Monday, June 30, 2008


I am an alien. Or at least I feel like one. It is terribly strange to sit at your desk and watch/feel your stomach morph into different shapes.

Did you ever see the movie Alien? I don't know how I conned my folks into letting me watch it when I was a kid. It terrified me and gave grown-up" movies a bad wrap in my mind for several years. (Maybe that was mom and dad's plan all along.) I don't remember much else, other than the scene where a woman is wrapped in goo and one of the aliens hatches inside her body and breaks through.

With all the weird ways in which this baby moves around inside of me, I feel like that lady.

I hear that Weeks 24-28 of pregnancy are when the baby feels the most active. He is small enough to wiggle around, but big enough for me to feel it. Give him a couple more weeks and he'll get lodged into more stationary positions.

Until then, I'll continue to block that scene from the movie out of my mind. :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Morning Walks

It's been almost three weeks since I took the bus to work in the morning. With the dads in town, a heat wave, and running errands after work, I just haven't needed my morning bus ride.

This morning I walked to the bus stop I was struck by how getting outside, even for just a 15 minute walk, is good for my soul. That sounds a bit over-dramatic, but I'm serious. Walking through the woods in our suburban neighborhood watching the birds and squirrels and chipmunks restores a balance inside of me. I feel more alive and satisfied with my life.

Even though I enjoy a nice jog, I've never been able to successfully enjoy jogging in the mornings. A brisk walk, however, is quite delightful. Just enough to wake you up without wearing you out.

If adding a short walk to your life means getting off the bus one stop earlier than normal or parking in a parking further down the street from your destination, I say it's worth it!

Friday, June 20, 2008


A couple of weeks ago DC had our first heat wave of the summer. The temperature hung around 99; the heat index made it feel like 107.

Peter and I made the decision to run errands one afternoon during a sweltering day. Between running back and forth between our air-conditioned car and the air-conditioned store, I figured we would be fine. The heat quickly got the better of me. I wilted and Peter had to push the grocery cart and wait for me while I sat in Best Buy recovering from the walk across the parking lot.

I think this was the first time I've felt physically vulnerable since being pregnant. I had take precautions (e.g. carrying a water bottle, sitting in air-conditioning, etc.), but that wasn't enough. If left in the middle of the heat, I couldn't have made it on my own.

I didn't like this feeling of vulnerability. It annoyed me. It made me feel weak.

And yet, I am so fortunate to have such a "safe" glimpse of what truly vulnerable people in the world feel every day. People who can't defend themselves. People who don't have a voice to stop injustices done to them. People who cannot physically resist their enemies.

How fortunate I am.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Art in Creation

I never though that writing SAS or SQL code would compare to writing a paper. I've been deep in developing a new report during the past few weeks. The similarities have been striking.

When I wrote papers in college, usually the assignment was quite vague. Something along the lines of "pick a topic about X and write on it." Choosing the right topic was half the battle. Specific yet with enough room to play with my own thoughts on the matter. Something people had considered, but not overly considered.

Then I would be off to the library like a pioneer in search of a new road through the mountains. Exploring where others had already tread, trying to find my own way at the same time. After hours of reading and note taking, I would wrestle with my own opinions about the topic. Then, after sleeping on it for a few days where my subconscious was exploring different theories and approaches, I would sit down and give birth to a paper.

It was a thrilling process for me. Usually I love every minute of it, but especially the research and the percolating phases.

I've come to see that writing analytical reports is not that different. The client has a vague idea of what they want. A general question that should be answered. They don't know how to best answer it though. It's up to me to see how similar questions have been answered before. To wrestle with the nuances of this particular problem. To find ways of answering the question that the client has never even thought of.

Then it's time to write the code. Usually the first round of code-writing gets at 90% of what is needed. The last 10% requires the most work though. It's where I become a detective, trying to think of how many ways can I break the report. How many irregularities can I tease out of the data? What do those irregularities mean for the client? In many ways, this detective process is the same as proactively combating opposing arguments to the thesis of your paper.

Both in paper writing and report coding, I am the creator and the artist.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


The other day a female co-worker who has several children in elementary school was chatting with me about being pregnant. She made a comment about remembering how happy she was when she was pregnant. This is a down-to-earth, sensible woman who has a successful career and I wouldn't necessarily guess as being a mom.

Her comment has stuck with me. I've been surprised at how harsh I can be since I've been pregnant. If I think something unkind, I'm much more likely to say it than run it through the "Katharine-filter" which can neutralize the sharpest of criticisms.

Despite that fact, I still think I'm generally happier now that I'm pregnant than before. Despite the uncertainties of life with a baby, the physical discomfort, the overwhelming decisions,, I feel a contentedness that I can't quite explain. It's as if the world is progressing just as it should and life is falling into place. Even if all the baby stuff doesn't get purchase or I gain more pregnancy weight than I want to or I don't get as much done in a day/week/month than I will all be OK.

When we decided try the "kid-thing," we hadn't overcome many of our reservations. We took a leap of faith, believing that in light of all the sacrifices children require we didn't understand the joy and happiness that parents profess, that there was something just *right* about having kids.

Our little boy isn't here yet, but I already feel that this was the right thing to do. The happiness in my heart confirms it.