Baby Showers

I spent the afternoon at a baby shower for a friend. Is there any thing more “Distaff Side” than a baby shower?

Cucumber sandwiches? Check.

Mini pastries? Check.

Fancy teas served in real teacups, with saucers? Check.

I spent a lot of time figuring out what to wear. The mother-to-be is about 15 years younger than I am, so I fell into the trap of decisions – do I dress younger, to fit in better with the 30-something friends, or do I dress a bit older, to blend in with the moms and aunts? Also, it’s an artsy crowd, so I needed to avoid anything normcore.

I went for a “High School Art Teacher” look, with a Babette asymmetical white blouse, my wide-leg black jeans from Simplicity 3688 and my red bomber jacket from Simplicity 8174. I wore Cole Haan booties and this big heavy necklace made of some iridescent stones. The necklace was a big hit. You know you hit at least one right note when some Art History Ph.D. asks you where you got your necklace.

If I am close to the mother-to-be, I will sew up a little gift or even a small quilt. I am not that close to this friend, and I wasn’t sure how well “handmade” would go over with her anyway, so I bought something from her registry – this “Boppy” pillow thing. Whatever is it for? I couldn’t say.

It was a nice party. Thankfully, it was not one of those showers were everyone sits around for an hour watching the mom-to-be open presents. Rather, there was a little speech by the grandmothers-to-be, and otherwise we all mingled and snacked. I met a lot of fascinating people. It was fun to be among all women, of different generations, bumping in to one another and finding common ground.

I don’t have kids, so I don’t get the cultural parts of motherhood. One of the grandmothers-to-be speech was about this greeting card that she got back when she was pregnant with the expectant father. The card depicts an illustration from The Metropolitan Museum in New York. Turns out, the other grandmother-to-be got a photo album with the same image when she was pregnant. And two women among the guests got the same album when they were pregnant. Of course, this album was purchased as a gift for the shower. (Image: source)


Everyone held this story up as proof of some cosmic connection we all have. The way I figure it, if you’re an artsy type, you’ll buy your cards and gifts at art museums, and art museums probably have a few staple cards they’ve sold  forever, based on items in their collections. So when you have a bunch of artsy people together, voila! Coincidences!

I bought my card at Walgreen’s, so what does that say about me?

Party Party

You know your party’s too big when you have to buy ice.


I mean, I have a freezer. It has an ice maker. So ice is basically free (factoring in the pennies spent on electricity and  water). When you buy ice, it’s a sign that life is deviating from the norm.

It started simply enough. Our next-door neighbors were back home after months out of the country. We wanted to see them, so we invited them over for the holiday weekend. And then we invited the neighbors on the other side, since we all get along and a party of six is more fun than a party of four.

Then my husband ran into neighbors up the block while walking the dog. They accepted an invitation. While they were chatting about “what to bring” and so forth, like you do when you’re planning a party, other neighbors walked by with their dog, so they were invited too. And then it seemed unfair not to invite the neighbors behind us, since a pretty big party with most of the other neighbors was now unfolding in our yard.

Now 16 people are coming.

My husband’s excited. He likes to play the host, and he enjoys big parties. He gets to show off his fancy grill to the other men. During normal times (that is, when there’s no party) he’s none too eager to cook, shop, clean and organize. But when a party’s unfolding, he springs into action – liquor store, grocery store, vacuuming, sweeping, making burgers and setting out chairs. Dishwasher full? He’ll empty it. Buy ice? No problem. And after the party’s over, he will clean up every single thing. He likes to come downstairs the morning after a big party and remark that it looks like there was never a party. I don’t know why this thrills him so, but it thrills me that I don’t have to do all the work.

I am indifferent about parties. I would rather have a smaller gathering. I would sometimes rather have none. But once the party starts, I will be glad we’re having it. So I baked cookies, made deviled eggs, tossed a watermelon and feta salad and mopped the kitchen floor.

Party on!