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The real life update

I tend not to write much about what’s going on in my personal life, but there’s a lot going on, some of which is impacting my online life, and all of which is ultimately good. This past week, I realized that a lot of people in my life have no way of knowing what’s going on in certain corners of my life, so I thought I’d post a quick update here.

The biggest piece of good news is that Rachel and I are expecting our first child in early December. Rachel just made the announcement on her blog today, and she explains that it hasn’t been the easiest path towards parenthood. She had a miscarriage earlier this year, and so we approached this second pregnancy with a great deal of caution. But she’s doing great, and we’re both trying to restructure our schedules, our lives, our house to prepare for the changes. And, needless to say, we’re both excited, no matter what Daniel Gilbert may warn us.

In the meantime, we’re both on something of a travel binge – she’s in Ohio at the moment, at a retreat that’s part of her rabbinic studies. I’ve been on the road more or less every week since mid-May, and I head to Ghana and Nigeria this coming week. (No, I’m not travelling with Obama, but am hoping to buy him a beer and a plate of red-red in Accra.)

Things slow down dramatically for me in August – I’m having eye surgery, and will be mostly offline for at least six weeks. This is the same surgery I had last April on my right eye. That surgery – 23-gauge pars-plana vitrectomy, basically a high-tech surgery on the surface of the retina – was a huge success, and I got a major improvement in my eyesight, which had been worsening pretty dramatically. We’d hoped to put off surgery on the left eye for a couple of years, but I’ve had a couple of incidents of retinal bleeding this year which have forced me to take time off. (Unfortunately, I’m having one of those episodes of bleeding right now, so I may end up taking a week or two offline starting this week…) Rather than risk losing another month to eye problems (as I did for much of March and April), I’ll have the surgery, which takes anywhere from 4-8 weeks of recovery. I’m giving one talk, at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, during that time, but otherwise hope to be offline, focused on tasks like painting the nursery.

I have high hopes that these changes are going to lead me to a lifestyle where I’m spending a lot more time at home and less on the road. I hope that means less conference blogging – much as I love it – and more of my own writing. And while I promise to resist the temptation to let an academic blog fill up with baby photos, evidence from friends suggests that this this can be pretty hard to avoid.

Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled geekery. Thanks for listening.

33 thoughts on “The real life update”

  1. Congrats to both of you! Interesting to see the “possibly related posts” on this entry :) Count on me cooking for you two in the fall when I roadtrip that way—

  2. Ah yes, the failure of “artificially intelligent” algorithms. I hope we’re not about to raise a genocidal Ethiopian telecoms regulator.

  3. Congratulations, Ethan! Terrific news! The captcha below is suggesting “rickie” as a name for the little one :-)

  4. Congrats, Ethan!

    And yes, babies do ground you – both physically and emotionally. As you can tell from my personal blog http://bbwindow.com I went from multiple countries per year to just the USA so far in 09.

    That changes later this month with a trip to Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana (sorry to miss you in Accra), but overall, much more home time vs. travel time. Oh and just to be clear, worth every second of it too.

    Even the time to make Hanalei’s very own blog: http://hanaleivota.com/

  5. 6 words for you – My Heart’s in Accra – The Podcast!

    Good news bruv – about the anticiapation of the young one. We will keep both Rebecca, the baby + you in our prayers (remember our side convo at BB09 – Daudi/Daudina is a fantastic name :-)!

    And I encourage you to post the scans from the eye surgery like you did last time!

    The Internet will be quiet without you – hopefully Evgeny will keep quoting you in his Newsweek article so we know what you are thinking.


  6. Great news. Bring on the baby photos! All the best to you and Rachel and baby-to-be in the next months. Thank you for mentioning your future absence: it makes it easier to keep calm about lack of blog posts. Will be sending you healing vibes.

  7. Huge congradulations! I, for one, won’t mind the surely unavoidable bout of baby photos. So excited for you both.

  8. Congratulations! Heather and I are also expecting our first child this December.

    I hope you enjoy Nigeria- I can’t remember if you said you’ve been there before or not. Where are you going while you’re there? I hope you’re not stuck in Abuja the whole time..

  9. Robbie, that’s great news – congrats to you and Heather, and we’ll have to let the kids play together.

    The Nigeria trip is a bit of a nightmare… my US passport was damaged while getting visas, and so I’ve had to reschedule the whole thing. But I’ll be in Abuja for about four days and in Accra for two – not perfect, but not so bad. Haven’t been to Nigeria since a brief overnight in Kano in 1994. Hoped to make Lagos this time, but it wasn’t to be.

  10. Happy to read your great news on being a future Daddy Ethan, but sad you are having eye problems and have to endure further surgery so soon. Here’s wishing you and your wife all the very best. Looking forward to seeing your amazing eye pics again! And good luck on your travels. Hope you’ll keep an ear out for any oil news in Nigeria. Does one need eyes to podcast, I wonder…

  11. As another expectant parent, the data on whether children make you happy is actually a lot less clear. Older parents who have been married for a while and actively sought children do seem to be slightly happier with children. Younger parents who had whoops, though, are significantly unhappy. So things should be fine for us, right?

  12. I don’t know, Tonia. First, I should say that I think a lot of the hedonics research is pretty sketchy. Asking people how happy they are moment to moment, or iterated over a period of time, seems quite susceptible to personal and cultural biases.

    I don’t know that anyone’s compared happiness for older and younger parents – I can imagine that there might a big difference.

    But here’s another thought – the stuff most worth doing can really suck when we’re doing it. I’m writing a book right now, and while I’m pretty happy to be engaged in that process, moment to moment, it sucks. I get the sense that parenting is likely to have something in common with that experience…

    All that said, things will be fine for both of us, our partners and our kids – that I’m confident of.

  13. Pingback: …My heart’s in Accra » Getting my Mac to read to me

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