The magazines all call it a “babymoon” – a last trip just the two of us before the baby comes and effectively takes over our life. Well, we spent last weekend in New York, for what I suppose was our babymoon. We had been meaning to go, and October in New York sounded wonderful at the time we booked the tickets (105 in July in Austin!). And it was.

On the baby front, this trip was exciting to me because it was the first time complete strangers were acknowledging I was pregnant. First a cleaner guy in the bathroom at the Rockefeller Center asked if I was pregnant and stepped aside after he had announced the bathroom closed (and after receiving what I guess must have been either an extremely pitiful face or else hardening death stare). People were getting up to give me their seat on the subway. A harsh and bitching classic New Yorker woman offered to let me in line in front of her for the bathroom (“You’re pregnant. Do you need to go in front of me?” I didn’t dare accept!). And finally, my friend Megan commented that everyone was looking at my belly and smiling. I was completely oblivious of this and didn’t notice, but apparently am looking pretty rotund these days.

We got in Friday noon and took a bus to Times Square. Tim carried my bags as we strolled from 42nd street to 11th where we checked into our hotel. Funny how 2 miles doesn’t seem like an inappropriate distance to walk when on vacation. We likened it to walking from our house to the capital in Austin (46th to 12th), which we would never do! We met up with Tim’s bro TJ and his girlfriend for siteseeing around ground zero, Battery Park and Wall Street, then enjoyed a fresh pasta meal followed by cannolis in Little Italy. That night Tim and I made it to the top of the Rock to see the city at night from the grand height of 70 stories! Here’s where I’ll break in and say that after Shanghai (and Taipei, and Beijing) New York did not impress on the hugeness scale. I’m sure it trumps in culture and the arts and American history, but as Tim put it “it looks so small!” The only place that came close to the dense population rush you get in Shanghai was Chinatown at noon on the mid-Autumn festival. We introduced TJ & Megan to dimsum after fighting the Chinatown crowds (watch! bag! Louis Vitton!) then headed to Grand Central Station, MOMA and banana pudding samples at a cupcake shop with a line around the corner. That night we met up with our friends from Shanghai, Megan & Adam, who had moved to the city. We got pizza at Keste and frozen yogurt at Pinkberry before going to an Improv show where apparently all the great comedians come from. This was a late night for me! We were up for soul food brunch in the morning and a perfect fall day to walk around Harlem and then a Brooklyn street fair. I was cajoled into walking across the Brooklyn bridge, then rewarded with a foot massage at one of the ubiquitous “Best Foot & Back Rub” places near M&A’s. After turning down one parlor that was advertising with a video of what appeared to be a frontal lower abdomen and upper thigh massage delivered to a young man by a young woman, we ended up at a place run by Chinese and charging the 1 rmb to $1 markup, and got one of the most relaxing foot massages I had had for those tired dogs. Delicious vegetarian Indian dinner at Channai, and we were back for a relatively early night. We were leaving the next day, but not until we had enjoyed bagels, cream cheese and lox (baked salmon for me) at Tal Bagels, and had a stroll around the Guggenheim and Central Park. We picked up more bagels for the flight home, and headed out. It was a great weekend, and babymoon!

One thing I do want to share is the horribly embarrassing and hilarious event that marked the beginning of my pregnancy brain. We were told mothers lose 7% of brain mass during pregnancy. Here’s proof: Tim and I brought wedding gifts for Megan and Adam to New York (we had missed their Independence Day wedding in Omaha, NE earlier this summer due to my inability to get out of bed without puking). Part of that gift was a cookbook from the same author of a blog Megan had introduced me to ( I thought this was perfect. When we got to their apartment (before the gift giving), Megan made a comment about a delicious soup she had made from the natural cookbook (the book is called Super Natural Cooking). The association didn’t hit me until I was up at 2am, telling Tim – Oh no! I already bought them this book! In the end it was a laugh, as they unwrapped the book for the second time. I’ll take a pregnancy brain card for that move.