Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let it snow

Today was our first snow of the season. I am a bit surprised we made it almost to December but we were close.

Being from Utah, I tend to like snow. Unfortunately, while Utah has “the greatest snow on Earth,” Iowa does not. They may have the “longest lasting ice on Earth,” but definitely not good snow.

We had a small winter preparedness message at church a few weeks ago. They got me really scared for what the Iowa winter can bring…and this is my 6th Iowa winter! We have been lucky so far this year.

This year we will have to start shoveling our walks and driveway.  We were lucky to receive a snowblower from our previous homeowners (to bad it isn’t an ice melter). We also finally got our new windows installed, just in time!

Now, I just need some of these:

One more post

My final report from our trip, if you are still insterested:


We went with Abe’s family to the Eastern market and had blueberry buckwheat pancakes. We look tired!

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The FDR memorial was pretty cool to see. We took a ranger guided tour which ended up being over an hour long but we learned a lot of interesting info about him.

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It was designed to be an interactive memorial…except most people don’t realize they are supposed to touch or the fountains were designed for wading in. One of the walls was even designed for people to bring clay to make molds or paper to do tracings from the wall. How would you know that if you didn’t take a ranger tour?

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We walked around Georgetown.

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And found Ben’s Chili Bowl.

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It was a tiring trip with so much to see! It was surprisingly nice to come back to quiet Iowa City.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monumental trip

There is so much to see in Washington DC. That means a lot of pictures.

We went to the dept of  engraving and printing to see how they make our moolah. I always suspected I married up. According to this dept of the US government, Abe is worth quite a bit more than me by height.

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We spent the last day or two looking at many of the monuments. The Korean War monument was one of my favorites. Unlike the Vietnam War monument which helps you try to understand the number of people affected by war, this monument helped me put faces to some of the names. I felt like I was in the jungle with these brave men.

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Washington  Monument. I didn’t really like the red blinking lights at the top (for planes?). It looked like creepy alien eyes watching me.

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Lincoln monument with Abraham.

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Utah girl.

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Iowa Boy.

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On Sunday we walked around Arlington.

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Again I tried to remember that all of these impersonal stones were PEOPLE. People who sacrificed for us and for their country. This was another one of my favorite places we visited.

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I was really contemplating the assassination of JFK. Doesn’t that sound cooler than oops, candid camera moment?

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I feel like this wasn’t even half of the things we saw. There is so much. I like remembering to think about our history, the great things our country has accomplished and overcome. The great bravery and sacrifice of so many before us and around us. It is hard not to feel grateful and patriotic when you are there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Abe of Cakes.

When I first met Abe, he told me he did not like cake. I even spent the first few birthdays for him making ice cream cakes, a good alternative since he loves ice cream and I believed him.

Looking at our trip to DC you would never guess he would ever say that.

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We keep hearing about these fancy cupcake stores around the country. We don’t seem to have any in Iowa City so we thought we better try Georgetown Cupcake (as seen on TV). Unfortunately, when we arrived there was a huge line up the street. We felt crazy waiting in line but we had nowhere else to go (we were waiting for a ride). We decided we better get a box since we had waited that long (great marketing strategy!).

-I was once told about one of these cupcakes, “Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all myself.” I just want to say, “Don’t worry, Abe and I ate all six of these in two days.”

My assessment: good, but they are still just CUPCAKES. Good frosting though.

Our next stop was a bookstore with a restaurant in the back recommended by Abby and Matt. We had some late night cake. Abe loved the idea of perusing books while waiting for your table. He also tried a salty carmel cake, a new thing for us which seems to be popular (in the DC area?).

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It was really late, can you tell? Don’t worry again, we only ate MOST of it.

My assessment: salty carmel cake = too salty. Sounds right up my alley (I love sweet and salty together) but this one at least was a little much.

We also had birthday cake for my mother-in-law's birthday.

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My assessment: I always love birthday cake.

Our final cake event was Cake Love. We come back full circle because this is what really inspired Abe to become the cake guy many of you know him to be.

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The owner of this shop also has a book of the same name, Cake Love. He is the one who taught Abe to make his awesome cakes.

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And you guessed it, we ate it all! (And what is the girl in the yellow behind us doing?).


My assessment: I may still prefer Abe’s cakes. And wow, now I am feeling kinda fat! I had no idea we ate so much cake in just a few short days.


***You can see some of Abe’s cakes on his blog www.ironsheff.blogspot.com

Monday, November 15, 2010


We have been planning to visit Washington DC for at least a year. Luckily, Abe had a genetics conference that finally got us there. This was my first time to our nation’s capital. I joined Abe later in the week and luckily he was able to break away from his work for some sightseeing.

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There is so much to see in DC! It was a very busy trip and we saw many of the standards.

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Thanks to Abby and Matt for helping us to a drier (and dorkier way) to explore the mall. I didn’t ever imagine it to be that muddy. :)

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Abe (and Abe)

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There were very few monuments for women. I thought this one was really meaningful. It showed some of the leaders (can you call them mothers? like you would “the founding fathers”) of women’s suffrage. The back of the sculpture is unfinished which symbolizes that it is a continuing movement which I thought was really interesting. I guess the feminist in me really appreciated that. Abe says it is just waiting for Hillary to insert herself.

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More Abraham. I am glad my Abraham doesn’t look so sad.

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Each state gets to choose two monuments for their state. This is Brigham Young for the state of Utah. I need to do some Iowa history research because I didn’t recognize either of them. One was Kirkwood…I’m guessing the college is named after him. Brownie points to whoever knows the other Utah and other Iowa monuments.

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Abe’s childhood friend is a speech writer for Hillary Clinton. We were lucky that he was able to arrange a tour of the white house for us on short notice. It is weird to think the president and his family lives here. I really wanted to go upstairs and see where they live but the secret service wouldn't let me even think about it while there. I keep wondering, “What does the president’s bathroom look like?” I’ve always felt bad about not being able to go behind roped off areas. If there was no rope, I wouldn’t think anything of it. I guess it makes me feel like there is something secretive or interesting there. It's probably just an old closet.

Anyway, more to come. I know you can’t wait to hear more. Funny I don’t really know who YOU is or if there even is a YOU. But regardless, YOU’ll be sure to see more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


If you made it through my last marathon of a post, I would like to make it known that the gas light was a red herring. I felt so stupid that I had somehow let myself run out of gas. Turns out, there was something else wrong with the car and after quite the repair bill she is up and running again. At least for know. I guess with that in mind I am very grateful I broke down where I did, not on the freeway at high speeds or in the middle of nowhere.

It does leave me to wonder when it is time to say goodbye to a car. It is 10 years old with only about 80K miles but it seems every year or so we have to drop a big chunk of change into it. Any thoughts on when this stops being worth it? We love not having a car payment but reliability is an issue.


Now, onto a related story. When I first moved to Iowa I was talking to a friend. She was telling me about a recent trip she had taken with her fiance where they had to rent a car. She belabored the point that it was not only a PT cruiser, but the worst possible color, a PURPLE PT CRUISER. How embarrassing that that was what they had to drive the whole trip.

She next turned to me and asked, “What kind of car do you drive?”

I told her with a smirk, “A PURPLE PT CRUISER.”

She started laughing and asked me what kind of car I really drove.

“No, really, come on!” she said.

At this point, I pointed out the window to the parking lot to my car outside.

She proceeded to tell me how un-dorky PT Cruisers are and that she meant purple was just a dorky color for men . I just laughed.


It has been a good car. For the most part.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A traveling tale

I love to travel. But I do not like travel-ing, especially by myself. This is ironic considering I trekked to live in Honduras alone one spring after graduation and have travelled many places solo including Thailand and Malaysia. I guess my issue is with airports. I become extremely nervous every time I get ready to check in. Some of the more stressful illustrations are:

- I have missed a flight and had to pay another $800 to get a new one the next day after missing the bag check in time by 1-2 minutes.

-I have arrived hours early only to spend hours on the phone trying to re-route a flight that occurs only weekly and was missed due to airline issues.

-Waiting in very small one room airports and hoping I didn’t misunderstand the Spanish saying I missed my flight.

…until last week when I was able to add another event to my list.

Travel back to Wednesday:

Abe was already in Washington DC for a genetics seminar. I was set to fly out that night at 7:12 pm so I could have time to arrive after work which usually is over about 5 pm.

Miraculously, I got done with work much earlier than expected. I was excited thinking I may be able to arrange my flight for an earlier time. I was frustrated when this was not the case. I waited around for hours before leaving for the airport. This is the ironic part.

Finally, about 5:45 I leave my house for the Cedar Rapids airport about 20-30 minutes away. As I approach the airport, I decide having only a short layover I may not get food until midnight or later if I don’t eat now. I pulled into the McDonalds and ordered some food. I text Abe and say something to the extent of,

“Just at the McDonalds down the road from the airport. This is the time I start getting nervous. Silly, I know.” More irony. Can you see it coming yet? This is about 6:10 pm.

I drive past the Casey’s (a gas station here in Iowa) thinking to myself that perhaps I should stop and get some gas. Are you on board yet?-- Nope, I think. I am getting towards low, but don’t want to take the time to stop.

I drive another mile or so when my car starts sputtering. I am wondering what is going on and see that my gas light is on. My car is always great at warning me about being out of gas but I do not remember hearing any dinging noises and the gas tank wasn’t in the red. But I assumed this was my problem. I pulled over and the car was done. Right in sight of the airport. And luckily (in far) sight of the gas station. I called Abe in a panic and he told me to go back and get some gas. Okay. Great idea! It is about 6:20 pm.

I jogged the mile or so back to the station. The attendant at first said he had no gas cans. What? Luckily, he found a small gallon one for me to purchase and then I jogged back to the car as best I could with a sloshing gas can full of heavy (and stinky) gas. This was hard and where I was bemoaning my dislike for running. Maybe if I LOVED running like it seems everyone else I know, I would have enjoyed the extra challenge. I arrive back to the car about 6:40 pm.

I tried my best to put the gas in the car. Hard when it is dark and you are in the middle of a corn field (figuratively speaking). Unfortunately, the car still wouldn’t start. At this point I said the obligatory prayer, the “Please help me get out of this one.” I didn’t have any faith that it could work out my way, which meant getting to the airport on time without trouble.

Just as I said the final word in my mind, I see two headlights pull up. I am a little wary but a nice young man who reminded me a bit of my brother came out of his car and I asked if I needed help. I asked if he would take me to the airport (silly how all caution went to the wind when I was in a jam, I know) and he agrees. He drives me the two minutes or less to the airport, and waits inside to make sure I get off. I arrived about 6:53 and at first they said I was not allowed to board. Luckily, one of the guys at the desk was magic and made that problem disappear. I thanked Ben, his name, for his helpfulness and for not being creepy and ran as they were calling my name.

Of course, there was a line at CID airport security for the first time ever. And I got behind an older family slowly taking off shoes and removing laptops and belts while they are calling for passenger Sheffield. I finally made it through, ran through the terminal (again, need to start training for a marathon because that terminal was suddenly much bigger than I remembered), said hi to Ben’s parents who were watching for me, and was the last to board about 7 pm.

Luckily, it was smooth sailing after that. Except for my cold McDonalds…

We had the car towed to the mechanics thanks to the help of Abe’s brother. I’m still not sure if we were merely out of gas or if it was “broken down.” It is currently receiving some repairs which I am not sure are related or not.


Thanks to Ben and his parents for raising a gentleman who was willing to help a person in need and for not being creepy. Wish I could say a better thanks!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



Friday was my last day of Cardiology and I started my anesthesia rotation yesterday. Wow, I have made it to my final rotation of the year before I head back to doing oral surgery.

Anesthesia will be a big transition. I find myself leaving in the early mornings when it is still incredibly dark and also chilly. I wonder to myself if it is any safer walking in the dark of the morning instead of the dark of the night. I doubt it, except maybe that there are sometimes some diligent joggers or dog walkers out.

I am excited for something new but also nervous. I have a few short weeks to absorb enough knowledge to be able to run my own anesthesia cases by myself, with the supervision of staff of course—peeking in over my shoulder. There is so much logistically to know such as how to run the anesthesia machine, how to pick up and manage controlled drugs, and documentation. I also have a lot to learn about anesthesia procedures and concepts. Intubating patients (placing the breathing tube), pharmacology, physiology—basically keeping the patient safe and alive. And how to look good in those funny hats.

Today was a good day. I did an intubation through the nose by myself without problems. Phew. And while all of my oral surgery colleagues were watching. I had a great staff to teach me and let me practice. I am excited to learn these things that are so important for being a good and safe oral surgeon but it is overwhelming looking at it from the beginning.


I guess that is why I have 4 months to figure it out. Except for the hat part. Don’t think anyone figures that out…