Kristi

Annnnddd I’m back!

Pfew! What a roller coaster! Defending a Ph.D. is seriously no joke. First, there is writing a dissertation – and folks, mine was nearly 200 pages. 200! Me, who has a hard time thinking a complete thought (thanks ADD, who is now called ADHD, because the acronym also has ADD) and has a hard time writing! I wrote that beast in about 1.5 months. It was a necessity though, otherwise the consequences would have been devastating. I would have to stay another semester … surrounded by so many people who have excluded and made me feel lesser.

I have so much to tell you! So much has happened in these past four absent months! SO MUCH!

So, I’m a doctor now. I don’t feel any smarter, and for some reason, I thought I would. Titles aren’t everything.

I’m addicted to MasterChef Junior. There is something about kids with passions and such motivation to succeed. I just love it so much. I will probably talk about this later on.

My friend Charles and I have something cooking up that will please all of my geeky readers (if I have any). It was an idea he had originally and it was going to be done with his brother, but, there was no interest there. And the thing is, I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. I kept hoping and hoping I would be surprised and the two of them would do it, and then I would be in reading bliss – but nothing! So, I decided to pitch the idea back to Charles, and now we are doing this together!!!! I’m so pumped. Stand by for this!

I also started, and (wait for it) never got around to it, an alphabet challenge. I may be a year late, but I have a few drafts sitting around with this. Stand by for an alphabet of all of my favourite things.

The best thing – I have a job! YES! I am going to be a postdoctoral research fellow at a hospital in Memphis, TN. I will be joining a wonderful research team doing some very important work. I will tell you more about this as I settle in. I really hope Kristi can find a job because I don’t want to be without her for too long (although I am prepared for this … unfortunate circumstance.)

 

So many great things in the wood-work and I can’t wait to share them with you!

A Trip Across Nebraska

Have you ever just jumped in a car with absolutely no cares in the world; letting the driver take you wherever, and all the while, you know that you will be safe, see many new places, … and pee on all the things? Me either. But, I never leave home on a road trip without my pups! And they just told me, they experience the above all the time! Could you imagine? (Ok, fine ….) Would you imagine? Imagine that freedom and that happiness … and all of that wind rushing through your hair.

If you are doing it right, you will find that you look just like my Daisy.
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[Dogs are seriously wonderful people.]

 

BUT – I am getting WAAAYYY ahead of myself. I didn’t start out this vacation on the road! I started it SICK! Like deathly ill. Well, not really. But, I was treated like death …. remember? Well, just in case you don’t remember ….

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[Me, as death.]

It started out with Reychl, my littlest sister, coming to visit me! … and I kind of, maybe, a little bit at least, forgot to tell her I was sick …. until she was on her way from Detroit (to Nebraska). Seeing as that is a 12 hour drive, without stops, she was mostly committed at that point. So for the first few days, we just sat on the couch, watching movies and having some quality time.

Then, I felt guilty.

Naturally, I did what any person would do. I took her to the National Roller Skating Museum a few blocks from my house.

Rollerskating

 

This place had some pretty interesting things inside … like roller skates for animals, movie memorabilia, and so many different kinds of roller skates. Like these:

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[
Cockatoo with skates]                                                         [Drew Barrymore’s skates from Whip It]                         [Skates for short people … haha, just kidding. Crazy people.]

That was all I could take that day. Too much fresh air for my flu. So, we went back home, probably watched more movies.

Then guilt settled back in the next day. So, right around closing time, I took Reychl to see the Governor’s Mansion. We pretended it was my house. Because, well …. why not? It was gorgeous, very historical, the tour guides were very nice, the first lady and the first puppy (Snickers – seriously, he has his own part of the Governor’s webpage) even came out to say hi!
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[As a graduate student, I make a lot of money … what can I say?]

The guides here told us that we should hurry up and go to the last tour at the Capitol building. So, we crossed the street as fast as my flu would let me, and we crashed the Nebraska Farmer’s Bureau’s tour. We just kind of weaseled our way into their group like the flu in my lungs. It is such a beautiful building! Nebraska’s capitol building is one of three art deco style capitol buildings in the USA. How neat is that? What that means is … you are basically walking in an art museum. The tour guides at the Capitol were AMAZING! GLORIA WE LOVE YOU!

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[Don’t those ceilings just make you want to cry?]      [GLORIA!!!]                             [Lincoln, NE]

Did you get my reference there?? I will give you a hint ….

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[SUCH a good movie – makes you laugh and cry and laugh and smile and then you are happy. Watch it.]

Unfortunately, we didn’t watch this movie while Reychl was in town. But we should have. Because it is awesome.

I still felt guilty for being sick. I mean, wouldn’t you? Your sister drives across the country to come and see you, and you are dying on the couch? I needed to make this up to her! So, in my delirium, I thought:

“What would make this better? A ROAD TRIP ACROSS NEBRASKA!!”

Remember when I said I was a genius when I am sick? Well, I lied. I mean, who orchestrates a huge road trip, in the opposite direction of Michigan, the weekend before their sister has to leave to go back to Michigan? To be clear, we left on Saturday and came back on Sunday, and Reychl’s original departure day was Monday. Can you imagine just how excited she must have been, after driving 24 hours in the past 36 hours, just to drive 12 more? Good thing we brought the pups! When we got tired, they took the wheel. Don’t worry, they’re old enough.

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[Wrolea loves to drive. She is so serious!]

We stopped at a lot of places, and I’m probably going to get the order all wrong. I blame the delirium. So, here are some of the places we stopped, in no particular order, although, I will try to order them because of my O.C.D.

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[The Great Platte River Archway]

At the archway, we learned all about the emigration out West. What was really  neat about this place, was all the history you learn in here is reinforced along your drive (if you do road trips like we do – and stop at everything along the way.)

We learned about the original pony express station, and how there were just a few riders, and how they helped to deliver news to California about the Civil War! THEN BOOM! We drove to the pony express station!

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[Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, NE!]

We were in the habit of stopping at this point, so we decided to see what Boot Hill was all about. It turns out, it was a cemetery, and everyone was buried with their boots on. (Hence the clever name: Boot Hill.)

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[Boot Hill.]

THEN WE ARRIVED AT THE BEST PLACE IN ALLLLLL OF NEBRASKA!!! Seriously, I have been looking forward to going here since BEFORE I accepted admissions at University of Nebraska-Lincoln!

 CARHENGE

Seriously, I was GEEKED! What is Carhenge, you ask? Simple. You’ve heard of Stonehenge right? (Please say yes.) Just in case you haven’t, or need a quick reminder (for comparison purposes in just a few short seconds), this is Stonehenge.

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[Source]

Nebraska doesn’t have Stone-henge; but, we do have Car-henge. (I hope you are picking up what I am putting down.)

Be prepared to be amazed.

Are you prepared?

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[Kind of from the same direction as the above shot of Stonehenge.]

Wait, there’s more.

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[There is graffiti all over the cars/trucks – but some of it was pretty neat.]

We then decided to go to some of the rock formations that are nearby (sort of) Carhenge.

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[This is Chimney Rock, and it basically told all the emigrants they were about a third of the way. No big deal. We are SO BAD at squishing things in the background.]

We couldn’t get close to Chimney rock, because it is fenced in. Most likely due to fear of human-escalated erosion.

BUT, we could get close to Jail and Courthouse Rocks! They were also a little drive from here, but totally worth it.

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[*No dogs were harmed when taking this trip.]

 

I forgot to mention the creepy dolls in the Governor’s Mansion. Some of the first ladies leave extra fabric from their inaugural gowns, and some of their hair, for these dolls to be made. Naturally, I took a picture of all of them.

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[As creepster as this is, it is neat to see how history shapes the dresses. Not all of the gowns are shown, because not every Governor had a ball – you know, Great Depression and all. P.S. The first gentleman is also shown here.]

 

All-in-all, it was a great vacation. Even if I was sick.

I will leave you with a picture of carhenge – the graffiti said it the best.

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In-flu-ential In-flu-enza

I have been absent (yet again) due to some prime time influenza. I have no idea how I got it. …well, I kind of do. You see, the flu is a respiratory illness. This means, if someone coughs, sneezes, breathes, spits, talks, etc on or near you (within 6 feet!) you will get the virus. Again, this is because their “germs” (or better yet, their germ droplets) are either breathed in or inhaled by you. Super. Contagious.

I like to think back and try to determine when on earth I was infected. Doesn’t everybody? You will get symptoms 1-4 days after being exposed to the virus. I started coughing on Wednesday, March 19 (that was my only noticeable symptom). This means that I came in contact with some sick person (who may or may not have known they were contagious) Saturday/Sunday through Wednesday. I have no idea who you are, but Thank you!!!

Didn’t see that coming, did you?

First, I want to apologize to everyone I infected. You see, with the flu, you are contagious 1 day before you even notice you have symptoms through 5-7 days after you get sick. I must say that I was at work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, … and Friday. Although I apologized for this one already, I wanted to say I’m sorry again to my dearest wife. I can’t control covering my coughs at night …. and those pesky germ droplets must have flew up, got dispersed by the ceiling fan, and were inhaled by her. Because just a few days later, she got the flu. Dang!

I went to the doctor’s office on Monday (still contagious, mind you), and I had to wear a mask. I can thank my wonderful sister for capturing photos of me while I was sick.

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[Me. This was posted on Facebook because my sister “loves me.”]

I was given antibiotics, and 2 inhalers, and basically told to rest. So, I tried. But it’s hard, and I felt rather guilty resting, especially because my sister Reychl drove 12 hours from Michigan to Nebraska to visit me!!

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[Proof that I was resting! And more proof that my sister can be so cruel with her Facebook posts!]


Now, back to that previous “thank you”!

Sometimes something as awful as in-flu-enza can be in-flu-ential (you see what I did there?) Sure, I had a fever that never wanted to leave me, and body aches that shook my bones to their core, but my sickness was inspiring! I was wearing myself thin with all of my research and the stress that comes along with a Ph.D. programme, and this flu told me, in it’s own germ droplet kind of way, REST! Take some time out for you!

And that is exactly what I (tried) to do. I stayed home the entire next week (mostly because my sister was in town – that is a post for another time!) I have a cough now and a sore throat, but that is it. The only person I got sick (to my knowledge) was Kristi. Talk about success!

Plus, now I feel rested (in a weird tired and worn out kind of way).

 

 

P.S. Want to know more about influenza virus infections, vaccines, etc? Go on over to the CDC website!
P.P.S. I’m allergic to the flu vaccine, so I can’t get it.
P.P.P.S. This is the first time I ever got the flu. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

The love of my life, my wife: an unlikely pairing

I am brash, book smart, naive, kind, generally happy-go-lucky, no-touchy kind of person who is passionate about animals, human rights, art, and science (just to name a few characteristics of me).

My wife, the beautiful Kristi, is, for the most part, my opposite. She is affectionate, a fire-starter, street smart, and an honest person who shares most of my passions, except the in-depth love of science.

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She loves aviation, I love science.
She loves basset hounds, I love Rottweilers.
She loves looking nice without a hair out of place, I love sweatshirts and crazy hair.
She loves the beach, I love not the beach.
She loves going out and having date nights, I love staying home and having date nights.
She feels love with physical touch and acts of service, I feel love with quality time and words of affirmation. **
She loves coffee, I love tea.
She loves cuddling, I love space.
She loves movies, I love reading.
She loves noise, I love quiet.
** These are part of The 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman. You can take buy the book on Amazon here, or take the free quiz to find out how you need love here.

You get the gist. … but Paula Abdul got it right! Opposites DO attract! If you actually watch this video, Kristi is Skat Cat and I’m Paula Abdul. Kind of. Well, for this analogy, we can be these people.

Now, on to the gushy stuff.

We met in Jacksonville, FL … actually, we met on MySpace while we both lived in Jacksonville, FL. We were just looking for friends, and she messaged me about my dog (instant bonus points, if you ask me). We started talking …. and it was impossible not to be caught up in this girl. I didn’t want to work that day, but I did anyway … just to rush back to my desk so we could keep talking. It was a Friday in January (perhaps the 12th) of 2007. After a long day of messaging each other, I told her I didn’t have the internet at my house, so we couldn’t talk over the weekend. She panicked, and asked me out on a date. The best mistake she could ever make, if you ask me. Once she realized I was directionally challenged, and despite living in the same neighborhood for a few years, that I had no idea where anything was, she offered to pick me up at my apartment. But only after I confirmed I wasn’t a 40 year old man. So, she showed up, and my heart was racing. I grabbed my groucho glasses, and met her outside. I LIED! I WAS a 40 year old man (hahahahha!, get it? … did I mention I have a very corny sense of humour?) She took me out to dinner anyway …. and this should have been the beginning of the end. If I could have been given a grade for this entire date, it would have been a F. Kristi took me to a nice restaurant, I didn’t order anything. Well, I had a water (because it was free). You see, I didn’t have any money to buy food, and I hadn’t been on a date in quite some time, and I forgot all the rules. So, instead, I watched her eat, and I talked. I talked, and talked, and talked. For-ev-er. You see, I have this thing where I talk when I am nervous, and nervous I was! She took me home, and I called my sisters telling them I had the best time but I think I bombed the entire thing. Next thing I know, Kristi brought me some food for dinner one night while I was working at the movie theatre. It was timed perfectly, because I couldn’t shut up to all of my theatre friends about the date and how amazing she was. Then, out of nowhere, here she is bringing me food! She didn’t know what I liked, so she brought me the meal she ate on our first date. I managed to woo her and we became official on February 4, 2007. She moved half way across the country to be with me in December 2009. We got married on May 23-25, 2013 (yes, it was a 3-day festival of love).

Oh! I failed to mention that it was quite strange that we had to meet online. She lived like 1 mile away from me, and we did all of our shopping at the same stores. I wonder how we never saw each other!

She really is my everything.

She is my wife.

We are perfect together, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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