Hi, all. I’ve received a number of concerned e-mails and comments in the past few days, wondering if the quiet around here meant that the baby has arrived, so let me say first: NO BABY YET.

I am, however, in my 36th week of pregnancy. And as of about ten days ago, I finished writing the manuscript for my next book – or this draft of it, anyway. There’s still plenty of revising and hand-wringing to do, but at least I now have something to improve upon.  And Essex, the bar we’re putting in next door to Delancey, is opening in less than a week. (!) Lots of Big Life Stuff. Huge Life Stuff. Giant Life Stuff.

Oddly enough, or oddly for me, I’ve been feeling okay with it. It was only this past Tuesday afternoon – as I stood in the dining room at Delancey, surrounded by power tools, cases of newly delivered wine and vegetables, upended chairs, slips of paper, wine samples, and dozens of jars of housemade bitters and liqueurs – that, for the first time, I felt like cowering in a corner. And screaming. Just briefly.

But mostly, it’s been okay. And I’m glad for that, because I want to be present for all of it, for every stupidly stupidly stupidly full minute of these last pre-child weeks: the late-night pizza at Delancey, the Essex menu-planning meetings and spot prawn tastings and cultured butter tastings and beer-boiled pretzel tastings, the errands, the quiet moments between errands, our fifth wedding anniversary, the half-days off, the feeling of driving around with the stereo* up and no baby yet in the backseat, no one to take care of but myself.  It feels right to pay attention now – to this summer, to my life Before. I know that sounds very final and dramatic and sort of sad and possibly even apocalyptic (dun dun DUUNNNN), but I don’t mean it that way. I just mean that it feels good to be in the middle of so much, and to pause and look around. Because I know everything will look different soon.

I took the photographs in this post over the past two weeks.  The ones of Essex, in particular, were taken last Friday. They’re already out of date. Along that wallpapered wall, there’s now a walnut banquette and a row of porcelain sconces, and there’s white marble on top of the bar and walnut cladding along its face. About an hour ago, pendant lights were being hung. I cannot possibly say enough complimentary things about our friend Joe Burmeister, the man who’s overseeing the whole mess and making it into something with actual shape. This time – unlike three years ago this Sunday, when we opened Delancey – Brandon and I are not the ones swinging the hammers. That may be part of why I’m not writing this from a psychiatric ward.

Instead, I’m eating my weight in tomatoes. No small feat, given that my weight is something special lately.

I’ve also made that blueberry crumble I mentioned in my previous post, and a fresh blueberry pie, and a peach crumble, and a loaf of zucchini bread. It was all tasty.

But to be 100% honest, none of it made me feel like writing about it. The truth is, I think I like a bowl of raw blueberries, or a few slices of peach, or a pile of plain roasted zucchini, more than anything interesting that I could make or bake from them.  The Life Lessons of Molly Wizenberg, age 33¾.

(Alice shares my sentiment.)

More soon.

* I’ve been listening to R.E.M.’s Murmur since I was 14, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. The best song, in my opinion, begins at 26:51.

P.S. Sarah Coffey! Are you reading this? You sent me (via Delancey) a very, very kind card and baby gift, but in a moment of overzealous straightening-up, I threw away the envelope with your address on it. Gah. If you’re reading this: thank you.