Monday, July 02, 2007

Power tool packin' mama (to be)

A co-worker mentioned today that she was mildly dismayed when her 2 1/2 year old daughter recently declared, "I'm a girl. I'm not a boy. Boys fix fire engines." This despite having a very adept mom who in fact handles most of their household repairs, many of which in fact come at the hands of her tool-challenged husband. "How does this gender stuff get ingrained so early?" she asked slightly incredulously.

I don't know, but I hope our child will see that girls can fix fire engines or anything else, if they put their mind to it. To that end, I'm documenting for posterity my own power tool packin' ways so the bundle-to-be will see that even in-utero, she and her mom were comfortable fixin' broke stuff.

Case in point: our carport light went out last week and we hadn't made time to get it fixed. I did manage to pick up a replacement, but that was about it. After more than a week of putting off the task, fumbling with my key in the dark and not wanting to wait any longer, I took advantage of the 75 degree evening to do some home improvement, pregnancy and all. It took one light, one drill, four drill bits of increasing size (I kept underestimating the size of the screw and expander), two screwdrivers, one pen for marking holes, and one hour of my time. But we've got light, I didn't incur any injuries, and I'm feeling pretty pleased with the result. Guess those high school auto mechanics and woodworking classes are still paying dividends. My child-to-be will either be mildly amused by this memento or use it as proof that I've been a very capable but total dork for a very long time.

28 Weeks

Chugging right along. This is me at the 28 week mark of my pregnancy, in a lovely trapeze cut A-line frock from my friend's shop Missi Lu in Seattle's Madison Valley neighborhood. A-line's are of course great for hiding a multitude of figure features from which one might want to deflect attention. But it's hard to hide the belly at this point. Hard to believe I've still got almost three months to go and this is when women supposedly gain most of their weight. If that's the case for me too, this dress may look like it shrunk in the dryer by the time September rolls around.

GMF ties revisited

The German Marshall Fund contacts we made told us fellowship participants, "You're now part of a network of fellows around the U.S. and Europe." I had a sense of that in meeting European Fellows who'd traveled the U.S. for their fellowship and welcomed us as instant friends, and before I left for my trip when I called a couple fellows from other years for guidance. Without knowing anything more about me than than I was about to embark on the same wonderful adventure they had, they opened up and provide great tips and insights.

Now that I've returned to my regular day-to-day grind, I was reminded of the camaraderie of the trip and the network to which I do indeed belong when I received a call from a fellow traveler, Carrie from Chicago.
She was coming to town for a short visit and we had a chance to get together, reminisce, and catch up on changes in our lives since the trip. The most obvious difference: I've gained some girth and she's lost over a foot of hair!

She also had a chance to catch up with Heather, another fellow in this area. I didn't get a chance to catch up with them again, but it's nice to be reminded that we are indeed part of a unique network of people from all walks of life who are interested in building ties with people across the Atlantic and across the U.S.

I'll get a chance to increase my ties later this week when I host some European Fellows as they travel through the area. I don't think we can match the grandeur of some of our visits in Europe, but we'll try to show the Northwest in a positive light. More fun sure to ensue!