Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Match

Tomorrow is Match Day for many dental students hoping to join a specialty. This includes Oral Surgery. Even after my successful match 2 years ago, it seems like a big day. We will find out who we will be working with over the next few years. The intern of our program will find out if he gets to stay here (which as a former intern I am always hoping for). And I remember one more year has gone by and I am grateful I am here.

I remember my first match day three years ago. I woke up excited and nervous. I wasn’t sure what to think but I was hopeful. I checked my phone for an email before I jumped out of bed. It wasn’t there. As I was changing into my clothes it did come. I remember yelling, “It’s here!” I found the very sad letter that said I had not matched. I can’t remember what I did. I was shocked and also not horribly surprised. I had only applied to one program—but it was a sad morning. I was very glad I was not at school that day to face all of the questions from my classmates. I instead drove to Cedar Rapids to give a presentation to an elementary school about oral hygiene and cavity prevention. I tried to put on a happy face and hoped the kids couldn’t tell the stranger in front of them was feeling pretty down. On my way to the school I received a call from the program director. She asked how I was doing—a silly question, I thought. I wonder what she expected I would say, “So relieved!” or “Suicidal” or “Angry at you?” I said I was feeling “A little disappointed.” I may have even choked back tears. She said something like she would guess so. I felt like, “Well, it is your fault I am feeling this way.”  She asked me if I would take the position as intern. She seemed surprised when I said I would have to think about it and talk it over with my husband. She called later that day as I drove home. I think I had to tell her to wait until morning when I finally told her I would accept.

The next year was a very stressful time. I had finished 6 months of my internship. I knew I wanted to do Oral Surgery and not go back to general dentistry. We had early morning rounds as we usually do. The other residents were anxious, especially one of the seniors who kept asking me over and over again if the result had come, when would it come, had it come yet? I was assigned to cover the clinic at the college of dentistry. All of the staff doctors, many of the residents, and some of the past residents were there for a mock board exam. I wished I had taken the day off in case I didn’t match. It would be hard to face them. As I walked over to the school with the other residents, I decided to restart my phone as it was frozen. I worried I would miss the email. Of course I did. When I arrived at the school one of the assistants saw me and gave me a big hug. I was confused and she could tell. I didn’t know if she knew the results of the match and was congratulating me or consoling me or if something else prompted her affection. She tried to cover up her mistake and give the other residents hugs too, congratulation them on babies and such. A few minutes later my phone finally was back online and I got the result: this time I did match. I have never felt such a huge wave of relief. It literally felt like a load off my back—a load of stress and worry I had carried around the 6 months previous. Abe made some treats and brought them to work for me to share. We had a small party (that was ruined by poor weather) to celebrate the result, something we planned to do despite the result because I was so glad to finally know.

This year, like last, I feel so relieved and grateful that it isn’t me (again) waiting and wondering. But this year I do have one  more match coming up, in March, for my husband Abe. I will be so grateful when our family has all match days behind us. For now, I’m grateful for where I am and that it isn’t me awaiting the results tomorrow morning.

Good luck Lance!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A little tip

Just reminded myself that although Mondo’s makes a great oatmeal pie, my husband makes it even better. Yum!
August 2010 017
Do yourself a favor and make it this week (or get a loved one to do it for you). You wont be sorry!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Magic of Gnomes

I have a Swedish friend who told me the story of a traveling gnome. A family thought their garden gnome was stolen, until he sent them postcards for the entire year of his travels around the world. After a year, he came back home safe and sound. Maybe this is the idea behind the gnome for (or is it orbitz?). Anyway, I thought was a funny story but I didn’t think much of it until I received my own gnome.

I never thought I would be the owner of a gnome. Maybe that is why I didn’t give that story much more thought. However, my brother bought me a Hawkeye gnome when we moved into our first house. He has been sitting happily next to our door since we moved. I was worried the Hawkeye tailgaters might want to take him on a trip across the world (or more likely, another part or rural Iowa) without leaving post cards, but luckily he has stayed close by. I think the tailgaters respect Iowa pride (even if they don’t respect lawn chairs—if you remember one was stolen on game day last year).

I originally thought the gnome story was a fable, not unlike the Easter Bunny. A traveling gnome. That sends postcards. But lately I am starting to wonder about the magical talents of the gnome. Mine has turned out to have a personality, and he is quite festive.

The first time it happened I noticed we came home to find him wearing a blue surgical cap, not unlike the one below. He must have known I was coming home from a long day in the OR and was sympathizing with me. I wish I could find the picture but we just wiped our hard drive. I guess you’ll have to imagine.

Since that time he periodically has other ways of showing me he’s got a mind of his own. For example, he must have been unhappy with my lack of fall decor because he reminded me to celebrate Thanksgiving with this pumpkin.

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A few weeks later he signaled it was time to put up the tree when he started wearing this Christmas sweater (a mug cozy).

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Every time I see his new trinkets it makes me laugh. I’m pretty sure he has an accomplice, although I have yet to figure out who. I have a few ideas. I’ll have to share those on another day. Until then, I’m excited to see what he comes up with in the future!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Take a peak inside

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I know, nothing keeps you  more interested than pictures of my closets!  But I was excited enough to post them. We moved into our house 18 months ago. We have very small closets and too many clothes to fit in them. I have never utilized the space very well because I was too clueless and unsure how to organize them. Silly to leave them empty because I was scared, but I did. This week one day after work I decided to at least try sorting things out. I feel like I made some progress and while I still have some empty cupboards and shelves, I am hoping to do better. I think they look pretty good considering I am totally inept at organization. And, I have tried to sort through my things and get rid of things I don’t need which is very hard. I worry I will become a hoarder but getting rid of a handful of things here and there has got to help a little! I try to remember that people may need my things more than I do. But I’d rather just get rid of Abe’s old stuff to make room for mine but I feel guilty doing that.

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I feel like this New Year has been one of extra motivation so far. Cleaning closets, purging my life of negativity and clutter. I’ve had some successes keeping my house cleaner than usual, wearing makeup and spending a little extra time on my hair (even on early work days), eating better and exercising (although I did fall off the horse on this the past week or so), and studying more for work. I am hoping I can actually have a few resolutions stick this year! Some of them are very small and inconsequential (I made a goal to wear earrings every day. That is something I can do every day very easily and can give me a feeling increased discipline in my life).

I’d love to hear about your goals or any ideas for organizing.

Monday, January 16, 2012


When I was a little girl I used to love painting fingernails with my mom. She always had a big tackle box full of colors. When we were very little they were always pink or red. I remember there was one called “A touch of Amber.” I was jealous there was no color called Erin so my mom assigned a lilac one to me, “Lovely in Lilac  Erin.” I was surprised to see that somehow I have this color in my stash over 20 years later! (it’s not the original bottle, I promise)


I remember the first time my mom had a blue nail polish. We thought this was crazy and absolutely wonderful. Soon the tackle box was full of fun colors and remained this way through junior high and into high school. I guess I always thought it was normal to have a big box of colors. I was surprised in college when a girl told me, “You should only ever wear shades of pink.” I guess I have held the opposite mantra (I only have a few pinks in my stash). I was also shocked recently to learn that other people don’t have a collection of polish like I do. I bought a few girls at church nail polish after I found out they each only had one bottle of pink polish and nothing else. I am curious now if I am the weird one.

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I think that while I used to relegate polish almost exclusively to toes, fingernail polish is pretty popular right now and I am lov-lov-loving it. Come on, even Justin Bieber has his own line.

Justin Bieber Nail Polish

Here are a few of my tips:

1. Basically, anything goes as far as color these days. But, if there were any rules I’d almost be brave enough to say my friend was wrong about the pink. Be daring and branch out a little. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Glitter, darks, greys/browns, mattes all seem pretty cool right now.

Try some pretty pastels. The Sally Hansen Xtreme wear “Mint Sorbet” below on the far left is probably the color I have received the most compliments on ever. So pretty, surprisingly. If you go green/yellow, try to find a color that is flattering to your skin so it doesn’t look fungus-ey.

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Black doesn’t have to be GOTH or EMO anymore. Dark purples or blues can give a similar look without being black. And add in some glitter. I love the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength “Black Diamond.” I also like the Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Umptempo Plum on the far right. Your mom may be intimidated but I think this is one of the coolest trends.

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Metallics. I think the gold is pretty fun! And I found this itty bitty bottle for about $1.

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And of course red is always classy and feminine. I think it you keep it a true red instead of a magenta you’ll stay away from grandma-ville. If you are feeling really brave pair it with some red lips to make your guy go wow. Something about red lips seems to attract guys.

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2. Keep it clean, girls. No one likes to see that cracked and peeling look. You can get away with it on your toes but please not on your fingers. I’ve found I can go about 3 days before it starts peeling. You can try to add on a few days by touching up the tips or doing a new top coat. But at least when you take it off, you get the chance to try another color.

3. I often don’t remember to do my nails until I am getting ready to go out. Unfortunately, this means I do it right before I run out the door and inevitably end up with a smear. Until I found this stuff, Onyx 3-2-1 Dry!


It comes out as a cold spray and you can see the polish literally hardening before your eyes. It takes you immediately past wet and tacky and into that almost set stage. Amazing. It is so much easier to come out smudge free, or faster to move on to a second coat without drying in between. I’ve seen it at Walmart for a few bucks. And I kind of like the smell.

4. Vaselline. I tried this tip yesterday and I think it worked. Use a Q-tip to place a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the skin around your finger tips to prevent messy smears.

This is what my nails normally look like—can you see all of the places I smeared onto my cuticles?


This is what they looked like after the vaseline trick, without any touch ups. Awesome and almost flawless. I was surprised and impressed.


Even without this trick, I say go for it, quickly swipe a few coats on and enjoy the color. Who cares if it is a little sloppy—does anyone look that closely? It takes me about 2-3 minutes to do a full set of nails. It takes practice but I don’t think it needs to take all day.

5. Don’t be afraid to layer. If your polish if kind of a dud color, add a few more coats for a brighter appearance or add a layer of glitter to sparkle it up. Remember what I said about being daring? I think texture is pretty cool right now. I’ve been wanting to experiment with some zebra print which I created myself above in just a few minutes with ART DECO polish which comes with a very small brush you can use to paint designs. I also like the idea of leopard print and I’ve heard painting crackle polish horizontally can give this appearance.

6. Keep your cuticles healthy and trimmed. I’ve never been good at this but I recently received a Sally Hansen Push N Trim cuticle trimmer and it is amazing. I’ve been using it on my husband’s dry hands and I can’t believe how well it works. Online it says it is only $3.50.

7. Nail polish can be expensive. I really like the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear polish. It comes in fun and trendy colors, is a slightly smaller bottle, and costs about $2.50. Mini polish bottles can also be a fun way to add some new colors in without breaking the bank.

8. Have some fun! Paint your nails different colors of the same shade, paint one fingernail different, do some wacky french tips, whatever! Pinterest has some fun ideas.

Here are a few things I am still hoping to try:

OPI...Espresso..<br />Want some brown sparkly polish!

Opi Espresso. I really want a glittery brown.

Newspaper nails

Newspaper nails.

Anyone else into polish right now? What are your favorite colors or tips?

Saturday, January 14, 2012


It’s been a long time! Where have I been? Mostly at work I suppose, but also I’ve been pretty uninspired lately. I guess there are topics I could write about but sometimes it feels silly to re-live my life through blog posts. Or I just don’t have the motivation. Here is a little update.

I was able to take a trip for the holidays to Utah to see my family. We were there for 7 days starting on Christmas Eve. It was great to see everyone and so wonderful to have a vacation for the first time since May. We left on the 30th so I could take call on the 31st but this was traded with another resident and miraculously I ended up with a 10 day vacation. This was a big deal as I am only allowed to ask for 7 days off. It was so great to have some extra time to recharge and we spent a day in Chicago on our way home for some fun on New Years Eve.


We were pretty crafty and made family stockings


And quiet books.


Abe liked his Christmas Eve PJ pants, which just happened to match his shirt. Notice in the background how patriotic we are on Christmas! (no idea what that is)

Erin celebrates strike by Tebowing

Catching up on the latest trends while family bowling.

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Abe got to meet my grandpa Sterling who loved reminding us that “Sheffield’s are good athletes.” We learned all about the Sheffield’s from Wayne county who could beat up anybody and also Abe’s relatives who were basketball players for the University of Utah in the 1940s. My grandpa has a good and strange knack for remembering details. He can recite every member of his kindergarten class alphabetically and he does it every day (along with some other mind exercises) to help keep his mind sharp. I think this is amazing and a little strange. I can’t remember anyone in my kindergarten class. Except for maybe a girl named April who always wore dresses and a boy named Alberto who I thought was weird that his name was like Alberto V05 (that cheap shampoo brand) and his mom died in childbirth. Oh, and my sister Amber. I guess my memory is weird, too. Must be a Jackson thing.

Grandpa Jackson_1

I hadn’t seen my grandparents in years! With my sister Caitlyn who is growing up so fast! We went down to Gunnison, Utah, where they now live to visit.


I think this is a good picture for the new year!


I forgot to mention we spent a short time with Abe’s family in Chicago before Christmas as well.


Cheesy New Years Eve kissing picture. Still in love going in to another year.


Back home with more presents to open on New Years. You can consider this your digital Christmas card.


And just had to post this picture, Abby, because it made me laugh. What were we talking about? We both have a look of disgust or severe disapproval!

Work has been very busy lately. Reportedly we are 15% busier this year than last. I can feel it. I have been seeing many more patients each day and staying later and later finishing up paper work or other tasks. We are also seeing extra patients in the OR which takes residents away from the clinic and from seeing the extra patients there. Despite my crazy days, I am enjoying it. I can tell my skills are improving as a surgeon and over all am getting along well with the team. And I guess people must think I have a cool job because those wisdom teeth surgeries that go viral on youtube are my life every day…

Abraham has finished his board exams, his applications are in for residency, and we are much less stressed now. It is so strange that after 8 years he is finally going to be done with both of his degrees this May and we will move in to the triple doctor stage of our lives (Erin 1, Abe 2). It will be fun to work with him a bit in the hospital for the next few years.

And, we finally can get a break from the Iowa political action. Over the Christmas break I was receiving phone calls from Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt and Rick (both Rick’s) 5-10 times per day. We voted in my 2nd Iowa Caucus. This one was certainly more energized than last time. Four years ago I was there with about 12 other people from my precinct. This time we had a few combined precincts with probably 200 people there. Abe loves politics and we stay pretty involved. Here is when Abe met Newt’s back at the medical school. We also attended a Ron Paul rally, met Mitt Romney multiple times, and Abe went to a Herman Cain rally before he dropped out.

Newt Gingrich