Tuesday, March 13, 2012

what a weird morning

Sarah is visiting her mom and sister in California this week while she's on Spring Break. I'm still stuck in school until next week, so I'm home holding down the fort. Sarah and I have some set routines that we always follow in the mornings, and Sarah's absence is really confusing Barney.

I woke up this morning and did the normal routine (turned off the alarm and let Barney outside to use the bathroom, etc.). When Barney and I came back into the room so I could put my contacts in, he burst though the door ahead of me (like usual) so he could go and say good morning to Sarah.

When she wasn't standing near the bed like she usually is, he looked in the bathroom. She weren't there. Hmm... He popped up on two legs to look for her on her side of the bed. He looked suspiciously at her stuffed dog and pillow, as if to say, "What you have done with the woman?". He looked at me, confused. An idea spread across his face. He went over to my side of the bed and popped up on two legs to look for her on my side of the bed. The stuffed dog and the pillow still weren't giving him any answers.

He wasn't pleased.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

lots of updates

I've had quite a bit going on since I last wrote. We made an unexpected trip to Michigan because of an unexpected death in the family. It was nice to be home for a few days, but it was a very sad occasion.

We also found out that the baby is a boy. It's been nice to stop referring to him as "it." It's also nice to be able to start planning for when he comes. We've actually already gotten quite a bit for him. Rebekah won us an awesome stroller in an online giveaway. My advisor had a son about 2 years ago, and she gave us approximately 2 years worth of baby clothes and some gear (another stroller, a bouncy seat, a slide, a scooter, and a boppy--whatever that means). Now I just need to go and buy a basketball hoop, and I'll be all set.

I also got some really good news at school. I got an article accepted for publication in a really good journal. In the paper, I showed that you can change people's attitudes and behavior toward animals if you get them to think about the human-like qualities that many animals have. So, if you get people to think about how dogs are their friends, they're more willing to adopt dogs from animal shelters. And, more generally, they're less willing to do things like eat animals and use products made from animals' bodies. I also used fancy statistics to show that the change in attitudes fully explains (in a statistical sense) the change in planned behavior (i.e., adoption). This last part is what made the paper interesting to the reviewers because no one has ever shown this before. Publications are the name of the game for my career, so it's nice to actually get one. Now I just need 10 more. This year.

I also found out that I got a accepted to a special program to go to a conference in South Africa after the baby is born. The program is sponsored by the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation, so it's a real honor to have been accepted. I applied before I knew Sarah was pregnant, and I was hesitant to go after I found out that I go in. But Sarah insisted. The good news is that the APA and NSF are giving me about $2000 to cover expenses. The bad news is that this will only cover about half of my expenses (plane tickets alone are more than $2000--it's really far away). The better news is that I convinced the university to match the APA grant, so everything will be completely paid for. I wrote an email to the dean pleading for money, and he actually gave it to me. This is very unusual.

I emphasized that it would be a great marketing opportunity to promote my school to an international audience. Which is true. I'll be presenting my research on disease prevention and environmental conservation at the conference, which had 10,000 attendees the last time it was held (only a small fraction of these people will hear my talk--that's how conferences work; there are lots of small presentations going on simultaneously at any given time, and you choose the one that most interests you).

Anyway, I'm feeling especially blessed right now. Thanks be to God and to everyone who has been praying for me over the years!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

new things

Sarah and I are still working on getting our new website/blog ready for the world. If you want to take a look at it while it's still under development, the address is www.readysetbutterfield.com

I think it will ready to go in the next few weeks or so. Sarah keeps procrastinating. She's going to deny it, but don't believe her. She's reading over my shoulder right now, so I think I... Now I'm in trouble. I think sharing a blog may present some unexpected challenges.

This week I'm going to be heading to San Diego for a conference. I got a small grant from school to help defray most of the costs, so it's nice to be able to go without too much guilt about spending all of Sarah's hard earned money. I'm presenting some research, but I'm mostly going so that I can stay current and hear what everyone else in the field is doing. This particular conference is held once a year, and many, many social psychologists from all over the world attend, present research, and listen to talks given by other researchers. In other words, it's a nerd convention.

Monday, January 09, 2012

all good things must come to and end

Sarah and I are working on a new project. And I don't just mean the one where she's incubating a human life in her uterus. I started this blog 6.5 years ago as a way to keep in touch with family when we moved from Michigan to California. In that time, there have been a lot of technological innovations that have made communication a lot easier. Namely, everyone has Facebook now. I've gone from writing almost every day on two blogs, to writing a few times a week on this blog, to writing once a week, to writing once every few weeks.

You all still know what I'm doing most of the time (read: I'm working or watching TV), but I haven't been updating like I could. Meanwhile, Sarah's been faithfully keeping up her Untenured blog for years now as well, but we're both slowing down. We just don't have enough things to write about every day in our mundane live. I'm guessing that might change when the baby comes. Unfortunately, we won't have enough time to blog about all that exciting stuff. See what happened there?

So now that the baby's coming, we want to reorganize and re-focus. We're going to start a new blog that we both contribute to a few times a week. Ultimately, you'll end up with more posts in a central location. Win-win. As things stand right now, the new blog will have some regular features from each of us where we write about our favorite topics (e.g., cooking, everyday encounters, funny things in the news, etc.), and then there'll be there normal day-to-day stuff with the added bonus of new family stuff. We'll also link up a Flickr account for photos and a YouTube account for videos.

In truth, I've been planning all this stuff for a while, but I just couldn't mention anything until the news about the pregnancy was public. I also didn't mention the idea to Sarah until just last week.

Our family isn't going to be just Max and Sarah anymore, so maxandsarah.blogspot.com is getting some updates too. More to come soon...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

work in progress

I know I haven't written in quite a while. I haven't been super busy. I'm just on vacation!