(some dis)comfort and (lots of) joy

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, my sweet readers. There has been no baby boy arrival yet but I am happy (and shocked) to say that I've made it to the point in my pregnancy where the websites tell me he is the size of a 7.5 pound, 22-inch watermelon. Nothing says Christmas like a giant, internal, kicking watermelon:)

After 38 weeks of blissful pregnancy, I caught a cold last week. And not a pretty one. For the first time in my life I had a bum eye that wouldn't quit weeping, and my lips were so chapped from my profuse nose-blowing and kleenex-rubbing that I appeared to have a tiny, red mustache. Despite these ailments, we kept an appointment to meet with a prospective pediatrician, where I was forced to incessantly dab at my one eye like a mourning widow. I pointed to it and apologized non-stop like it was happening in spite of myself but I'm sure that that (along with the chapped mustache) just helped me come off like a crazy lady. All this to say: it caused me to slow down a whole lot. Although if it weren't for the sake of the cold, I'm sure I'd be slowing down anyway. This belly is big and I now only have one official week to go until my due date.

Health-wise I'm on the upswing but all my edges feel fuzzy. Like my whole self is going into power-save mode before the Big Event. My clumsiness is epic, my waddle is in slo-mo, my voice is raspy, and my vision blurry (another fun pregnancy symptom). And not surprisingly, when I sit down to meditate these days, I slip into that altered state with practically no effort. I'm being seduced to go within. How lovely that it's coinciding with this Winter Solstice/Holiday/Year End time when everyone is naturally slowing down and becoming more introspective. That makes it easier.

I read a great article about honoring women who are in their last days of pregnancy. That they experience a poignant, sweet, sharp, blurry, unique time of in-between that we have no words for in our culture and language. The writer names this Zwischen (the German word for between). I can SO relate. There's this panicky feeling of My life is going to change forever! I gotta hurry up and do a million things before it does! coupled with exhaustion and discomfort, what with all the waddling and efforting to move around and tie shoes and get out of bed to pee 20 times a night, all while juggling a wiggly watermelon. Pepper in some clumsiness, forgetfulness, and a weeping eye and you're just about there.

Aren't we all in our own Zwischen in some way or other? We're usually in such a hurry to finish up something so we can "relax" or get to the next thing so we can "have a fresh start" but there really is something profound to be said for making peace with that cross-over time. For recognizing that place between two worlds doesn't need to be fixed or changed. That it just needs to be honored and experienced in all its odd and conflicting emotions and physical changes. Especially when the duration of it is unknown. If you're lucky (or you decide to lean on it), some good old-fashioned faith can work wonders.

So as I surrender into this rare, weird, wonderful time in my own life, I wish you happiness in both the chaos and the quiet of the Season. And peace and faith (and maybe even some joy) as you move slowly through your own personal Zwischen:)

Merry Christmas today!
Love Love Love,

classic peanut butter cookies

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The other night I dreamed I was with my friend Jenn as she was giving birth to her daughter. I was on the hospital bed with her, just up there hanging out ON THE BED WITH HER while she was in labor. (Boundaries much?) It was getting toward the end. She was in a sweaty, altered state pushing that baby down, and when the doctor said, "One more!", she pushed HARD and the baby girl came shooting out like a torpedo. All at once she was here and wiggling on the bed between us. The nurse swooped in just then, to wipe off the baby and wrap her in a soft blanket. Smiling, she held out the newborn to Jenn. The new mom barely looked up. Instead she held up a tired finger and said, "Hold on a minute," and then reached over to a side table where, in a pristine spotlight, there sat the most perfect donut you've ever seen: glazed with shiny chocolate frosting. And big. She tenderly picked up the pastry and proceeded to savor it deliberately, bite by bite, with her eyes closed in rapture. When she (finally) finished, she licked her fingers and her lips, opened her eyes with a giant smile, reached her arms out wide to the dumbstruck nurse and said, "Okay, give me my baby!"

I think this might be the most quintessential pregnancy dream ever. Labor is there, and also a newborn, even a hospital with doctors and nurses. But most importantly: The Donut.

If you swap out the donut for a peanut butter cookie, I would appreciate this dream even more than I do already. The baby boy I'm growing inside me is demanding peanut butter these days (and he's been really bossy about it). I've had funny waves of cravings along my pregnancy journey. The first trimester was very cream-cheese-centric, trimester #2 was all about chicken-salad sandwiches and Arnold Palmers, and now? In the home stretch? Peanut butter. On apples, on toast, by the spoonful and via the best delivery system ever: cookies.

(Bonus: Peanut butter cookies can be Christmas Cookies if you make them at Christmastime!)


Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies (depending upon how big you roll them)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (not the natural kind--Skippy is great for cookies)
1 egg
2 t vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
granulated sugar for rolling before baking

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and mix well. Add the egg and vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Bit by bit, add the flour mixture until just combined. Roll dough into 1" balls, coat in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet 2" apart. Flatten with a fork in a criss-cross fashion and bake for 10-13 minutes or until edges are golden.

P.S. You aren't required to chill the dough before rolling but you can refrigerate for a day or two or freeze it for a week or two.

Happy Holiday time, lovelies!

The Bouqs

Monday, December 1, 2014

While in High School, I dated a guy for about 5 minutes. On one of our few dates we went to a neighborhood Italian place (where he inhaled a giant meatball sandwich), and then back to his place to make out (classy, eh?). We fell asleep tangled up on his twin bed and a couple hours later when we woke up, he leaned over and open-mouth kissed me with his garlic/meatball/ass breath and that's pretty much all it took for me to want to break up with him. Maybe I mentioned this to a girlfriend and word got back to him because the next day I came home from school, and at my front door was a single, long-stemmed red rose accompanied by a small card that simply read call me written in gold calligraphy. I wondered how many times he practiced writing call me with his calligraphy pen before getting it right. (Remember how hard it was to hold those things so the flat side was at ye olde perfect slanted angle?!) After momentarily being impressed by his calligraphy balls, I steeled myself, dialed his number, and then broke up with him over the phone. Ugh. I'm awful. But that breath was Bad News Bears, you guys. Anyway. That was the most memorable floral delivery I've ever received.

Until now.

The delightfully nice people at The Bouqs sent Joeycake (me) some gorgeous flowers! Have you heard of The Bouqs? You know when you have to send flowers to someone and you kinda freak out? Because let's say they live far away and you have no idea where to order them from? You could choose somewhere local that you're just pulling out of thin air via a quick google search, but are they gonna be good? Or do you go with some FTD situation that feels homogenized, somewhat impersonal and usually downright cheesy? There is another, much more kick-ass option: The Bouqs offer sustainably-grown, super-fresh flowers (grown in rich volcanic soil) at really cheap prices ($40 out the door). Bonus: they last longer than most high-school relationships. The roses they sent me lasted a full 12 days. They were so great looking for so long that we started to become suspicious of them. The Bouqs have a beautiful, chic selection, they ship directly via FedEx, have flat-rate shipping and zero hidden fees. I can't rave about them enough. They just might be good enough to make someone forget your sour meatball breath.

You can check out their website here. They're always having deals but today there are some special Cyber Monday ones too.

Happy Monday!
Hope you had a delicious Thanksgiving weekend:)

P.S. FYI: All opinions posted by me on Joeycake are my very own and I would never rave about anything here that I don't stand behind.
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