21 January 2011

A Half-Baked Shower

A virtual shower gift for the Bean, who is far more than half-baked.

First, some background:

Justine wasn't my friend, originally. She more properly belongs to my husband, who has been friends with her since college. Both she and my husband know how to sing and play an instrument. (I know how to play the radio.) They kept in touch after college and started reading each other's blogs back in the dark ages of blogs when people believed the internet might be private. This was on a different blog platform under a different name. I was there, too, and eventually I added Justine to my list of friends on said blog platform. I was snooping, is what I was doing, and I was too lazy to keep checking back to see if she'd updated, so I wanted her there on my friends page (this was before FB, can you imagine?).

Of course the blog platform in question informed Justine that I had added her so I had to send her an email letting her know that she didn't have to be my friend back. It was all very 6th grade-love-affair. Except I didn't scribble her name in a heart on my trapper-keeper. Anyway, Justine did become my friend back and somewhere in there we had kids at almost the same time. All the while it was clearly understood that Justine was really my husband's friend and that he would get to keep her in the (exceptionally unlikely) event of a divorce.

Five years later I have decided that she is MY friend and should Husband ever be so silly as to leave me he has to give up custody of Justine. It's his own fault for not blogging more (says she who hasn't blogged anything noteworthy for weeks.)

What does any of this have to do with Justine's nearly-baked Bean? Nothing, it's just an illustration of how blogging has opened up a new and wonderful way of creating and sustaining friendships. Without blogs Husband and Justine would probably have drifted into the land of Christmas-cards-only, and I would have continued to see Justine as someone smarter, prettier and better than I (all true, but not a reason not to be her friend.) Instead she's my friend and confidant and cheerleader and I am grateful to her for her many gifts to me. I know she has cheered and consoled many of you as well, which is why a virtual shower of good wishes from real friends who happen to be separated by mere geography is so appropriate.

Justine, there is no doubt in my mind that your bean is entering the world already blessed because she has you and S for parents, because she has I for a big brother, because she will be encouraged to wonder, to explore, and to follow her heart in service to others. She will be a blessing to the rest of us. And while I will do what is in my power to be there to welcome her personally, even if I end up being far away, I promise to breathe with you and rejoice with you in the hours surrounding her birth. You'll be amazing, and so will she.


  1. I'm going to post my Virtual Shower for Justine here, if that's okay.

    I've been blogging for nearly 6 years. Mostly about infertility, but then about being a mom after having our son, and running, and now about infertility again as we try for another baby.

    And over those six years, the people who follow me have changed.

    But the one constant is that we are part of a community. I love that we all band together in virtual support, and it humbles me to know I'm part of something that's larger than me.

    I connected with Justine recently, I think - loving that she was a runner, a cook, and had a job which was as stressful as mine. And over the past few months, I've been so impressed by her Zen - it's something I strive for every day.

    As she gets ready to welcome her new baby into her family, I want her to know that I am sending them all good thoughts and wishes.

    One of the first things I did when I got home from the hospital with O was make a vodka cream sauce. After 5 days in the hospital, recovering from a c-section, and a new identity as a mother, it was something that kept me grounded. It's a simple recipe, too, so it wasn't too tough to handle.

    I'd like to share that recipe with Justine, in the hopes that it'll help her stay grounded as she navigates the chaos of being a mother of two.


    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 shallots, minced
    1 cup vodka
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
    Coarse salt and pepper
    16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
    Crusty bread, for passing


    Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

    While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

    Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.


  2. Please visit my blog for my virtual shower gift! love, inB

  3. K from http://mypottyseat.blogspot.com/ asked me to pass along to Justine a lovely picture which she made with the following quote: "What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be." Helen Claes

    I have passed the picture along to Justine, and I would share it with you all, too, if my tech skills were good enough. Perhaps K will do it for you if you go ask nicely and promise her a foot rub.

    K also sent along this love for Justine:
    I wish Justine all the love laugh and wonder that a daughter can bring. I created her an 8x10 to do with as she pleases.

  4. Please visit my blog for my virtual shower gift for Justine. http://melissamuirfamily.blogspot.com/2011/01/virtual-baby-shower-gift-for-justine.html I love you to pieces Justine!


  5. And click ahead one post to see Athena's Greek Honey Cookies. YUM!


  6. Also stopping by to join in Justine's virtual shower! I've been blogging for about a year now and she has been such an amazing support to me since the beginning. I've enjoyed following her journey as well and am thrilled for her as she begins this next phase of her life.

    It is with hope that I look towards the arrival of your second child, for I know with certainty that anyone raised by you Justine will be such an incredible gift to this world. You have been such an encouragement to me during the ups and downs of this past year.

    Since Justine is always sharing the best recipes with all of us I thought I'd share one of our favorites as a family. Its a Chicken Shawarma recipe from Cooking Light that has become one of our go to dinners....

    As always sending so much love and many positive thoughts your way Justine ((hugs))

  7. An entry from Tas IVFer:


  8. I'm so late! But here's my (so late) contribution to the party.


    You're such a wonderful woman, Justine. I'm blessed to know you.



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