Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Updates on 2012

Well friends, I admit it. I've been a slacker for the last (gulp) 6 months. I hope this does not continue, but I can honestly attest that this summer and fall was one of the busiest for me!

In early August we went to Seattle for my 20th high school reunion. It was really fun to see old friends and re-connect with them, and to get caught up with those who are still close friends of mine - but whom we don't get to see very often. It was also fun to have Curby there - because of facebook, he was like a celebrity - everyone wanted to meet him! We stayed with my aunts, Gloria and Donna, and got some good family time with them and the rest of our family, and some old friends too, while we were there. It was a great, great week!

Attending a Seattle Mariners game with family.

The 20-year Reunion Committee

Me with my handsome date!

At the HS Reunion family BBQ the next morning.

Family Time while in Seattle
Immediately upon our return from Seattle, we decided to move into a new apartment - just a few doors down from our old apartment, but twice the size! It has a second bedroom which has really come in handy as an office and guest room. We love having a little more space to spread out.

Later in August we traveled to Phoenix to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. It was a really great weekend. Curby and I made a fancy dinner for mom and dad (lobster tails, rib eye steaks, and grilled vegetables - with our everyone's favorite olive tapenade). Because the 40th anniversary is considered the "ruby" anniversary, we wanted to get them something special to commemorate the event. So Ben, Curby, and I went in together and bought a set of ruby red champagne flutes - something that they could use over and over at different family celebrations that would remind them of their 40-year accomplishment. We also gave them a "then and now" photo frame, with a picture of the two of them from their wedding and a recent picture of their newly svelte selves (my parents both lost over 100 pounds in 2012!!!).

In September, we played hosts to my brother Ben, on his first visit to us in LA since we were married. Even though it was a short visit, it was really fun to have him here for a couple days. Overlapping with his visit, was a visit from Gloria and Donna. We saw some sights together, and Gloria, Donna, and I went to "Wheel of Fortune" taping together - our shows were for the beginning of the year 2013 (like seriously, new years eve and the first and second, I think), so look for us in the audience shots at the end of the show - near the top of the screen. It was so fun to spend time with G & D here in LA again.

There are definite gaps in my memory as I think about September and October and I suspect that is because in early August we found out we were expecting a BABY! So by September and October, I not only had "pregnancy brain" but also was napping a lot. :D See the link below for the progression of  my belly and "baby girl Piehl" from 12 weeks to 24 weeks.


I also was doing a LOT of activities with the Alpha Delta Pi chapter at UCLA - where I am an advisor. The funnest activity we did with the chapter was head to Disneyland as "chaperones." We decided it was close enough to our first anniversary that we'd wear our "Bride and Groom" ears all day and celebrate with "Its Our Anniversary" buttons. It was neat to have all the park employees tell us "Congratulations!" as we went through the park. (It was SUPER hot here during October, so we are dressed like its June, on October 28th!)

At Disneyland during "Halloweentime"
The other fun we had during October was getting dressed up for Halloween. Curby had to dress up for work, and afterward we headed to a friend's costume party, so I decided to get dressed up, too!

Curby as "Magnum P.I."

Pregnant Skeleton

Celebrating our First Anniversary
November was a BIG month for us! We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on November 5th! We decided to spend the weekend in Long Beach (where we had the first night of our honeymoon) and stay in the same hotel we stayed at on our wedding night. We had delicious Tapas, and even more delicious italian desserts and the next morning we had breakfast at the "Coffee Cup Cafe" where we had breakfast the morning after we got married. It was a really great weekend!

Visiting with Matt

The next day, our good friend, Matt, arrived in town for a long visit. We celebrated our anniversary with him, and enjoyed eating and sightseeing around LA. It was super fun. As Matt left town, another good friend, Jessica, arrived. She stayed the weekend and we had a great time playing games and getting caught up. 

I had a conference in Las Vegas a week or so later, and it was a really good time. Curby was able to join me for the end of it and we had a nice mini-vacation in Vegas before heading back home only to.....

travel to Texas for Thanksgiving! We had a really nice time with Curby's family and friends. It is always great to see how much Curby's friends love him, and to be in a community where my love for Curby is echoed by people who have known him for a lot longer than me. I was blessed. It was also really fun to spend time with Curby's sister, brother-in-law and our niece and nephew. We got to do some shopping and have some "dates" with Hannah and Nathaniel and so that was really fun. 

With our nephew at the movies
Now its December, and the year is almost over. I've been working on my dissertation like crazy, and working 20 hours for my faculty advisor. We've decorated the house, finished our Christmas shopping and are gearing up for holiday parties and Curby's birthday. Later this month we'll travel to Phoenix for the Christmas celebration with my parents. We can't wait - and are excited to make this the 'best last Christmas without kids" ever!

I hope in 2013 to be better about updating. As I write more on my dissertation, its almost a guarantee that I'll be writing more (brief) posts on the blog. Either here or at - stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marissa Mayer, Maternity Leave, And the Rest of Us

Recently I read a post about the new CEO of Yahoo! (Marissa Mayer), her pregnancy, and her plans for maternity leave. She commented that her leave would be just a few weeks and that she was planning to work throughout.

Her comments rankled me. Not because I think she should be taking longer at home for the sake of her child, but for two other reasons: 1) I think that it sets an unrealistic example for other career women, 2) I think it sets an unrealistic expectation for herself.

Later in the day, the team I'm a part of (working on a research project which examines the trends of women's underrepresentation in STEM fields) discussed her appointment to this prestigious position, and her comments to the media. We got into a lively discussion about the issue and it led me to decide to write this blog.

Before I do, I want to recognize that others had the same reactions I did. This article on likely says it better and more succinctly than I will. But I'm going to go ahead and write anyway, because the quilt I was working on is finished and I haven't gone to the store to get cake mix for cake decorating class (more on both of these topics later). Likewise, just a few weeks ago, I read this article in The Atlantic that really confirmed some of my thoughts about the difficulties of being a working mother, and how the glass ceiling may be cracked, but some problems are not even close to being solved.

First, I want to say that I have a lot of respect for working moms, and especially for women who are in very visible and high pressure positions. I think they have the unfair responsibility of "representation" and tokenism - as though they must be standard bearers for the rest of us who hope to one day have work, children, and other life bonuses.

That being said, they ARE representatives for the rest of us, and when a women takes a high profile job and says, "They didn't bat an eye that I was pregnant." that is good for all of us - it encourages the rest of us that it is possible for us to get a job when pregnant, that we won't be discriminated against because we want a family, etc. But when she follows that up with, "Don't worry, I'll only miss a few days of work when I have my baby!", the encouragement turns to sighs of exasperation. I see two main problems with this unrealistic expectation. First, it sets the expectation of bosses, managers, other business leaders, that women don't need a full maternity leave. As one of my friends put it "it means that all the work that was done to get us maternity leave is moot." Second, it makes women who are struggling to even check their email in the midst of their maternity leave seem inadequate and incapable.      What hope is there for the rest of us who want to take a full maternity leave, who don't want to work during our leave, or who barely have the time to open the computer, let alone time and mental energy log into work email and write conference proposals or research papers.

The article does a great job of saying why women in high ranking positions may be able to take shorter leave and work during their leave (they are more likely to have household and child-rearing support), and how this is harmful to those of us who will not have those things (in addition to our partners at least). So I recommend reading it for more thoughts on the issue.

My second issue is mostly grief that Mayer feels as though she has to make this statement at all. It is unfair to her that she feels like she has to justify her maternity leave in any way shape or form. It shouldn't even be a topic of conversation - whether she takes 2 weeks or 2 months, why does she have to bring it up? I'm guessing she wasn't doing it to brag on how quickly she'll be back at work, but rather  to defend her appointment to a visible position where she reports to a board of directors and shareholders. Maybe she doesn't want to take a 2 month maternity leave, but we don't, and can't, know that - whether she wants to or not,  she is in a position where she feels like she has to publicly declare "But don't worry, I'm awesome and will still run this company even while nursing my newborn." Why not say, "Don't worry, I have a great staff and I'll be available for urgent issues, and the company will be fine while I'm gone." I hope she succeeds, but I fear she sets herself up for failure - if she struggles to balance caring for her newborn and her job, then one is going to have to suffer and neither are good options in her current situation.

Curby and I hope to have kids someday. And it seems likely that we will both have to work to support our family - especially if we stay in LA. And if we leave LA for a faculty post somewhere, then at the least I'll be working. I'm blessed, because there is a lot of flexibility in terms of where/when you work as a faculty person - but most people aren't in that position. Public figures, like Mayer, and authors like the woman who wrote the article in the Atlantic (who used to work for Secretary Clinton), remind me that something has to give.

For the record, men can't have it all either. Here is a response to the article in the Atlantic:

What do you think, friends? Do you applaud Mayer for her comments, or did you groan with me and ask "Why did you say that publicly?!" Do you think women (or men) can "have it all"?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Last Plea.... for your photos!

Hola Friends! 

As some of you know, I just recently put together a wedding photo album with all of our professional photos (see the previous post).

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty excited, and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I think I may spend the first three days of possession just going through it again and again.

We also want to make a photobook of the candid photos taken on the wedding day (and including some of the other events, like karaoke, rehearsal and engagement party). But to do that, we need your help!

If you were at the wedding and you took photos, could you please contribute them to our online wedding album?

You can do this a couple different ways:
1    1)    You can email photos to us at: tiffandcurby DOT lovebirds AT picasaweb DOT com.. No subject line necessary, just email them to us as attachments and they will automatically go into our photo album drop box.
              2) You can upload photos directly if you would like – to do that, please email us: tiffandcurby AT gmail DOT com and let us know you’d like to do this option and I’ll send you a link to an album. (this way you can upload a bunch of pics at once)

You can VIEW some of the candid pictures that have been uploaded already at this link: The Story of Tiff and Curby 

Dear friends - seriously, help us out here, and get YOUR photos featured in our memories forever.

(and in return, I promise to blog about Tiff's life very soon!)