are named Shark, Turtle, and Jeffrey, Jr. The black molly's name is Dolly, and the algae eater is named Walter Douglas Edwards, but his friends just call him Walter. Here are some pics!





Thursday, November 6, 2008

The 1st Blog Amendment

I have been asked by my father to retract the previous statements I made on the blog about him not having any hobbies. He has assured me that he does, in fact, have many hobbies. His hobbies are traveling, raquetball, and reading.

Hmm...so, I'm thinking of buying him either lots of raquetballs, some cute shorty-shorts to wear when he's playing, or one of those goofy necklaces you are supposed to wear around airports that filter the bacteria out of the nasty airport air that you breathe. Decisions, decisions.

Honestly, it's always hard to think of things to get for Dad for his birthday or for Father's Day or for Christmas. It's really not that he doesn't have interests, it's that he just doesn't like "stuff." As far as I can tell, Dad is much more interested in relationships, events, experiences, and memorable moments. I think that's why most of his hobbies require few materials or money. In fact, the only big material thing I ever remember him asking for was his Harley--but seriously, everyone has a weakness, right?

So court reporter, please strike the former comments about "no hobbies" from the record!

As an aside--I was disappointed to read the "Comments" portion of the bottom of an AOL.com article about the new president-elect. Many people had said very hateful things about the new president-elect, including the use of that nasty "N-word" that I wish with all my heart had been eradicated with the emancipation of the slaves in America. Some of the ugliest comments made threats on Senator Obama's life. The only up-side to this story? The person who made the threat on the Senator's life spelled his name "O-b-o-m-m-a," so hopefully if he tries to actually find out where this guy lives, he'll never figure it out.

...but watch out if you last name is Obomma, I guess!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Current State of the United States

I tried to not blog about the election--I really did. But it turns out that the idea of blogging about the election just kept coming to my mind...exactly the way that the last Hershey's bar in my fridge kept coming to my mind. So I gave up. I ate the candy bar and I'm blogging about the election. I win.

I will admit, I was frustrated last night as I watched the poll results be projected on the US map. I wanted McCain to win for several reasons, the most important of which (for Jeffrey and me) having to do with Obama's thoughts on heathcare in America. Anyway, I was sad when the final numbers were in, and even sadder when I heard the humble and honorable speech McCain gave to his supporters as he conceded the race.

In any case, though, I was really impressed by the fact that the majority of Americans were able to look past race when voting in this presidencial election. Of course, I'm sure that some people may have voted for Obama just because he is black, and probably some others didn't vote for Obama just because he is black, but all in all--go America! What a long way we've come from a general opinion in this country that African Americans weren't even people all the way to an African American president.

It's just so silly, the discrimination based on race. Here's a fun fact from one of my college science classes to explain why: Essentially all people (regardless of race) produce the same amounts of melanin, the pigment that makes your skin dark, the only difference between our skin color is that some people have more cells that break down that pigment before it gets to the surface. So loosely speaking, we're all black! Ha ha. Tell that to your racist friends and watch them cry...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Update

It is November 2nd. Jeffrey has a test week that is quickly approaching, and I have a biochemistry test on Friday that covers chapters...I'm not sure. So what did we do this weekend?

We set up our first christmas tree! Yeah, Santa!

Jeffrey saw that Walmart had artificial 6 foot trees for $20 last weekend, and I (who have no patience) bought one today. We were planning on setting it up around the middle of November so that we could enjoy it for about a month at our apartment before we had our Christmas break/Tour of Texas seeing all our family. The only problem was that I (who have no patience) couldn't wait that long, so here it stands, proud and tall and plastic-y in our living room.

We also went Christmas present shopping today and found things for most of our family members. (But seriously, Dad, if you want a present from us, you're gonna have to post some ideas...you are "The Man With No Hobbies," and thus you are "The Man With Family Members Who Have Nothing Cool to Buy for You." Try to be more like me--want everything.)

We did end up going to a Halloween Party Friday night, but we couldn't ever figure out what we wanted to dress up as, and we sort of ran out of time to get them, so instead we went in regular clothes as "Students who didn't have time to get costumes." Lame, I know, but nobody left us any suggestions on the blog! The party was both too loud to hear people talk, too dark to see who you were talking to, and someone came dressed as a Care Bear, but left as a drunken idiot. (To be fair to the Care Bear boy, several people left as drunken idiots.) Regardless of the craziness of the party, we loved hanging out with our friends, seeing the costumes, and meeting new people.

Saturday night we had a few people over to watch the f**tb@ll g&me. (Jeffrey has forbidden us to speak or type of that fateful game--it's just too painful.)

Taryn C., thanks for putting the pictures up from Homecoming on your blog--we miss seeing you guys!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feel Good Story

Hello everyone-

This will be a short post, as I don't really have anything to write about today.

However, I did want to post this link.

http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/1004013.html

It is a great story that will make you feel good about humanity and life in general.

By the way, the kid in the story - Chad - is my brother's best friend. For those of you that don't know, my brother, Tommy, has Down syndrome. They're both great kids, and they both have made Lauren's and my life much more fun (and funny).

Enjoy your reading!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekend Update

Last weekend Jeffrey and I went to Abilene to see family, friends, and the ACU Wildcat Homecoming celebration. It was so much fun!

My favorite part was going to the parade Saturday morning and seeing tons of our friends that we hadn't seen in months. There was so much excitement and laughter as we all updated each other on new jobs and schools and marriages. (There was especially some laughter as the newly-married guys talked about all the burned, undercooked, and monotonous macaroni meals they have had to eat since the wedding day!)

My mom and I did a little shopping on Saturday afternoon while Jeffrey went to the football game with some friends. We met him there later, but much to my dismay, my sweet pale-skinned husband had been fried by the West Texas sun into a little lolly-popster (that's what the younger version of myself used to call lobsters). We are still applying aloe vera, lotion, and milk-soaked washcloths to his face, but it looks like blisters are on their way.

On Saturday night, Jeffrey and I went to the ACU Homecoming musical, All Shook Up. The musical is based on the music of Elvis Presley. We both enjoyed it very much. (Thanks again for the tickets, Grandmother Beth!) The musical itself we both thought was a little on the light side--simply meant for entertainment, not really for serious theater, but the comedic timing was right on par, and the vocal presentation was absolutely superb. Jeanette Lipford sure knows how to make people sing!

Those of you reading who know my mom probably already know how awesome she is, but for those of you who don't, allow me to demonstrate. Both times that Jeffrey and I have visited Abilene since we moved away, my mom has not only cleaned our room and put fresh sheets on the bed, but she has also made us a little gift basket of canned goods, cereal, chips, toilet paper, paper towels, and other grocery goodies to take home with us. What a great surprise! (In the future, though, she will probably also be including sweet-and-low packets because she found out last weekend when we were eating at Carino's that we take sweet-and-low from restaurant tables so that we don't have to buy any ourselves. She calls it stealing--we call it resourceful. I mean, we only take the ones that are on OUR table...that's ok, right?)

With the election coming up, I feel like it is my American duty to share the following with you: One of my dental school friends passed a homeless man the other day. The homeless man was holding a sign that read Vote for Obama: I need the money.

One final thing--does anyone know of a good, fun, cheap Halloween costume for Jeffrey and me? We have a Halloween party this weekend and though I have come up with several outstanding ideas, Jeffrey has veto-ed them all. Examples: We could be "Cardiac arrest." Jeffrey could dress as a police officer and I could be the heart. We could be a doctor and a dentist (except Jeffrey would be the dentist and I would be the doctor--crazy!). We could be Dr. Pepper: Jeffrey wears his white coat, and I come as a pepper shaker.

Again, Jeffrey has veto-ed all of these ideas. Anyone else have a good one?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Change

One of Jeffrey's and my favorite TV shows is the hit series "House." If you're not familiar, the premise is simple: Dr. House is a diagnostician who solves "unsolvable" medical mysteries. Dr. House is a brilliant physician with a nimble mind and a sharp perceptive ability, but he has terrible doctor-patient skills. He lies to patients, he uses cutting and sarcastic remarks, he breaks rules and protocols, he orders risky tests and procedures, and he hurts people...but he's almost ALWAYS right in the end--so he is forgiven of all wrongs. (Basically, it's an entire show based on the ethical question: Does the end justify the means?)

One of Dr. House's most often-uttered pessimistic remarks is "People don't change." Unfortunately, he's mostly right. People don't change. We don't change for lots of different reasons. To some people, change means giving up something immediately gratifying to attain something more meaningful at a point in the future (waiting until marriage to have sex). To others change means breaking habits that feel as natural as breathing (smoking, drug addiction). Others would say that change is scary because it has unknown consequences, or that it might change them as a person, or it might cause them to lose friends...the list goes on and on, but the bottom line is this: Change is hard, so most of us simply don't do it.

The problem is, we all need to change something about ourselves. We all need to improve.

I don't know who all reads this blog, but I would assume that there are some readers who would identify themselves as Christian, some who would identify themselves as some other religion, and some who would not identify with any spiritual power. Regardless of your spiritual identity, I think you should copy and paste this link into a webpage to view a really incredible video put together by a church in the Fort Worth area.

http://www.rhchurch.org/pages/cardboard-testimonies//

The video clip is called "Cardboard Testimonies" and it is all about people changing. Some people just changed their minds. Some people changed their habits. Some people changed their faith. Some changed someone else's life. Again, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, I think you will be moved by this dynamic video. I think those of you who are Christians will be especially moved by this expression of God's fantastic power. He can change anything--He can change everything...

Two special notes: Thank you to Tammy M. who put this link on her blog (In the Grip of Grace) where I first saw it. Also, when you watch the video, you should know that the first couple that come onto the stage together are my mother-in-law and father-in-law. How courageous they were to change their hearts...

Anyway, I apologize if this posting sounds a bit "preachy," it wasn't meant to sound that way. It's just that when you live in a world where you see so little change and so much need for it, you forget how dramatic it can really be. It makes my heart literally leap with joy to see these walking examples of courage, will, faith, strength, honor, and humility.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I hope it changes you...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just in Time for Halloween

We had our second Gross Anatomy written and practical tests today, and compared with all of the ghosts, goblins, witches, and gremlins that will soon surface on October 31st...I assure you these tests were much scarier!

The scariest part wasn't the tricky question on the written test, or the difficult structures pinned on the cadavers--it was the cadavers themselves!

In a practical gross anatomy exam, several rooms of cadaver tables are arranged and the students rotate at timed intervals signaled by a buzzer. You only get one look at each pinned structure, so it can sometimes feel like a race against time. I personally tend to make silly mistakes when I work too quickly, so I try to spend the entire time looking at the pinned structure and confirming the answer (ahem--or desperately trying to think up a good guess). I also try to get as close as the smell will allow to see the structure, which sometimes requires light yoga moves and headstands.

During one such maneuver, while I was hovering on three toes like a bad ballerina, I heard a faint beeping sound...

coming from the cadaver.

My first thought: Did they leave a digital watch on the cadaver's body? Surely they wouldn't. And the formaldehyde would ruin its electrical activity, right?

(Probably the whole "digital watch theory" wasn't the most intelligent, but hey--I was sleep deprived. Don't judge!)

My second thought: A bomb!?!? We're ALL gonna DIE!!!!!!

(Again I plead sleep deprivation.)

My third thought (and first lucid thought): Maybe the person had a pacemaker to keep his/her heart going during life and it's still beeping.

After searching around for the lead wires in the root of the neck and assuring myself that they were, indeed, lead wires for a pacemaker and not the wires for a bomb, I realized that I had run out of time at that station.

Minus 2 points, but case closed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update

Just a few words to let you, our readers, know how we're doing and what we're up to...

Friday afternoon, I learned how to (correctly) use my stethoscope to listen to heart sounds, as well as how to distinguish AV valve murmurs from aortic valve murmurs. I was really excited about my newly-developed skill until I found out that on Wednesday I have to perform my skills on a standardized patient, at which time I will also have to find his femoral pulse. Ryan Mack had to do that on Friday, and in his words, "Well, it was a little awkward...reaching up the side of the dude's leg."

Saturday we woke up semi-late and spent the morning/early afternoon studying, cleaning house, and watching SEC football. (Can you guess who did what? Exactly - I cleaned and studied, while Lauren watched football.) That night, we had 5 friends over to watch the University of Texas DOMINATE Missouri and their spare, couldn't-make-it-as-a-backup-at-UT quarterback. By the way, did you know that Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley are roommates? I think the announcers have only said that 3,496 times the past 2 weeks. Anyway, we had fun with Ryan, Steven, Mary, Joe, and Blake. We are really enjoying making new friends (except Ryan - he's an old friend), and we really like them a lot, but they can't ever replace all of our old friends (so don't worry Jesse).

Sunday was church in the morning, studying and haircut in the afternoon (by the way, haircuts still make me look 12 years old), and then dinner. But it wasn't just any ordinary dinner. Lauren labored and labored in the kitchen to make us chicken-fried (venison) steak, green beans, corn on the cob, and cream gravy. You may all feel free to be jealous now. It was absolutely delicious. And yes Grandmother, I helped her clean up the kitchen - I know its messy to cook that stuff.

So that's the weekend update. We're doing good, but after Tuesday's anatomy test, Lauren will be much better.

We're really excited about ACU Homecoming this weekend. If you're gonna be there, let us know!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fish Follies

Yes, here comes another story about our fish...

The fish babies are all doing well (Shark, Turtle, and Jeffrey Jr.), which is amazing considering how inexperienced we are with these little guys. Also amazing considering that the only really fun thing to do with fish is feed them, and our species of fish are most commonly killed by overfeeding! They always act hungry, too. Little Oliver Twists, always begging: "Please, Sir, can I have some more?"

Tonight I decided to clean the tank with a little vacuum I got at the store. Jeffrey reluctantly agreed to be my assistant. We guessed it would take about 5 minutes...we guessed wrong.

About 35 minutes later, (after figuring out how to use the gravel vacuum, dumping lots of water all over our counter, breaking the filter, trying to fix the filter, and figuring out that the filter wasn't actually broken but just needed more water, and cleaning up the mess) the water was clean!

We put a little more water in the tank this time than we had the first time, which caused the filter to make a little current under the water. The fish babies love it! They have been swimming up to it and letting it roll them to the bottom for the last 2 hours. It's like their own little fish roller coaster. Cute....if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's (Almost) the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know that it's only October, but I couldn't keep myself from moving our little Christmas countdown to the top of our blog. Jeffrey and I both love Christmas, so we're excited that it is only 69 days away! To all of you out there who are grumbling because the stores have already begun to put out all their Christmas wares in an attempt to fish themselves out of the red in this depressing economic year, we do apologize. At least our early Christmas display does not have ulterior motives attached!

You may have noticed that there is another relatively new blog item to the right of this reading pane. The "Blogging Powers-that-be" decided that they would add a new gadget for bloggers to use called "Blog Followers." Using this tool, blog readers can "register" so that blog writers know who is reading their blog. (Sorry that I had to write the word "blog" about 50 times in those last few sentences...it annoyed me, too.)

All that to say, if you read our blog, please sign up! It would be fun for us to know who keeps up with our little lives, and that way we can also specially tailor our writing to you. I think all you have to do to sign up is make a username (preferably your real name so we know who you are) and a password. It's easy, and it would make me smile...so go for it!

One last thing: You might want to look in our little "Powerful Words" box sometime soon. I pasted a beautiful poem by Neruda there, but Jeffrey will probably replace it soon. Last time I put a quote over there (from my favorite movie, Moulin Rouge) Jeffrey replaced it the next day with a quote from the TV series "Friday Night Lights" because he said that my quote was too girly. And here I was thinking I was doing him a favor by not choosing a pink background for our blog...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fishy Update...

Hello all-

I just got home from school/working out and read my wife's previous post. Since she is still in lab, I wanted to take this opportunity to let all you anxious readers know that all 3 fish - Jeffrey Jr., Shark, and Turtle - are still alive and well.

They are playing around and swimming with each other and nipping at each others' tails...basically, they're acting like a bunch of Gamma Sigs (just kidding - that was for Mason, Heath, Ryan, Clark, Blake, Hutton, et al).

More to come later. Now it's time for a shower and some homework.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey

Something smells fishy...

Jeffrey finally gave in a let me get a pet...three in fact. We got three fish! We named them Nemo, Gubs, and Jeffrey Jr.

12 hours later, Nemo died.

In fact, we basically saw Nemo die. It was terrible. He kept swimming to the surface and then floating down to the bottom without moving a fin so he would land on his side or his back. Very upsetting to a tender heart like me. Jeffrey (being the good husband that he is) "fished" Nemo out of the tank and put him in a baggie. We couldn't give him a proper burial/flushing because PetSmart would give us a new Nemo if we brought back the dead one with the receipt within 14 days of buying him. (Creepy store policy, right?)

Luckily we still had Gubs and Jeffrey Jr.

24 hours later, Gubs died.

Yet another fish in the fridge.

Lo and behold, my husband's namesake lives on to this day, and we used the refund from the late Nemo and the late Gubs to buy two new fish that are the same species as Jeffrey Jr., because we are better at keeping that species alive, apparently. The new fish are named Shark and Turtle. All three appear to have healthy appetites and are swimming actively--at least they were when we left the apartment this morning!

I will try to post some pictures of our new little babies soon, because I know that Danny Neal cares a lot about stuff like that...

As for more important things, my brilliant hubby just text messaged me that he made a 94 on his last gross anatomy test! For those of you who don't know, getting an A on a test like that in medical school is like getting a 120 on a test in regular school--it just doesn't happen all the time! I have a gross test coming up on Tuesday...hope that smartness is contagious.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Breast in Show

True story:

This morning I had a test in one of my classes, so I dressed up a little for the occasion. (I have this weird ritual of either dressing up on test days or dressing in camouflage so as to "go into battle with the test." What can I say? It works for me.)

Anyway, I wore these cute jeans that my mom bought for me last time she visited us (thanks, Mom!), a sweet little tank top, and some faux pearls that Mom got me, too. (Side note: I'm starting to think that I would have to go around naked if my mother didn't clothe me so nicely!)

I took my test and went to turn it in to my teacher who was seated at the front of the room. As I handed him my answer sheet and test copy, he looked straight at my chest and asked, "Wow...are those real?"

My immediate thought was, "Why is this teacher asking me if my breasts are real? I'm outraged! That is so sexual harassment-ish of him." Then I realized--he was asking about my pearls (which was important, because the answer would have been different if he were asking about the boobies)...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Is it a phone? A code? A sign? No, its....grandpa

I have never seen anything like this.

Lauren and I are sitting in the Saturday evening service at church. We have just finished the worship time, and the song leader asks everyone to be seated.

We greet those around us and take our seats to participate in communion. We have the prayer for the bread and juice, and then pass the plates for the weekly tithe. We then proceed to take out our Bible and prepare our hearts and minds for the message.

Then...without warning...we heard it.

This faint, sharp, clear, "click-click-click."

What was it, you ask? Well, we didn't know either. Was it someone's phone on a weird vibrate mode? No... Was it God messaging his Word to us via Morse Code? No... Was it the anxious, "are-we-done-yet" foot-tapping of the teenage boy behind us? No...

After a minute or two of guessing, we identified the source of the noise. An elderly man in the front in front of us was...

CLIPPING HIS FINGERNAILS!!!

First of all, the sermon hadn't even started yet - he couldn't have been bored already. And since when did clipping your nails become an appropriate public - or for that matter, church- activity? And why was no one else noticing this?!

As soon as we saw him, Lauren leaned over to me and said, "Blog it."

So I did.

Not only did we leave church with a great "God lesson" from the preacher, but we also left with a valuable life-lesson:

If you choose to clip your nails away from home
Instead of listening to the word of God
Some attentive 22-year-olds may catch you-
And record your heinous act on their blog!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck.

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

Friday, October 3, 2008

Capone Would Be Proud

Organized crime has always played a significant role in shaping the economic, political, and social landscape of this nation. There have been numerous films dedicated to the mafia and to gangsters - The Godfather, Gangs of the New York, American Gangster, Scarface, etc. We have all been exposed to these "underground" crime syndicates many times in our lives. But this past week I thought of something that had never been brought to my attention before: when these gangsters and criminals (inevitably) get injured, someone has to take care of them. Why did I think of this, you ask?

Well, on Wednesday the senior detective for the San Antonio Police Department who is in charge of gang activity came to our school and gave our MSI class (MSI = first-year med students) a lecture on gangs and organized crime in the greater San Antonio area. It was during this lecture that we found out this little detail: when these gangsters get hurt, they are brought to the teaching hospital where the medical school sends its third-year students to complete their rotations, meaning that in two short years I will be treating these gang and mafia members.

We also found out these interesting tidbits of information:

1.) There are over 1200 gangs in the San Antonio area, 950 of which are active
2.) There are only 2 gangs active in NW San Antonio (where we live), while most gangs are active in the SE and SW parts of town
3.) San Antonio is the headquarters for the Mexican Mafia
4.) Recently, a 15-year-old was busted for having in his possession 1 pound of marijuana, 5 handguns, 1 sawed-off shotgun, 2 other automatic weapons, and over 10 illegal street knives
5.) In the 1990s, a 10-year-old was apprehended for stealing (with help from his friends) over 25 new cars from a car dealership. He was working for a gang.
6.) The leader of the Mexican Mafia, who is on the 23-hour isolation block in a prison in Colorado, still controls the workings of the mafia in Texas. How?!?!?!
7.) The "Wildcat" hand-sign that ACU students use is technically a gang sign for a gang that stretches from coast to coast here in the U.S.

All that to say this: I get to treat their injuries in two years! But, the detective said we have nothing to fear, because since we are the ones who heal them and save their lives, they actually like medical professionals. I guess I just have to be careful to not show my ACU pride when treating one of them...

So if you are reading this, you might consider saying a little extra prayer for us tonight, since we are basically living in Gangster's Paradise (great song, BTW). Just kidding...we have not seen any crime since we moved here, and we actually live on the nice side of town. But you better believe I'm not going to the south side of town anytime soon....River Walk or not, I'm staying on this side of town!

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

P.S. I have a test at 1:00 pm today, and instead of studying, I am writing this and reading ESPN. Hope I do good...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Surprise!

Warning: The following information does not have anything to do with anything--I just think it's funny. Hope it makes you chuckle.

So there's this family named the Duggar Family. They are famous because they have 17 children (all conceived by the parents, no adoptees, no twins/triplets). S-E-V-E-N-T-E-E-N children! (Oh yeah, and they all have names that start with a "J".)

The Today Show invited the entire family to come to New York on Mother's Day to be interviewed and gawked at by all the slack-jawed viewers like me. At the end of the interview, the Duggar parents announced that they had a surprise for their children and for the viewers...they are expecting another baby!

Well, of course they are! I mean, isn't that the most un-surprising surprise ever? It's like they said, "Hey kids, today is Wednesday. And I've got a surprise...tomorrow's Thursday!" I mean, the woman has been preggers for almost 152 months of her life. It would have made my day if all seventeen of their kids had responded in unison, "Duh."

Instead, all the kids acted excited, even though you know that inside at LEAST one of them was thinking, "Mom and Dad have GOT to stop having sex." One of them had to be thinking that--the odds are in my favor!

Signs that you have too many children:
1. Your last name is Duggar.
2. You wanted to name all of them after Bible characters, but you have used all the normal ones (Rebekah, Noah, Sarah) and you and your husband are now trying to choose between Methuselah and Mephibosheth.
3. You go into labor as often as your husband goes to work.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Funny Honey

Newlywed life has been a great joy to Jeffrey and me. It's been fun to learn each other's pet peeves, idiosyncrasies, strengths, talents, and most hated chores (Dusting for me, Mopping for Jeffrey). Through all the fun, though, sometimes we both get frustrated with each other, (just like any roommate would) because sometimes I don't do things that Jeffrey wants me to do, and sometimes Jeffrey doesn't do things that I want him to do.

One such offense Jeffrey has repeatedly committed is to "put things up" on my side of the bathroom counter. Example: Jeffrey got out some Zilactin from our medicine cabinet to put on his ulcer, then "put it up" by throwing it on my side of the counter. Same story with the dirty hand towels, the toothpaste tube, and and other little knick-knacks. After several of these little annoyances, I finally called Jeffrey out on it.

Me: "Jeffrey, can you come into the bathroom? I've got a bone to pick with you."
Jeffrey: "I'm sorry."
Me: "Jeffrey, you don't even know what I'm going to say."
Jeffrey: "I know, but whatever it is, I'm sorry."
Me: "Look, Honey, I just want you to put things up when you use them...back where they go--not on my side of the counter."
Jeffrey: "I'm sorry."

After that little lover's spat, we hugged, told each other that we love each other, and said 3 things that we like about the other one. NOT! (Who does that?) We did get over it, though, and went in the kitchen to cook dinner. A little while later I went into the bathroom to, um, powder my nose and this is what I saw:


My side


Jeffrey’s side

It appears someone had used his latent anger over our conversation to rearrange our bathroom counter…if only these powers could be harnessed for good!

Another issue we had last week was over spilt milk—honestly. Jeffrey told me in the morning as we were already halfway to school: “Oh yeah, the milk jug we bought yesterday has a crack in it.” I asked if he had taken care of it, and he said, “Well, I was going to ask you what to do about it, but I forgot.”

After explaining to Jeffrey that he doesn’t really need to ask me if it’s ok to clean up a mess, Jeffrey told me that he would have cleaned it up himself, but he wasn’t sure what to put the milk into. “All I could think of were those big bowls (Longaberger mixing bowls),” he said. At this point, I was certain that we would be the only apartment dweller’s in renting history to be kicked out due to “milk damage.” With this thought in mind, I asked Jeffrey to take care of the problem before I got home since he was to get out of class before me that day. He asked me what to put the milk in, and I told him I didn’t care. This is what he chose:



Jeffrey put the milk into 1 pitcher, 1 large glass, 1 small glass, and 1 tall pasta tupperware container. I changed my mind…I do care what he puts the milk in! Haha….my funny honey. I love that little goober.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Studying Habits, Interrupted

I haven't posted in a few days...did anyone miss me? Haha.

We had a series of tests last week and this week that took up all of my blogging time--Boo! Lucky for you readers, though, there is always seems to be some funniness that comes out of any difficult situation.

Now, I'm not trying to complain about my tests. In fact, I'm relatively happy with my grades received and I just think that complaining on a blog is silly. (I mean, we all have things to complain about...and no one wants to read anyone else's complaints!)

Suffice it to say, though, that I had to study a lot over the last few days. A lot lot.
To set up my studying story, you must know this: My brother is a big time long-distance runner and he is great at it. He is one of those people who feels refreshed after running 10 miles. (As opposed to the other 98% of the population who just feels like vomiting and/or dying after such a run.) Greg, and many other runners, always talk about the "Runner's High" that they get after they push past the pain at the beginning of their race. I've never understood the concept of this runner's high. I ran (ahem...jogged) cross-country in high school, and we used to run up to six or seven miles at a time, but I guess my runner's high point is somewhere in the great abyss beyond 6 or 7 miles. The world will never know, trust me.

This morning, though, I found my "Study-er's High." Last night I attempted to stay up late to study for my test that was this morning, but I'm not much of a night person, so I finally went to bed when I realized that studying like this....



was not going to get me an A...or a B or C.

Instead I went to bed and resolved to get up at 5:00 am to finish up before class. I lay my head down on the pillow, and then my alarm went off (that's what it felt like to me, anyway)! I grudgingly got out of the warm bed and booted up my computer for a couple hours of hard labor. I studied and studied and studied until I felt like I knew it all. Then I looked at the clock--5:15 am! I had covered 100+ power point slides and 40 pages of notes in 15 minutes!

This is the Study-er's High. It's like a superpower that only strikes a few times per year for me. It doesn't happen often, but it's amazing each time. It's like I can go into a different plateau of focus and speed study. Maybe I'm the only weirdo that this happens to, but for all of you who are in school, I wish you all at least one Study-er's High session. I love it!

And for you readers who love kitties, I leave you with this funny picture that I found on the internet that I though was hilarious but didn't know any stories I could tell with it. (Jenae Hubbard, here is a kitty for you!)


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parking Spaces and Funny Faces

Some people say that rules are meant to be followed. Others say that rules are made to be broken. Regardless of your personal stance, you must agree that some rules are just plain stupid. For example:


At our medical/dental school, parking is an issue. Because the school is boxed in on all sides, it cannot provide more spaces within walking distance for their ever-growing number of students and faculty. To remedy this situation, they made a parking lot about 2 o r 3 miles away and provided shuttle service to the building. This distant lot is in "Zone V parking" (side note: why do they always use Roman numerals for zones?). The next closest lot is "Zone IV," which is about a 5 minute walk from the school. Jeffrey and I were "lucky" to get Zone IV parking as first-year students. Many of our friends who are in Zone V are frustrated with having to operate on the shuttle's schedule, and applied to be on the waiting list for Zone IV. Yesterday, my friend Ana got the call that she could get a Zone IV permit if she brought in her Zone V permit and paid the difference. Ana asked where she should park when she brought in her permit (because if your car doesn't have a permit on it, you get a ticket), and the lady responded, "Oh, I don't know. People usually just get a ticket when they do this." That, my friends, is a stupid rule.


On another note, let us all be grateful today for the platysma muscle. I learned in Gross Anatomy that this wonderful muscle is what allows each and every one of us to make this face:

Thank goodness for the platysma. Use yours today!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Blog Baby

The Inspiration: I watch Jon and Kate + 8. (In case you don't watch here's a brief synopsis: Jon and Kate are a couple who had a difficult time getting pregnant. Through in vitro fertilization, they had twin girls, and then decided to have one more. Instead of one more, Kate got pregnant with 6! Six little babies were born 9 months later, and thus their family became Jon and Kate + 8 kids.) I love all those little kiddies who run around saying things like "Mommy, I want to wear those gubs (gloves)!" and "Daddy, why do little girls have little boops (boobs)?" Another reason I watch is simply to imagine what I would do in that situation. I mean, 8 kids! You have to have a plan for everything. If you want to put all the kids in the car, you need a plan. If you want to cook dinner, you need a plan. If you need to go to the bathroom, you better plan it in advance and get a babysitter!

The Problem: Every time I watch that show, I want to have kids (not eight kids, mind you--just one or two or four...the number does seem to get higher every time I watch, though.) Unfortunately, Jeffrey and I are both in professional school right now, so it's not really the optimum time for baby-making. (Not to mention, we are young little newlyweds who can barely manage to keep up with the household chores!) Nevertheless, I feel the strong urge to nurture something. Since having a baby at this time would be ill-advised, I naturally went to the next best thing--a dog. I've begged and begged, but it turns out that our apartment complex charges millions of dollars as well as a pledge to give them your firstborn in exchange for allowing a dog to live on their property...and that's if the dog doesn't mess anything up! I was still ready to go forward with that idea, but Jeffrey (my dear and logical husband) said no. And he was right. Ouch, that hurts to type. So, I again lowered my standards--how about a plant? Jeffrey (my dear and logical and proud-of-being-right-on-the-dog-issue husband) again told me no. I think this time it was simply out of spite. He seems to think I will kill this plant just like I killed all my other plants in Abilene. He doesn't think I can turn over a new leaf! (I apologize for that joke.)

The solution: In conclusion, Jon and Kate made me want babies, but I can't have them right now. Instead of a baby I wanted a dog, but Jeffrey said no. Instead of a dog, I asked for a plant, and Jeffrey again said no. So in lieu of those things, I have decided to relieve my need for nurturing on the blog. My baby blog. Isn't it cute?! I love you baby blog. And a blog is the best baby ever, anyway! No clean up, no cost, no stretch marks (although someday, maybe, carpal tunnel), and no dirty diapers. My blog baby is better than any of those real babies anyway. (But I still want one...don't tell.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Almost Here.

If you are a true movie-lover, or if you have a grand sense of history, or if you like the ultimate in manliness and action, or if you simply like thrilling entertainment, then you need to go to this site RIGHT NOW!

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809961074/video/9655524

It will change your life. You heard it here first.

Otherwise, I am currently recuperating from my test week last week. All tests were passed with satisfactory marks, so I'm happy. However, I'm slightly un-happy because hurricane Ike is supposed to blow through San Antonio this weekend, bringing lots of rain and possible flooding. They said that it rained so much last year after a hurricane that the medical school lecture halls were flooded - yikes!

Also this week I came to the realization that it's one thing to locate and palpate structures on a dead body, and yet quite another to locate and palpate structures on a living human being. You can't hurt dead people, but you sure can hurt living people. While searching for some lymph nodes today in class, I accidentally pushed in too far and set off a choking/coughing spasm...and everyone turned around and looked at me...and of course, I turned bright red. At least I looked cool while doing it...oh wait, I looked like a total fool.

But it's ok - I'm going to practice finding Lauren's cervical (neck) lymph nodes this weekend. If she calls anyone coughing, crying, or screaming, I promise that I didn't hurt her on purpose. I'm just a doctor in training.

Until next time...

Good night, and good luck

--Jeffrey D. Edwards

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lectures and Quizzes and Tests, Oh My!

It is finished.

(Gross Anatomy Test 1, that is.)

Today we spent four grueling hours taking our first anatomy practical and test. Wow. That was fun. Luckily, there were only a few questions that I read and thought to myself: "Yup. I remember that word from the notes....but I don't remember anything else besides the word. No definition. No other words that were with it. Hmm. Probably should have studied it a little more."

The most fun of the whole day for me was when I walked over to our testing room 30 minutes early for the test--thinking that I would be the first one there. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw basically my entire class that had arrived before me...so as not to be late. Hmm...shouldn't the universe implode or something when that many Type A personalities are in the same room together?

In other news, taunting teenagers are trying new tactics to torture teachers. (Try saying that one five times fast!) True story: Last Friday, my mom, the high school English teacher, realized after her last class that several items had been stolen out of her classroom, including a decorative plaque and the very clock off the wall. To any teens, convicts, or those just still in touch with their inner child/thief, I have a few questions for you.

#1: Why?
#2: Why a clock? I understand stealing money, but a clock?
#3: Why?

When I told some of my dental school friends about this crime spree, one of them told me that when she was in high school, some of her acquaintances would throw away one of their teacher's staplers on a weekly basis. Which leads me to wonder--was I that annoying when I was a teenager? (Mom and Dad, please don't respond on the blog if the answer is yes--the blog is not a place for airing our family's dirty laundry. But if I was that annoying--I apologize.)

By the way, have you read Jeffrey's last posting? How sweet is my husband?! I'm going to keep him...