Mom’s white soup and the calm before the storm

White soup

Ever since I set a start date for maternity leave (two more weeks!), I’ve had a rush of energy. This is in the face of the worst acid reflux so far and a new symptom — cramping! It even keeps me up at night! — as well as my husband introducing me to someone else with the wrong name (to be fair, he introduced me with the name of the person he was introducing me to — a common flub — BUT STILL. SAY MY NAME BITCH).

SJ and I have even managed to leave the house at night a few times, and somehow, in one week of unrelated events, I have met more members of the gay glitterati than I ever did when I was gay: Armistead Maupin, Kate Kendell, Johnathan Groff, and Jenna Ushkowitz (an honorary gay who gave me flowers) (really).

But we’re still just a couple of un-hip 40-somethings. (I had no clue who Johnathan or Jenna were and, like an elderly person, thought, “What a nice couple of young people” before shooting a handful of Metamucil with a plastic cup of Chardonnay.) This was the conversation SJ and I had on one drive home through the darkened Castro:

Jenny: So what is cold brew?
SJ: I don’t know. It sounds like some kind of beer that’s made in some fancy way.
Jenny: No, no. It’s coffee. It’s like a thing.
SJ: Oh. Well. I don’t know.

In any case, even SJ has noticed I’ve shifted out of fifth gear (better known as WENEEDTOGETEVERYTHINGDONEBEFORETHEBABYCOMESIKNOWIT’SIMPOSSIBLEBUTSTILLWEMUSTTRY). One recent morning he observed me flitting about the kitchen and quipped, “You’re in an interesting couple of moods this morning.”

As I’ve told him, I feel 90 percent like myself, 10 percent not. I can’t say what that 10 percent feels like. Just not me. But the other 90 percent is out of panic mode and really looking forward to meeting this kid.

I can’t stop thinking about seeing his face. I don’t think I’m going to believe this is all real until I see his face. Maybe not even then. What if he’s BLOND? What if he comes out looking Finnish, like SJ, and not with huge brown eyes and covered with black hair, like my Italian family? But the idea of one minute him being on one side of my belly and the next him being on the other — I keep thinking about that moment and driving myself to tears.

Anyway, after attending a final class (infant and child CPR and choking — I could barely look at the illustrations of a baby getting mouth-to-mouth), my to-do list has shrunk to the fun stuff:

  1. Pack the hospital bag/trunk.
  2. Make a playlist.
  3. Get baby book to record milestones.
  4. Arrange nursery/office/guest room from current style — “piles of shit” — to desired style — “a baby lives here.”

Also: Make a birth plan. Check!


  1. Get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Wake up between 7 and 8 a.m.
  3. Have tea and toast.
  4. Go into labor around 9 a.m.
  5. Labor at home with my sweet husband and my sweet doula, wearing long, feathered earrings (all the women in all the home-birth videos wear all their jewelry).
  6. Leave for the hospital not during rush hour.
  7. Give birth with no complications, no interventions, no tearing, and in a short enough time that I don’t get tired.
  8. Get a good night’s sleep.
  9. Come home with perfect baby and commence breastfeeding with no problems.

So, basically, I’m ready.


This is a sink in a bathroom at Kaiser. For someone who’s eight months pregnant, this goes in the ARE YOU SHITTING ME category. THIS IS IN A HOSPITAL. I HAD TO TURN SIDEWAYS TO WASH MY HANDS:

Kaiser sink

For Mom’s white soup, which Mom made whenever my brother or I felt sick but is so delicious I sometimes make it just because, you need:

  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
  • 1/4–1/2 cup tiny pasta, such as orzo or pastina (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4–1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

You need to:

  • Bring the chicken broth and garlic cloves to a simmer. Simmer until you can smell the garlic.
  • Add the tiny pasta. Simmer until cooked.
  • Slide in the beaten egg and count to 60.
  • Remove from heat. Add parmesan cheese. Season to taste with cracked black pepper.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cina Kraft says:

    Jenny, Glad to see you’ve got the playlist up at top of priorities, where it belongs. Many other things can be endured as long as you’ve got your best tunes! And in case you don’t remember, your Mom was a redhead before the grey…and Jesse’s a redhead…so….the Italian thing is maybe not so reliable. And glad to know the doulas are appropriately accessorized, but, feather earrings came in about 15 years ago, and then slowly went away. I mean, for a while, EVERYONE had to have them. Evidently they colonized in the Bay Area.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha — you know Mom’s hair is not really red, right? 😉 I seriously need long feathered earrings. How else am I going to be an Earth momma?? xoxo


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