while I’m here

I don’t know how any alcoholic who’s trying to diet survives winter. When I first learned I was pregnant, in New York, when others drank wine, I asked the waitress for their dessert menu.  If I couldn’t drink, dammit, there would be cheesecake!  This didn’t last.  I walked into yellow bistros with red banquette seating, antique mirrors, Marlena Dietrich, and I didn’t know how to order sparkling water.  In lieu of alcohol, I suppose there’s caffeine.  Or a pot de creme cocoa. Dress in black, rig a twist of scarf around my neck, nestle in with a book and a bottomless cup of something strong.  A box of clove cigarettes.  A rich pot of butter and a warm basket of French breads, with dusted white tops.  My something strong is now willpower.

I suppose you can do pregnant chic by wearing fitted black dresses and quilted ballet flats, but you cannot do it here.  In Texas broody doesn’t work.   It’s easier to be pregnant here, without girlfriends insisting we get together for cocktails.  Here’s what I have noticed though: it’s also a lot easier to sit on your ass at night and watch television.  When I lived in New York, I never watched it.  I had co-workers who raced home to watch 24.  I’d try a new restaurant, go to a reading, a bar, some event.  I never sat home.  Now, I’m addicted to Bravo’s Project Runway and awaiting the new season of Top Chef.  I’ve tivo’d “pilot” so I don’t miss any of the new fall shows (it’s my job now to watch pilot episodes, now that I’m writing one for NBC Universal).  I’m becoming a homebody, and I don’t like it.  It feels lazy.  It will be one thing when there are babies to whom I’ll need to attend, but for now, there’s no excuse for this lazy living.  If I’m not throwing up, I should be out.  Maybe with my camera, laptop, or a handbag with a small notebook stashed away.  Maybe with a scarf dressed in black.  I’m making a vow to go out at least four nights a week for live music, a poetry reading, anything really, as long as it’s not me on the sofa watching television.  There’s no excuse for this, aside from mandatory bed rest.  I’m not there yet.  I’m here, and I need to know it.



  1. well since things are different and more sedated right about now and i think you should enjoy it, with the book tour and the babies coming you wont be having much time to be" lazy". You made a beautiful bride, lots of happiness and health to you and your family.

  2. I understand that need to feel like you're doing SOMETHING productive. I have to say though, if you want to feel like you're doing something good for you AND sit back and watch TV, check out the pilot for the new Aaron Sorkin show "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". Sorkin continues to write the best dialogue there is.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I saw it last night on Bravo. I will continue to watch. But I might just view it during the day, between writing breaks. I also tried to watch JUSTICE which was egregious.

  3. Whatever you're doing, whether it be sitting around or going out……….enjoy it. When your babies are born, nothing will be about you anymore. My advice to you is to enjoy as much silence and rest as possible. You'll thank me later and beg someone to just take them for an hour so you can have some peace and quiet!
    congats by the way on your wedding!

  4. Unsolicited advice time. Scuse me, I can't help myself.

    Be easy on yourself. If the babies are requiring some 'down time', give it to them…and you. The most important thing is taking care of yourself now – and a few hours of vegging out in front of the tv is not the worst thing.

    I like to think that I 'earn' my tv time. I get up at the crack of dawn (okay, well before dawn), make breakfast and lunches for the darlings, drop them at school, work all day, come home to put on jammies, make dinner/debrief from the day, make sure homework is done and everything is signed, and then we all comfortably snuggle in for commercial-less tv (thanks to Tivo).

    There is much to be said for comfort. Allow it. You're growing people – that's damned hard work.

    And now I am craving french bread. Yummmmmmm…

  5. I'm curious, while I read your blog almost daily, I went to look for your book in Borders, in Florida. Did you know it was located in the Self Help section? I was rather surprised.

  6. You are lucky, you're feeling good, your pregnancy goes on very well, you can do what we wish, meanwhile your little babies are growing up inside of you. Austin is waiting for you!

  7. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be productive and go out a lot. You have had some major joyul changes in your life and mya just need to stick close to the nest for a bit. It takes a couple years to feel at home in a new city and feel like you know where things are and how to get around. Definitely go out on your own before the babies arrive even if it's just to sit on your ass in a restaurant and eat, or go to the movies, or visit a bookstore.

  8. I agree – Project Runway is just too addictive not to watch. I almost had a heart attack when I realized that it wasn't on last night.

    If you need a laugh, go to this site:

    I am torn between Laura and Michael. Though from what I've seen around the 'net, his final collection is a bit much.

    Try and enjoy the downtime while you still have some!

  9. when i moved into my first apartment out of college i vowed not to get a television. i lived without a t.v. for about 6-7 months, and happily spent time at home reading, crafting, or hanging out with my dog. i have since caved and purchased a small 13"-er, and while i miss being able to say "i don't own a t.v.," i am so happy that i get to watch grey's anatomy again.

  10. hahaha – for the purposes of this post, boston = austin

    and from what i've learned of boston,

    "it’s also a lot easier to sit on your ass at night and watch television."

    truer words have NEVER been spoken. v. funny – hope you enjoyed the new episode of Kidnapped which i FRIGHTENINGLY arranged my evening to watch. :)

  11. Welllll, have to comment…. when the babies come, there will be so little down time that you will wish you had sat on your tush more. Be sure to do anything and everything that you can as exclusively a twosome because soon it will be a foursome.

  12. My guess is it's not so much the move from NYC to Austin that's to blame for your upped TV time as it is the pregnancy. I've lived in Austin for the last 10 years, and I've spent most every evening out of the house (working out, going to plays, shopping for books)…until I got knocked up. Suddenly my TV intake octupled and my ability to sit on my ass became a finely honed skill. It was really odd, and definitely unsettling.

    If my math is correct, you're into your second tri by now. Hopefully you'll start feeling better! And you live in a city where you *can* go see live music without you & the guppies being clogged by second-hand-smoke. Politics aside, trust me — the smoking ban is nice for pregnant ladies.

    Taking it easy is good, but getting out & doing things will definitely make you feel your best, IMO.

  13. I find being busy and going out all the time is a crutch. I used to plan my nights so I was never home in the evenings–always meeting friends for dinner or a drink or whatnot. In the last year, I've tried to make spending time at home more of a priority. I think there's a lot to be said for not going out of your skin just relaxing at home and learning how to just be quiet. Though I'm not talking about sitting at home watching TV all night…

  14. It's funny how people are so different. When I get home from work, I make dinner, clean, take the dog for a long walk,pack my lunch and iron my work clothes and then sit on my butt and read or watch a select tv show (tonight is Greys Anatomy!!). This is my week day routine and I must stick to it, or pay for it the next day at work.

  15. i totally agree with you on being a homebody and feeling lazy (wow, that sounded very "valley girlish", sorry).
    two years ago i become obessed with Grey's Anatomy, Law & Order SVU, Paula Dean, and sadly, America's Next Top Model. i was glued to the t.v., every night from 9-11 forcing me (yes, forcing, because apperntly the t.v had a gun to my head) to cancel plans with friends and the theatre. However, it got to the point where i was eating every meal on the couch in front of the t.v.(i gained 14 pounds!) it had to stop! so i decided to cancel our cable…completely. it turned out to be the best thing. Now we go and catch local bands, see community theatre, go to the park, it's great. We have recently moved and have Direct TV now. though, we only watch Weeds on monday nights, because it's the best show EVER and i can't miss it.
    i tip my hat to you for turning off the t.v. and going out!

    FROM STEPHANIE: I love Paula Dean and watch her while I write. I love southern women in general, and if I have a daughter want to give her a southern name, hoping she'll somehow become southern and say things like "I'm fixin' for a darling little chicken." I've got tivo lined up for Grey's Anatomy, and I never miss WEEDS. I also adored HUFF, but Showtime pulled the plug on it. I feel less guilty watching television now that I write for it, but there does need to be a balance. I wish Austin had more (or any) fabulous French cafes, where you can just order fries and people watch. If only Austin had a Balthazar… sigh.

  16. when you first moved, it didnt sound as if austin was necessarily a permanent move is it?
    i moved out of nyc when i had a baby because it was unaffordable for me to stay home, and stay there
    but if i could swing it we would be back in manhattan in a minute
    we are constantly in cars and i hate the fact that my child recognizes strip malls and other depressing aspects of surburban life
    also, with twins it is going to be a bitch and a half going anywhere with them really really hard, as all the moms on the board can attest any thoughts of moving back?

  17. Boy do I know that feeling. Every once in a while I look up and notice 2 weeks have passed and I have done nothing that even resembles productivity. Then I have a mental dual. I tell myself there's nothing wrong with doing nothing. But then I tell myself these years will pass me by and I'll say, "If only I had…." Is there some sort of balance. Maybe doing nothing is okay when there's some type of productive thought going on with the nothingness. Some type of mental elevation, instead of sleep, television, and fast food. But it does seem to me, that you've done enough and accomplished enough to be able to get away with long periods of nothingness.

  18. Save this entry. Look at it in a year and you'll be happy for the "lazy" times. With even one baby a shower is the best break you get-even if it is every other day or so. And if you can take a shower without a baby nearby it's a vacation .

  19. In the south, we tend to give our children family names, especially our mother's maiden name (or last names in general).
    I love Paula, too. One day I will go to Savannah and wait 3 hours to eat at her restaurant of hers (which by the way is a buffet!). I will plan accordingly and wear a dress so that I don't have to unbutton my pants mid meal.
    Have you Tivo'd Rachel Rays new show? I refuse to watch it. It's bad enough that she gets the prime "get home from work" slots on Food Network. I don't need to hear any more "yum o" or "EVOO" for the rest of my life.

  20. after my wedding (my second, too!) there is this almost "deflated" feeling, which often times manifests itself into lots of t.v. watching…. but do try to savor it now because you'd pay $100.00 to get one of those hours back when the babies come.

  21. Congratulations on your beautiful wedding Stephanie and Phil!! May your lives be fun of laughter and love together.

    Stephanie, some women experience nesting come the second trimester and others experience restlessness. Take the time to enjoy what you want to enjoy and make it happen. Once the twins come around, tivo won't exist as you will not have the time to sit down and watch much. Your life instead will be enriched with more precious entertainment.

    Best of luck to you!!

  22. It was eons ago when I had my first baby but my memory isn't failing me. To me, what you are feeling isn't lazy, is actually a nesting instinct. There was only one I was lugging around, but oh boy, from 7 months on, did I want to "nest". Much to the dismay of my then husband – but that is a whole other issue. Listen to what your body is telling you; the kidlets are yelling "ma, we want to sit and watch the boob tube" and "gimmie more of that lovely soft bread and cheeze". The Stephanie that you know as active, interested in everything around her and on the go is still there. She is just slowing down for a little while.

  23. Dude, you're pregnant! Your body needs you to be lazy, but not in the lazy-eat-everything-in-sight-and-not-exercise lazy.

    But the be-easy-on-your-body-cuz-it's-doing-the-most-amazing-thing-right-now lazy.

    You don't need to go out four nights a week, unless that's something YOU REALLY WANT TO DO.

    You should just lounge and sleep and take little walks, and go out to dinners with your new husband when you feel like it, and go see as many movies as you can get in because you will not be a movie-theater-attendee for probably two years, and then, your movies will all have cartoon monkeys and talking cars racing toward the finish line.

    But ya know what? That's okay. I love taking my kids to the movies, and watching the adventure unfold through their eyes.

  24. This post made me realize I never go out, and I'm certainly not pregnant. It made me realize how much older I am than you are, and how much I enjoy turning off mental clutter and stress by watching certain programs or surfing the Internet. Your restlessness makes me feel very old indeed, and reminds me that I suffered the same need to get up and go up until the age of 35. I've been sitting at home–happily–ever since. And single!

    By the way, if I were writing a sitcom, I'd make sure to watch not only decently written programs but poorly written ones as well. In fact I would probably watch the most embarrassing and awkward shows available, those that are full of obvious foreshadowing, leading dialogue, and hammy acting. Sometimes cringing is not only fun, but educational.

  25. It's so strange how we all view life differently. I love to frequent wonderful restaurants with decadent food, go to plays, have drinks with friends, go to charity events, see movies, etc… However, I simply cherish those nights I have at home when I can curl up with a good book. One of my favorite things in life is loving a book so much that I can't go to bed until I finish it!

    I just don't see anything wrong with liking to be at home, regardless if one is pregnant. I realize that massive amounts of television is not a great way to spend time, but there is something to be said for having bonding time with your private space….reading, gardening, cleaning, writing, and just being. Sometimes life is so hectic is nice to have a retreat, and that's really how I feel about being at home. Home is sort of an extension of me and I need to go there frequently to re-group.

  26. When those babies arrive, you'll be doing very little that's about you. Whatever you feel like doing now, do it. The point is, indulge yourself now and try not to be so hard on yourself if you're a little lazy or watching more TV. Laying around a bit can be so indulgent, as well as those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants evenings out.

    I do understand where you're coming from, though. Babies add so much to life, but there are so many things that can't be done spontaneously after they arrive. But sometimes spontaneity can be wearing after awhile. TV can be cozy, too.

  27. I've lived in NYC for more than a year now and in my opinion there is simply nothing better than coming in from the insanity of the city, cooking a delicious dinner, and relaxing with my boyfriend on the couch. Whether we watch TV, read or just talk, those moments–or hours, if we are so lucky–are my most treasured times.

    While you may equate domesticity to laziness, I wholeheartedly disagree. For some like me, the constant pressure in New York to get out and "do something–anything" all the time is pure torture. The fact that you're pregnant with twins makes me feel all the better about saying the following: Please, for the love of God, just calm down.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I totally hear ya, but you have to remember… I no longer live in a hustle and bustle city. I WORK FROM HOME all day long. I write in bed, with the television on. Yes, I get off my ass and go to the gym, but other than that, I relax all day long, inside, on my ass, remembering and writing my second memoir. It is work that I love, and I'm by no means at all complaining; I am, though, trying to justify exactly why I should be doing something at night, aside from doing what I do all day long.

  28. Since you seem to be in such a "respond to the commenters" mood – I'll ask the 20 million dollar question:
    When if ever are you moving back to NYC? I'm assuming the lease was extended past the 6 months… and now what? Raising the guppies there? Or is there something in the works we have yet to be privy to?

    I wish I could say I wasn't prying but I so am. And if its a case of "none-ya" as in none of ya' business, I totally understand. But from a fellow NY'ers perspective: Come Home!!! ;-)

    FROM STEPHANIE: We are not planning on moving back to NYC, at least not at this time. We like my OB/GYN and plan to deliver the gups here in Texas. I cannot imagine giving birth to twins in New York come late January or early February. It's just too damn cold. Not to mention having to travel with them in NYC taxicabs. Now, as for extending our lease on Texas life…

    We have not renewed our rental lease. We are, however, planning on remaining here, at least until the kids come. That's all I'm sayin' at this time.

  29. Hey…you should be taking total advantage of this alone time! Even if it's watching TV! Before you know it you will be enjoying spongebob/Barbie and talking baby talk to your friends! Please take it easy now because you have a lot of catching up to do…..remember 2! Good luck and just be yourself however yourself wants to be at the time!!!!

  30. How about some intense cooking? Choose recipes during the day, then around 4:30 (hey, that's now!), go to the supermarket and maybe some specialty stores to buy your ingredients. Cook like ya mean it, and then invite people over. Don't you have several dozen (hundred?) friends in Austin at this point? That said, I work alone and I'm somewhat solitary, and I'm no fan of sitting on my butt watching TV, pregnant or not. So I understand. But gestating two would seem to require downtime and rest.

  31. Hmmm, maybe you could get your fix from Chez Nous, a favorite little French bistro, downtown @ 510 Neches. Friendly service. Great food. Parking will be a pain, but I think they might have everything else you're craving. Lunch hours are short, though: Tue-Fri, 11:45-2pm (reopening at 6pm).

    If the weather is good & you're up for it, consider a walk before or after, taking 6th (not 5th) up to Congress (4 blocks). Go right on Congress & head for the Capitol if you want to see Austin's version of interesting people, our tiny little contemporary art museum, and a few downtown cafes. Or go left for 5 dull blocks and make your way down to the Town Lake trail, focusing on the part that runs behind the Four Seasons (1st/San Jacinto), if you want to see lovely landscaping, plenty of ducks, and well-heeled, Cafe at Four Seasons patrons…. Plus there're several comfy deck chairs if you need a break.

    I used to work downtown, and these were my favorite lunchtime activities. Well, not Chez Nous (budget-minded), but the rest of it. Or just hit Chez Nous for dinner sometime. I think you'd like it.

  32. Take your laptop and go hang out on the lakeside patio at Mozart's. Eat all the dessert you can stand, people watch, work on your laptop or surf the internet, and watch the boats go by.

    FROM STEPHANIE: While I do like Mozart's, I want somewhere indoors, where you walk in and don't know what the weather is outside. A moody French cafe with cain-back seats, awnings, and scratchy music. Tart pans, white aprons, copper pots. Wine served in tumblers.

  33. Man, talk about throwing in the towel on Texas so soon! Can't we at least have her for just a little while PLEASE?!?!?! Thank you Stephanie for at least giving Austin a chance. I think I remember something you wrote earlier about moving here, how you actually liked the "laid back pace" or something along those lines. I am a "new fan" and I don't know squat about pregnancy, but I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I hope you find the balance you're looking for. There are lots of small towns you can go to that are really a short drive, and in any one of them, you can find a place to sit, write and people watch. Have you been to Luckenbach yet? :) Just kidding, sorta. Also, as if you need to hear this, give Linus all the lovin you can, he's sure to miss this time w/momma once the guppies come along. One last thing, more wedding pics, PLEASE! So great to hear all went well for you.

  34. Is this delayed culture shock? You're in Texas. But thankfully you're in Austin. There's live music every night of the week. Poetry readings, I'm sure there are some of those too. Get the hell out of that house. Go enjoy yourself. Pretty soon you're going to have two babies that will need your undivided attention 25 hours a day. So go pick up a Chronicle and get goin'.

  35. You're not doing nothing with your nights, you are gestating!
    But seriously, you should do whatever you want and makes you happy, before the babies come and it's much harder to carve out the alone time you need.

    From the mom of a two year old and fan, Lisa

  36. First of all, congrats on the wedding!! Now, I must say, selfishly, I am so glad that you are home all day working on your 2nd book. Although you may feel bored, I cannot wait to read it, since I loved SUAD. Even if it means that you feel stuck inside, you're giving your readers something to look forward to – your 2nd memoir! For now, I read your blog every day, but I can't wait to sink my teeth into another SK book! Feel well, and enjoy the peace and quiet while you keep writing and writing and writing…

  37. Get out there and get your groove thing on now baby, because you won't be able to later.
    But do listen to your body and the babies. They will both tell you when it is time to STOP!
    When you do stop and linger .. don't feel bad, you need it, you deserve it and you are NOT going to get it again for a long time …

  38. Man, rest up during the day, get your butt out at night.. I've never had 'em but something tells me every last night out now will count later..

  39. here's an idea for you- go to Borders and get the new John Mayer cd "Continuum" (yes, it looks like it's spelled wrong, but it isn't). Track 5.

    oh, and watch out for strangers who will want to touch your pregnant belly !

  40. Eat lots of protein, it gives the guppies brain power! My favorite was deli stack turkey sandwiches with a dill pickle…YUMMMM!

    As for going out in the evenings…I say go for it. You'll be keeping the babies entertained as well as yourself.

  41. Paula Dean is my girl, she gets me so excited about food, and her recipes cause an orgasm in my mouth! Her accent draws me in and makes me want to move in with her and have her cook and talk to me all day long. After watching The Ya Ya Sisterhood I’ve dreamed of having a little southern speaking daughter calling me "Mamma"…I’ve even went as far as names, Emma Rae is top on my list. I like the sound of two first names.
    I think I got my self over excited for Grey's Anatomy tonight; there were way too many flashbacks. WEEDS this week was fantastic as usual, I loved the birthday song at the end. I feel you on the French cafes. When I was in Paris last summer there was this little cafe that we found the first day, and I fell in love. I went there every morning to write and to have an espresso and chocolate croissant; I can't find anything that compares to it here in the states. The people watching in Paris was unbelievable, I found myself starring at people, I’m sure they thought, "Crazy American" but I was ok with that. Don’t get me wrong though, I love my starbucks, but it's the same people day in and day out…I want something new, I want Paris!

  42. I've decided to do something different this year for my birthday – like spend it completely alone. At the piano bar in Wedgewood Hotel. And I'm going to write love letters to myself.. even though the whole thing terrifies me, especially if it's going to be a friday night. But somehow all of that kind of reminds me of you and your fun times out with your notepad and camera. Being an adult is totally all about learning to be alone and having fun all by yourself. Scary but exciting.

    I remember vaguely but I think you like your pearls? Check out my ebay listings and maybe you'll find something you like.

  43. Stphanie, what's the matter?
    You're pregnant it's absolutely natural prefer stay at home rather than go out every evening.
    Reading your blog I think you're not lazy, it's just the opposite! You seem so dynamic, full of ideas, life… I confess: I'm a bit envious of your life. Dont'worry about your laziness,enjoy it!

    A question for you: in which advertising agency have you worked? I work in a big american advertising agency in Milan: Ogilvy&Mather. I'm a copywriter. : )

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