Thursday, January 26, 2012

The five-year paper

I am getting published. In a bona-fide journal.

You are allowed to think for a moment that this is glamorous.


Now you will remember the title of this post. And you think, surely no one takes 5 years to publish a paper (dissertations don't count).

I did.

Five and a half years ago I went to Argentina with BYU's nursing program.

While I was there I interviewed women at the maternity hospital about their eating habits during pregnancy and their views on nutrition. Easy enough. I figured I'd have my research published within a year.

Then I hit a few snags.

Problem #1: Camber's husband

I got engaged within a few months of returning to America. Then I got married.

No further explanation required.

Problem #2: Camber's Spanish skills

My Spanish comprehension, while perfect when listening to other gringos speak Spanish, is paltry when speaking to native Argentine women from the countryside with several missing teeth. (Yes, they lose their teeth young down there). When I sat down to translate the tapes later on, I realized I had no idea what the heck any of them were saying.

Just a glitch.

So I hired a native speaker to translate them for me, and let me tell you, that was the best-spent $80 of my life.

With my tapes effectively translated, I figured it was smooth sailing from then on.

Except for Problem #3: Camber's attention span

I'm pretty sure I wrote this paper in 5-10 minute spurts. I usually sat down dutifully at the computer and then remembered a pressing duty somewhere else. Like the dishes. And the books on the shelves that really needed to be alphabetized. And why not get around to organizing the cosmetics while I was at it?

No deadlines. No pressure. No bueno.

And then, Problem #4: Camber's publisher

Turns out, publishing takes forever. This is how it goes:

Step 1) Turn in your paper. Wait 4-6 months. Forget you ever wrote it. Hear back, "We'll publish this...maybe."

Step 2) Make the proposed changes. Wait 4-6 months. Forget you ever wrote it. Hear back, "We'll publish this...maybe." Make another set of changes for problems they apparently didn't notice the first time.

Repeat two more times. 

And at last, this link to the journal article.

Glamorous? Not exactly. But we all benefitted from fewer dishes.

Through all this, my greatest asset was Erin Maughan, my mentor. Without her this never would have happened. No, really, without her, this never would have happened. After a few months of stalling I'd get a gentle email, "Camber, I really think this paper is worth publishing. What can I do to help you?"

Thanks Erin.

And just for fun, 2 more pictures from Argentina. Because it was really, really fun there.

Doing what nurses do. Poking small children. 

Hang-gliding. What was I thinking?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Big Kahuna

Once as a teenager my mom and I noticed the car odometer was approaching a milestone--something like 80,000. Not the big kahuna, but still pretty exciting. We decided we wanted to watch it turn. So we drove veeeerrrry slowly around the neighborhood. And then again. And again. And it turned and we were thrilled.

Ever since then, however, a small part of me has still longed for something bigger. And better.

100,000 miles.

As exciting as watching 5 digits change all at once proved to be, watching 6 could only be that much more thrilling. And a little unspoken dream was born.

Years later, our car reached 99,982 miles. Let me tell you, few things are more thrilling than standing on the threshold of a major event like this. Would witnessing a great event like this change me? Would it make me forget the little people? Would the glory go to my head?

With only one way to find out, we went on the great odometer date, and drove down random country roads at slow speeds until the odometer turned.

Here's the proof.

Did witnessing this event change me? Absolutely it did.

Did it make me forget the little people? Never.

Did the glory go to my head? Welllll...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our Christmas/New Years Letter

(While many of you received this letter via email, there are some amazing people out there whose emails...I do not have. Anymore. So I am putting this out there for general viewing and reading pleasure.)

Photography by Eve Tuft who is offering very inexpensive photo shoots.
If you want one I'll help you get in touch. 
(Ever since Isaac and Camber Hess revealed earlier this year that they are Superman and Superwoman, the world has clamored for an interview. Matt Lauer recently sat down with Isaac and Camber in their Iowa home for this exclusive.)

Matt: So, by now everyone knows that you’re living here in Iowa. But . . . why? Don’t you think the public has the right to know?

Isaac: I suppose they do, Matt, I suppose they do. Camber and I moved here back in August 2010 so I could attend graduate school at the University of Iowa. I’m getting my MBA.

Matt: But isn’t it cold in Iowa? [Camber shivers reflexively.]

Isaac [locking eyes with knowing stare]: Yes.

Matt: I see. [Pause.] Let’s move on to happier topics. I hear Isaac graduates in May. Any word on future plans?

Camber: Oh, we’ll be returning immediately to the full-time crime destruction machines God designed us to be.

Matt: Really?

Camber: Ha! No. We’re moving to Cincinnati in July.

Matt: Cincinnati? Isn’t it cold there, too?

Isaac [same knowing stare]: Yes.

Matt: I see. [Pause.] So why move there instead of say, Arizona, where the weather is beautiful, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average?

Isaac: Matt, it turns out that fighting crime doesn’t pay well. We just can’t keep up our lavish lifestyle fighting crime in areas like Arizona. I was lucky enough to find a great job in Cincinnati at a marketing research consulting firm. Camber and I are both excited for the new adventure!

Matt: So no more crime fighting for now?

Camber: Have you seen Cincinnati, Matt? Let’s just say there will be plenty of opportunities to moonlight.

Matt: Let’s move onto some of your big events from this past year. Is it true that both of you had surgery in the same month this year?

Camber: [Sighs] It is true. I had cataract surgery to fix eye damage I got when I was young. It went well, and I see much better now.

Matt: What about your surgery Isaac. What was that for?

Isaac: [Pause.] That’s . . . undisclosed at this time, Matt.

Matt: I see. [Pause.] But glad to hear that you’re both feeling better. What about your summer in Chicago? I’ve heard you had to spend most of the time apart. What was that like for you?

Isaac: It was difficult. I had an internship there for 11 weeks, and we did spend most of the summer apart because Camber had a job as a nurse back here in Iowa. It was grueling, but we learned how to stay connected and close even though we were many miles apart. Modern technology is amazing, and really helped.

Camber: And I got to visit several times over the summer. Chicago was fun, but really loud. And several of Isaac’s family dropped in as well. His mom and brother, Sean, visited. But the pizza. Oh . . . the pizza. [She closes her eyes, licks her lips.] If you’ve never had Chicago-style pizza, you haven’t yet lived.

Matt: Good to know. So it shocked the world when we found out that Superman and Superwoman were living among us, an unassuming married couple. How long have you been married, and . . . any Superchild coming along soon?

Camber: We just had our fifth anniversary a few weeks ago! We’re so happy to be married. Best. Five. Years. Ever.

Isaac: As for the Superchildren, most of our family know that we’ve been trying—unsuccessfully—for several years now. We’re still hoping and praying, and may be looking into adoption in the near future. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date.

Matt: Fair enough. I just have one last question. Can you confirm the rumors out there that the Justice League is about to kick out The Green Lantern, because the movie was just that bad?

Isaac: I can’t confirm, but let’s just say I can’t—won’t—deny it.

Matt: Ouch. Well, thank you so much Isaac and Camber. You’ve been great guests.

Camber: Thank you, Matt. If you get kidnapped by terrorists, you know how to reach us!