Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let it Snow

*Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!*

My dad, his mom, and his siblings on Thanksgiving

The same spot in the backyard, one month later on Christmas!

Apparently, this snowstorm was kind of a big deal. The Omaha World-Herald stated, "The Christmas blizzard that left all that snow will be studied by meteorologists for years because of its unusual aspects."

For example:

*Instead of one storm center, there were multiple waves moving around each other in the middle of the main storm system.

*Blizzard conditions stretched from Oklahoma to the Dakotas.

*Snow and wind lasted at least 48 hours. Typically a winter storm blows in, then out.

*A tightly wound storm center produced intense winds, brought in a lot of moisture and played havoc with temperatures.

*Finally, this storm system was so strong and so large, it pulled moisture in from the Atlantic, which is extremely rare.

Christmas Blizzard

I love the dazzling white of a good snow. It can even make the naked trees look a richer shade of brown. Ross and I left Kansas City in the gray rain on Christmas Eve and arrived in Omaha with the whirling snow and wind. Ross greatly enjoyed employing the 4x4 drive in his truck, that's for sure!

Christmas Day, we were very lucky in that we really didn't have any place to go, so we enjoyed being snowed in!

Standing in a snowdrift up to my hips!

My brothers' annual igloo

Snowfall on the previously clear street

White Christmas 2009

We had Christmas as my Grandma and Grandpa Schekirke's house on the 26th and got to see (almost) the whole family.

My cousins Jimmy and Tommy love Ross!

On Dec. 27, Ross and I drove back to Kansas City (this was Christmas Travel Plan D, I believe) and we're still adjusting to the snow, cold, and dry air! I guess Mother Nature heard me complaining about how I didn't see any snow last year. Boy, have I seen some this winter! (Now, before you go blaming me for living in Texas, let me say that it ALSO snowed in Fort Worth and Amarillo this Christmas. So there.) If only we had been snowed in at the farm, I bet it's beautiful there!

In closing, I hope you had a blessed and warm Christmas season, filled with joy. Sweet baby Avery (daughter to our awesome Texas friends Brittnye and Evan Hartfield) certainly did!

*I hope you never lose your sense of wonder* -LeAnn Rimes

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love is Raining Down on the World Tonight

My last few posts were blatantly materialistic, a sad reflection of Christmas these days. However, we all know there's a deeper meaning to Christmas and despite any presents we may receive, we're so blessed to have warm homes, warm memories, and warm food to share this week.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is called "God is With Us," and I didn't hear it until last year. I don't know who sang it first, but I love my Casting Crowns version. You should download it if you've never heard it!

The skies don't seem to be as dark as usual
The stars seem brighter than they've been before
And deep within I feel my soul is stirring
As though my hope has been restored

The shepherds say they've heard the voice of angels
Confirming rumors spread across the land
That a child protected well from Herod's anger
Is our Father's Son and the Son of Man

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

He's the savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts, He will dwell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

I feel compelled to tell all who will listen
That peace on Earth is not so out of reach
If we can find grace and mercy and forgiveness
He has come to say He is all of these

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

He's the savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts, He will dwell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

Christmas celebration in Texas with the Dansby family

Saturday, December 19, 2009


First off, let me say that I never watch late-night television and I am by no means endorsing any sort of Letterman-esque scandal. However, I happened to catch this on TV the other night in Amarillo and I thought it was pretty darn funny!

This toy cupcake was priced at $25,000 in this winter's Niemann Marcus catalogue-- more than 5x what my Honda is worth! Ahh, 24 volts of electric cupcake goodness. Powered with clean, green energy nonetheless. Man, did I make an uninformed Christmas gift list this year!

(Disclaimer: I'm actually very excited about the books I have on my Christmas list and the awesome gifts I've already received from Ross' sister and parents, but if I had a spare $25,000...)

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week to Christmas

*It is, indeed, the season of regenerated feeling-- the season for kindling, not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial flame of charity in the heart.*
-Washington Irving

What could be more creative and quaint than giving the "12 Days of Christmas" to your true love? People out there have actually been calculating this cost (the "Christmas Price Index") for 28 years! Click here to see the breakdown.

Some more Christmas numbers:

*32 MPH: The top speed of a reindeer

*778 hours: The amount of time it would take a reindeer to fly around the world at that pace

*-128.6 F: The lowest official temperature recorded on earth in Vostok, Antarctica, in 1983. Baby, THAT'S cold outside!

*30-35 million: The number of live Christmas trees sold each year in the United States

*15 years: The average amount of time Christmas trees usually grow before they're sold

*16: The number of extra postmen hired in 1822 Washington, DC, to handle the extra Christmas mail

*1895: The first year electric lights were used on Christmas trees

*5,340: The average number of Visa cards used every minute during the Christmas buying season

*70%: The percentage of annual revenue many retailers make in the month preceding Christmas

*5 million tons: the amount of trash produced by Americans between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I was reading an article on memory in Real Simple magazine and I came upon this excerpt: Contemporary existence demands so much splitting of attention―between phone calls, e-mails, text messages, [Facebook], and the constant allure of online shopping, not to mention TV and DVDs―that only the most strong-willed go through life in an undistracted fashion. The problem in turn with being so distracted is that we inhabit daily experience in an absentminded mode and, as a result, have more difficulty forming strong memories, as though the passing moment didn’t leave enough of a trace.

Anyone else feel like this is talking about them?! I am SO absentminded, and I'm always anxious when something good happens because I'm trying to plant it in my memory before it leaves and my mundane day-to-day life returns. I can't blame my scatterbriain, anxiety, and poor memory all on night shift, although it does exacerbate things. I find myself making lists and notes on scraps of paper at work and then I bring them home and they disappear. Partly due to me forgetting where I put things, but also thanks to Ross' compulsion to put things in neat piles where I never find them again. (Or even worse, the trash can).

We're headed to Amarillo this morning (Monday) when I get off work. I get out of the NICU at 7:30am but then I have to go to the super fun (NOT) annual Competency Fair and who knows how long that will take! I may be grumpy, hungry, and tired when I get home and I am going to try to sleep in the car instead of my comfy bed. Ross will have to drive 9 hours with a grumpy wife. Pray for both of us and our sanity!

The good news is, we get to celebrate Christmas in Texas for 5 days. Hopefully that gets us out of the funk we're in! (Ross keeps insisting he's not mad at me, but I know better. I don't do the dishes when I'm working more than one night shift in a row.)

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm watching the first 5 Harry Potter movies (still need to buy Half Blood Prince), for what seems like the hundredth time, in the wee hours* of the morning because I worked last night and now I can't sleep. Also, words like "tonight", "last night", and "tomorrow" have started to confuse me. I go to work on a Wednesday evening, come home, take a nap, and suddenly "tomorrow" is Friday! How much more eloquently** a professional writer can say such things:
by Emily Dickinson
Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!
*Technically, 2am isn't a "wee hour" to me any more. That's more like 4-5am. Plenty of "normal" people (including all college students) are still awake at 2am.
**Don't you love how the word "eloquent" sounds exactly like what it means?!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

hy⋅po⋅chon⋅dri⋅a (noun)

1. Also, hy⋅po⋅chon⋅dri⋅a⋅sis  /ˌhaɪpoʊkənˈdraɪəsɪs/ Psychiatry. an excessive preoccupation with one's health, usually focusing on some particular symptom.
2. excessive worry or talk about one's health.
According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, sleeping less than 7 hours triples your risk of catching a cold compared with somebody who gets eight or more hours, likely due to decreased immune activity. I'm obsessed with washing my hands and taking vitamin C, so I haven't gotten a cold yet, but I'll keep you posted ;-) And I'd better not get the flu with all the shots I've had!
Furthermore,the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism states that two weeks of sleeping less than six hours a night can increase insulin resistance and reduce glucose tolerance. Coupled with "treats" that everyone brings to work, this is probably leading to my sugar hangovers and extreme laziness on my days off.
(Just FYI, in case you'd like some reasoning as to why I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.)

Black Hole

Ah, night shift, my old nemesis. I've been working 7pm-7:30am three or four days a week for five weeks now and all the symptoms of night-shift-sickness have come flooding back to me. I had blocked this particular affliction from my memory, but now it's come back in all its vivid glory. Symptoms include:
-feeling great at work, when around other people on the same schedule, but feeling "off" anywhere else
-body aches, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion
-extreme clumsiness with bruises to prove it
-the inability to complete a train of thought or express yourself
-feeling an overwhelming need to make lists because thoughts don't stay in your head for more than a second (two seconds, if you're lucky)
-mental confusion and losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence
-forgetting basic things, such as your address
-forgetting everyday things such as the day of week, accomplishing a daily task, or forgetting what you were about to type...
-forgetting basic grammar, syntax, and vocabulary
-the inability to carry on a normal conversation
-apologizing to anyone and everyone for your problems and your inability to adjust to a normal schedule on your days off
-did I mention body aches, dizziness, nausea, and exhaustion?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We are pleased to inform you...

Ross finally heard back from the University of Kansas and he's in! He will officially start the MA in Design Management/Interaction Design program this January. He called the admissions office Monday morning (as usual) and the guy in charge said the design department was having their meeting at noon and Ross should hear by 1:30. Of course, he had no e-mails at 1:30 and he sat anxiously in front of his computer all day refreshing his e-mail.

At 5pm he had something in his inbox from Admissions and we opened it together. As soon as he read, "we are pleased to inform you," he slumped over and breathed a huge sigh of relief! It's been a long wait considering we were supposed to find out by the end of October. I can't imagine the stress he's been under and the mind games he's been playing with himself. As for me, I had given up on the department altogether and resigned myself to the belief that they weren't going to meet in time and NO ONE would be starting the program this spring. I'm so glad I was wrong!

In other news, we just got back from a long, relaxing Thanksgiving vacation in Omaha. It was so great to see my family. I hadn't seen a lot of them in over a year!