Monday, April 25, 2011

I broke the news

Today, I told my students that I am leaving in two weeks.  I got a little choked up when I told my first class.  (Which is amazing because I rarely get choked up, even when I am truly sad--tears, for some reason, just don't really come out of my eyes very often.)

The students' reactions throughout the day:

-One kid clapped.  (He was kidding.  He is one of my favorite students and likes to give me a hard time.)
-One kid cried.  (She was not kidding.  It was really sweet and kind of embarassing.)
-One kid asked, "Are you leaving behind the gumball machine?"  (I knew they would be very concerned about that.)
-One kid asked, "But who will grade our Scarlet Letter essays?"  (Are you surprised to learn that this was an honors student?)
-Lots of kids frowned.
-Lots of kids stared at me blankly and didn't react.

I love teenagers.  I am going to miss this job.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

It's Easter, which makes me happy.  Ryan had a visit from the Easter bunny this morning.  He got some chocolate protein powder tied with a pink bow.  He also got three hand-painted Russian wooden eggs, which were hidden in various tricky places around the apartment.  He searched and searched until finally we had to play "hot and cold" in order for him to find them.  His Easter bunny is really clever.

Then we went to church.  I wore a yellow shirt, and he wore a yellow tie.  We go to church every Sunday, but this is an especially important one, as it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It was a lovely meeting with lots of beautiful musical numbers.

When we got home from church, we snuggled into bed, ate homemade chicken noodle soup, and watched this sermon about Christ which was given by one of the leaders of our church a few years ago.  It is 18 minutes long, but it is so worth it.  It is one of the best sermons about Christ I have ever heard.  I highly recommend that you watch it.  Go ahead--click on the link.  I promise you won't be sorry, no matter what your religious beliefs are.  It's a message of hope.

Happy Easter, Friends!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I Hate Games

I do not like board games.  First of all, they are boring.  Second (and this is the biggie), why would I want to spend hours thinking intensely and strategizing and stressing over a game?  I spend enough of my time thinking, strategizing, and stressing over my job and my life--I do not want to do any more of that "for fun."  No thank you.  Real life is hard enough.  When I relax with friends, I want to do something mindless.  (Like chat for hours and eat dessert--which is what I did with some girlfriends last night.  So fun!)

I realized the other night that I have similar feelings about sports.  I went to watch one of Ryan's indoor soccer games, and the entire time, I was filled with angst.  Will he do well?  Will his team win?  If they don't win, will he be disappointed in himself?  I honestly had the biggest pit in my stomach and had to do some deep breathing during their over-time penalty kicks.

All this for fun??  Insanity!!!  If my kids play high school sports, I might need to use a tranquilizer before each game.

Unfortunately for me, with Ryan as his dad, I'm guessing that our son will play sports.  Ry loves any and all sports, and people tell me that he is good at all of them.  In fact, Ryan's 10 Year Prediction published in the dental school yearbook says: "Abandons dentistry for several pro sports contracts.  Reverts back to his bowl cut."

Bowl cut?  I don't know what they're talking about.

Well, the other night, Dr. Bowl Cut botched his penalty kick.  It went straight to the goalie.  The pro sports scouts in attendance are probably reconsidering their offers.

Fortunately, his teammates came through, and they won their game and will be heading to the championship match on Tuesday night.  Oh yeah.  If it weren't the night of my baby shower, I would feel obligated to take a tranquilizer and go to cheer for them.  But as it is, I will be chatting with girlfriends and eating delicious desserts instead.  I can't wait.

I snapped this photo of Ry with his all-star team.  He is mad because he didn't realize that the guys didn't put their arms around each other, so he looks like a creeper with his arm around the girl.  Ha!  I love it.  I bet she enjoyed a moment with my sweaty husband.  He is hot stuff.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Come To My Baby Shower (if you want to)

My friends here in Buffalo are throwing me a baby shower.  Now I know that the baby won't be coming for 113 more days (but who's counting?)--however, Ry and I will be moving away from this wonderful place in a month, so my friends insisted that we celebrate now.  I have the best friends ever.

If you would like to come, please do!  Everyone is invited.

Leave a comment if you need more details.  We didn't want to put too much on the worldwide web.

Because I've devoted the last five years of my life to teaching, my friends chose a "school" theme for the shower.  I think I will wear one of my sweaters.  I challenge everyone else to come in their best teacher attire.  (I am not kidding.  Is that allowed, Tiffany?)

Speaking of teachers, my friends at work are throwing me a little shower/going away party too.  I am getting so sad to leave them.  I still haven't told my students that I will be leaving early, but I plan to break the news on Monday.  I think their pain will be assuaged when I tell them that I am leaving behind the gumball machine.

One chapter of my life is ending and another is beginning.  It's exciting--but also a little sad and a little scary.  I hope I enjoy being "Mom" as much as I've enjoyed being "Mrs. Nielson."  (I know I will!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The other day, a group of my 10th grade students was discussing the fact that our principal goes by "Dr. K."

This is how the conversation went:

Kid: "Why does she go by Dr. K?  She's not a doctor."
Me: "Yes she is!  She has a doctorate degree in something important like education."
Kid: "That does not count.  She is not a doctor."
Me: "She went to school for about a bazillion years; she definitely deserves to be called Dr after all that work."
Kid: "No, a person should only be called 'Dr' if he or she can save a life."
Me: "Well, what about Ryan?  In about a month, he will be called 'Dr.'  He can't save a life--but he can save a tooth."
Kid (after a moment of thoughtful silence): "Ryan could save a life."
Me (laughing): "Uh, I don't know if he could."
Kid: "He totally could Mrs. Nielson.  Ryan is legit."

I have to agree with the kid.  Ryan is legit.  He found out yesterday that he passed his Boards (thanks to his awesome patient, I'm sure), and now he just has a few more procedures to finish up before graduation.

He is almost done--and I am so proud of him.  When I think about all that he has learned and accomplished and endured, it almost makes me teary eyed.

I love my Dr. Nielson.  He is legit in every way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

When Ryan and I were dating, he gave me a gigantic gumball machine for Christmas.

At the time, I had quite the gumball fetish.  Whenever we went to the grocery store, I demanded a quarter.  Whenever we were in the mall, I went berserk when I saw the "Gumball Gourmet" (so many options!).  I even had a t-shirt that featured a gumball machine filled with smiling gumballs.

Since becoming a student of dentistry, Ryan has regretted his Christmas gift from yesteryear.  Though the gumball machine is not actually in our home (it is in my classroom at school), I do chomp on a few gumballs every week, and for the past few years, Dr. Nielson has not been so happy about that.

But this past Saturday, his Christmas gift from 2004 really paid off for him: through all of my gumball chewing, I developed two cavities that just so happened to be exactly the types of procedures that he needed to perform on his regional Board licensing exam.

Usually, dental students have to search high and low to find patients for their licensing exam.  First they screen lots of patients, trying to find the right type of cavity on the easiest tooth possible.  Then they have to decide if the patient is actually dependable: Will he or she show up on the day of the exam?  If the patient doesn't show, then the student fails the test (and the test is several thousand dollars).  Many students actually pay off their patients: "If you show up for this exam, I will give you $100."  Not kidding.

So I think Ryan really lucked out to have me for not one, but two procedures.  Like I said, the gumball machine really paid off in the end--

For him.

When I agreed to be his patient, I really didn't know what I was getting into.  I thought we would go in around 8:00 a.m., and I would be done by about noon.  I thought I would lay there peacefully in the chair while he drilled a few holes and filled them right up.  Quick and easy, right?


Has anyone ever had a "rubber dam" put in their mouth at the dentist?  I had never seen such a contraption before Saturday.  I guess they are standard procedure at the dental school, but I've never had any of my other dentists use one.  Let's just say that when Ryan jabbed that thing between my teeth and up into my gums, then latched it onto my face so that my lips were smushed, my mouth was forced open, and I couldn't breath, I was not such a happy wife.

Five hours later, with my mouth still propped open, by head pounding, my gums bleeding, my back aching, and my anesthetic completely worn off, I told Ryan that he better start moving faster or he was going to be one dead dentist.  I think it came out more like this:

"Ewww bettaa ooove aaser, Yan.  I ant aake is a-y onger."

He got the point.

My husband is a perfectionist, and he wanted the holes to be just perfect, and he wanted the fillings to be just beautiful, and he was so nervous and trying so very hard to do his best.  At first I thought it was kinda cute.

But after six hours of wearing this thing, I didn't think Ryan was cute anymore.  In fact, it's possible that I wanted to bite his hand off.  Luckily for him, I couldn't close my mouth:

One thing is for sure: I won't be chewing gumballs ever again.