2008: A Year in Review

So last year, I reviewed my goal successes on my blog. Now, looking back at them and the goals that I set for 2008, I'd say I did pretty well. So here is 2008: A Year in Review!


2008 goal: Get couple friends.

Result: Murray and I haven't made friends in the ward, but at least we've spent some time socially with other couples. Of note are Jenny & Ed and Steve & Moleste (who technically are family, but since we like them socially, too, they count as couple friends).

2009 goal: Don't go into hermithood because of baby.


2008 goal: Get pregnant?

Result: Got pregnant way ahead of schedule. Go us!

2009 goal: Have a baby. Like, really really soon.


2008 goal: Lose 30 lbs. (Then get pregnant in time to gain again.)

Result: Did not lose any pounds, but did not gain much during pregnancy (about 15). Developed gestational diabetes which forced me to develop and maintain proper eating habits which I hope to continue (thus reducing my risk of developing type 2 diabetes).

2009 goal: Get down to undisclosed goal weight, five pounds at a time. (So I'll focus on this goal monthly rather than setting a large goal for the whole year.) Hopefully I will kick-start this weight-loss with at least a 15-pound jump! A friend said she actually weighed less after delivering her baby than she did when she got pregnant because of her gestational diabetes, so here's hoping.......


2008 goal: Read 5 books.

Result: Joined a book club and read 6 of those books, plus at least 5 on my own. Go me! Joining a book club did wonders for my book reading stats! Plus I've read most of a few books on pregnancy.

2009 goal: Read 15 books, at least 5 of which should be baby/family related.


2008 goal: Start designing wedding invitations as side-work.

Result: Designed several wedding invitations and have built up a small collection of templates, but have yet to market my templates properly. Did at least one wedding invite job for profit this year, but also two adoption announcements for profit. Yay! Of course, all of this transitioned from "side-work" to full-time work as it is part of my full-time business now.

2009 goal: Set up proper website, market myself, and design some baby announcements and Christmas card templates before September 2009 so that I can get in the game.


2008 goal: Read the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons each week, even though I will be teaching the sunbeams. (I do not yet know what kind of scripture study preparing my lessons entails... do 3-year-olds know how to speak yet? Do they still pee their pants?)

Result: At least I prepared my sunbeams lessons... And I found out that they do sometimes still pee their pants, or dresses as the case may be!

2009 goal: Read the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons each week, even though I will be teaching some other primary class that I don't know about yet.


New 2009 Business-Related goals:

Shower, brush my teeth, and do my makeup at least 5 days out of 7.
Get a functioning, kick-A website.
Market myself better.
Focus on work that frees me up (like templates vs. custom work).

Other tidbits:

* Designed two day planner designs that have been published and printed and used by thousands.
* Designed items that will be sold in superstores (like Target and Office Depot and Staples) in 2009, AND on the home shopping network. Boo-yah.
* Sold original creations at craft fairs.
* Was (and am) married to a man who had an actual piece of actual artwork in an actual museum.

Places traveled:
Canada (all the way up to Moosonee)
Texas (all the way down to Galviston)
San Diego (no Mexico this year)


How we did on our list of 2008 other plans of note:
Buy a 24-inch iMac.---Check! And it's beautiful. AND we bought a powerbook, too because we're greedy.
Go to Canada (maybe twice).---Went once and did a good job of it!
Go to Texas.---Check! And I can't wait to go back!
Go to Europe?---Got pregnant instead. Yay!
Go to San Francisco?---Went back to San Diego this year and plan for San Francisco in 2009.
Go to Las Vegas to see Love.---Nope! Hopefully 2009 will be a good year for this!
Go birdwatching together.---Nope! Unless you count driving up and down the I-15.
Make lots of paintings and artwork.---Yep! Our house is like unto a gallery. Except that I have a hard time hanging things so very little of our artwork is actually on the walls right now...
Have fun day trips.


2009 other plans of note:

Learn how to be good parents.
Take lots of pictures of us and our activities and our baby.
Use lots of cool and different cameras.
See Wicked in Salt Lake?
See Love in Vegas?
Go to San Francisco.
Make a new calendar for 2010.
Set up business properly and legally.
Make lots of art just for us.

No Christmas Baby

Well, I'm happy to inform all of you that we officially did not have a Christmas baby. But now that Christmas is over, I keep asking myself, when's he going to come?? So far the pregnancy has whizzed by really quickly, but now that the birth is imminent and we've gotten all the big holidays out of the way (sorry New Year's Eve and New Year's Day---you just don't cut it as far as Distraction from Baby goes), I'm really ready for the baby to come.

Today I am 39 weeks and 1 day. I checked my friend's pregnancy blog that she kept throughout her pregnancy, and after she wrote her 39 week update (when she was 39 weeks and 1 day) she immediately went into labor. So now I'm trying her trick. We'll see if I have any contractions after I press "Publish Post."

Murray and I made a list of really important things to do before the baby comes, and I think we did all or most of them. We did all the super important ones, anyway. Like Murray painted my toe nails because I have trouble reaching them. Maybe I just need to make a new list of chores to do before the baby comes and work my way through those. "Get a haircut" needs to be on that list, but my salon is closed on Mondays so I'll need to do that tomorrow.

I realized that we don't have a great picture of my belly profile. Maybe I'll get Murray to do that this afternoon. In the meantime, this iPhone self portrait will have to do...

(Now that I'm posting this belly shot, can the baby come? Let's see what happens when I hit Publish Post!)

(P.S. baby, please come on a day when I've done my hair and makeup. Today would be a good day.)

Rethinking Phone Etiquette

Last night I had a brilliant idea about the letterbox that I'd like my parents to bring out to me this Christmas. When I requested it a few days ago, telling my mother that it was absolutely necessary that I be reunited with my letterbox, she told me that it was quite large and she didn't know if she wanted to bring it because they were already bringing lots of stuff.

In thinking about my letterbox again last night at 1:00, I realized that if my mom just packed clothes inside the letterbox, and the letterbox inside her luggage, that it wouldn't take up much room at all! Not wanting to forget my idea, I decided to text my mother right away so that she could wake up in the morning and find the text. This is the text I sent. At 1:00 in the morning, which was 3:00 on the East Coast:

You can pack things INSIDE the letter box and then it won't take much room!

And my eyes bugged out of my skull about thirty seconds later when I received a text back, and I said to Murray, "Oh crap! I just woke up my mom!! She's texting me back at 3:00 a.m!"

Mom: I gotup because i thought u were going to hospital

Me: I wouldn't text you about the hospital!! But now I'm laughing so hard there are tears!

Mom: Brat. You got your dad up too. Im going back to bed.

Whoops. Now that I think of it, with an iPhone, it would have taken just as much effort to email her as it took to text her, and emailing her certainly wouldn't have woken up her or my dad.

Murray has a similar complaint. Every time I call him, he thinks that I might be in labor. So every phone conversation starts with, "I'm not in labor." But one of these times, I will be in labor! So he feels just as anxious every time I call him. The iPhone has a super obnoxious "alarm" ring that sounds like a prison alarm. We talked about making that the labor ring, but I can't figure out any way to rig that. I mean, if we had a land line, I could set his phone to the "alarm" ring for the land line and only use the land line when I go into labor. But I only have one phone at my disposal. So I guess it'll just have to be a surprise. One of these days, he'll get a call and I'll say, "I am in labor!!"

My guess is that that day will be December 28th. (Which actually is a Sunday, so I won't be calling Murray anyway because we'll be together all day.) Murray's guess is the 23rd. Does anyone else care to take a guess? (The official due date is January 4th.)

Well Meaning Old Man

So I swear I have blogged about this before, but after I was recently reminded of this story, I searched any key word I would have used in my blog post and could not find the post at all. So if this is a repeat, I sincerely apologize. If it's not, it's definitely a post that needs to be written down for all posterity. And if I could only get a few more old men to start reading my blog, maybe someone could actually learn a lesson.

Back when I was about 20 or so, I got into a great bread-making kick. I'd make homemade bread of different varieties about 3-4 times a month. On one of these blessed fresh bread days, I was running late for work, so instead of making my lunch, I just grabbed all the ingredients to make it at work. I can't even remember specifically what type of sandwich I was making anymore, but I know that it included two pieces of freshly sliced homemade bread, mayo, cheese, and some sort of meat.

As I was assembling my sandwich in the breakroom, an older gentleman was watching me. Once the sandwich was assembled, I sat down to enjoy it. This is the conversation that ensued:

OG: That looks like homemade bread!

Me: It is homemade bread. I made it last night.

OG: And that looks like real mayo!

Me: It is real mayo!

OG: Well, if your husband doesn't come right in here and take that seat beside you, I just don't know what I'm going to do!

Me: Oh, I'm not married.

OG: Your boyfriend, then.

Me: I'm not dating anyone.

OG: Well. I just don't know what's wrong with men these days. [Pause.] I bet you're from Montana!

Me: Uh... no. I'm not from Montana.

OG: Wyoming then!

Me: I'm from Canada.

OG: Of course! Alberta! That's great farm country!

Me: I'm from Northern Ontario.

OG: Oh. [Pause.] Speak French then?

Me: Yes.

OG: Oh. [Pause.] Well, you remind me of a stout farm girl from Montana!

[Let's take a moment to point out that I was not wearing overalls and I did not have my hair done up in a French braid, okay?]

OG: In fact, there's this great book, and you remind me of the woman in the book!

He went on to tell me all about the children's book Fanny's Dream, where to boil down the plot, I can tell you, a stout farm girl is waiting for a husband who is far above her in looks and social status and all that stuff, and she ultimately ends up settling for a simple (dumb) man who is sweet but, well, you know. Simple. And dumpy. Just like Fanny is herself.

So what part of all of that was supposed to make me feel good about myself? Being like unto a stout farm girl, or settling for a stupid husband because I can't get what I really want? I mean, yes, I subsequently bought the book because it was just too funny to have been compared to the herione, and I know that the take-home message isn't "settle for a husband" or anything, but still.

And I'm more than happy to note that many years later, I found a man who I didn't have to settle for, and who happened to be everything on my list and more. But come to think of it, I have never made homemade bread for my precious Murray, so maybe this stout, Montana-farm-like girl had better get a move on that, just to show Murray how much she appreciates him!

Things I've Done

I saw this list on my friend's blog and decided to do it, too, even though I don't typically do stuff like this. So I've bolded everything I've done in this list.

1. Started your own blog
(I think they just start with that to make you feel good.)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (at least I suspect it was...)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept overnight on a train (but I've slept overnight on a ship that was not a cruise ship)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (how do you define "ill"?)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (how have I never done this??)
26. Gone skinny dipping (I had to bathe at my cottage with no plumbing for a whole summer. When no one else is up at 5:30 and only the ducks are watching, the swim suit can come off!)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden a gondola in Switzerland
29. Seen a total eclipse (of my heart)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (I'm sure I have at some point.)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (And Murray and I walked on Moonlight Beach by daylight!)
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (And I will again and again!)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (will put on my to-do list for next time it rains)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (I think I did...)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (if by “bought” you mean “paid my parents” and “new” you mean “I never owned it before”)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (I've been subpoenaed as a witness twice...)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (almost...!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (if by "involved" you mean, I worked in a law office and did paperwork...)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (if by a "bee" you mean "hornet")
100. One cavity or less (Yes, I have had one cavity or less in my lifetime. Currently I have more than one.)

Auto Pilot

Isn't it wonderful that my body knows how to make a baby? Isn't it wonderful that I don't actually have to know the science behind dividing cells, specializing, making lungs, liver, heart, blood, and guts? Seriously, because our baby would be in big trouble if I were in charge of putting him together myself.

See exhibit A. This is some work that I did for El Senor. El Senor provided me with a vector file of a body silhouette and a non-vector file of guts---the stomach, and the small and large intestines. And all I had to do was use the non-vector file to make a vector illustration of the stomach and guts to fit into the vector illustration of the body. (Sorry with my being all technical by using the word "vector"---let's just say that vector work is my specialty.)

So I made the guts and I put them on the body.

And then El Senor informed me that I positioned the rectum at the man's belly button.

Whoops! How was I supposed to know that's a rectum? But thanks to my auto pilot, our little developing baby will not poop out of his belly button.

Murray's Moments

Here are a couple of cherished Murray moments from the past week:


Remember the tiny jump drives that we got? One of the advantages of these was that they'd fit in a wallet. I carry mine in my wallet. Murray carries his on... our desk at home. How convenient! Anyway, when we were out for dinner earlier this week during one of our not-Disneyland adventures, Murray and I decided to head to Urban Outfitters. Murray said that he'd like to find a wallet like mine, which is really a card case. But you know. For men. And then that way he could carry his jump drive with him. So I told him that I really like my wallet, but part of the problem is that the springs aren't very tight, and so I am careful every time I open my wallet. Also, my jump drive isn't secured to anything. So I really really have to remember to be very careful every time I open my wallet, and if he could do the same, then he should get a masculine version of this wallet. But he shouldn't get one if always having to be careful would be annoying to him.

Then, giving him my wallet, I said, "Here. Give it a test drive. Open up the wallet and see if you'd find it annoying." He opened my wallet and my jump drive immediately fell into his drink.

I think that I can safely say that Murray failed his test drive miserably.

(Fortunately, one of the features of these jump drives that really appealed to Murray is that they can go through the washing machine and come out unscathed. You'll be glad to know that I've used my jump drive since that night, and it works just fine.)


A while ago, I was telling Murray that earlier in the year, when we taught the class that was one year older than the sunbeams, I was impressed that they all colored within the lines. Our sunbeams didn't. But now, it's the end of the year, and our sunbeams still don't color in the lines, so when does a child magically learn to color in the lines?

Murray then gave me a lecture about how coloring in the lines isn't necessarily better, but people just think it's better. And they tell kids that what they're doing is wrong. But kids should be allowed to express themselves without limitations and they should never be told that coloring outside of the lines is wrong. It stifles creativity.

So the other day we were at Murray's friend Peter's house. Murray and Peter grew up together. Peter has an adorable 3-year-old daughter. While we were there, she brought out some of Peter's old Star Wars toys---the very same Star Wars toys that Murray and Peter played with as children. And this is the conversation that I witnessed:

C: This is the bad witch. [Holding out The Emperor.]
M: That's a man. That's the Emperor. It's not a woman.
C: No, it's a girl! It's a bad witch!
M: But it's the Emperor, and the Emperor isn't a woman. He's a man!
C: But I'm pretending that she's a witch!
M: Okay. You can pretend. But seriously, just so that you know, it's not really a woman. It's a man. It's the Emperor.

And then I gently reminded Murray that we are not to stifle children's creativity by telling them to color in the lines or by telling them that the Emperor isn't a woman.

My Dream

A few things that you should know before you read about my dream:

* The Boy has a new home in a nice new complex.
* Murray and I looked at a house the other day that has a stand-up shower in the master bedroom.
* Murray and I were at the Gateway recently and I was watching people bravely walk through the fountain in the middle of winter.
* I still have GDS and last night was Murray's work's Christmas party and even though I ate most of my dessert I still didn't spike my blood sugar because I am all kinds of awesome.
* I did laundry all day yesterday and finally laundered a turquoise maternity top with 3/4 length sleeves that I have been looking forward to wearing.
* Murray and I recently bought a fake rubber leech to give to my grandpa for Christmas because it's pretty much exactly what he'd want to find in his stocking.

Okay. That's about all I can account for. Here goes:

I was over at The Boy's house and I looked in his master bathroom, and he had a deluxe standing-only shower, but it was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Not only did water come down from above, but there were jets placed around the base of the shower that shot water up from below, yielding the most deluxe luxury shower I've ever seen. I decided I wanted to try out his shower. But all of a sudden, the shower wasn't in his master bedroom. It was in the middle of his condo area. So I was disappointed that to enjoy the most deluxe luxury shower ever, I'd have to wear a bathing suit. But I was wearing a bathing suit and it was the greatest bathing suit I had ever seen! It was very retro and it was turquoise and it went really low on the hips and had a frilly skirt attached to it and it was one-piece and it actually fit my bust (which no other bathing suit has managed to do since puberty) and it looked darling, except that I hated that it had 3/4 length sleeves. I really wished it had no sleeves at all.

I don't remember experiencing the shower itself, actually. I think that by the time I was ready for it, the shower itself was closed. It was replaced by a large glass dome (about 5 feet tall and 10 feet in circumference) on which thousands of gourmet chocolates were artistically arranged. And so I started eating chocolates, avoiding the ones on the top of the dome, which had started to melt and had bird poop on them. And I ate my fill of chocolates.

But then I realized that I had to get home and the fastest way to get there was to run through a swampy field. So I ran through a swampy field barefoot, and when I got out of the field I thought that was dumb because it was probably full of leeches, and sure enough, there was a leech that was attached to my toe, so I had to get salt. So I went into the vacation home that my family was renting and El Senor and Reggie were in the kitchen and I asked them to give me the salt and they did, and it was a plastic, greasy salt grinder and I ground salt onto the leech and killed it.


Anyone care to interpret?

Not Disneyland, Part 2: A Screenplay

[It's 10:00 pm in the Terreno di Amore home. Cicada sits on the couch watching television. Murray comes downstairs towards her. She hears him as he comes.]

Murray: Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

[Cicada fumbles for the remote and pauses her program.]

Cicada: What?

[Murray stumbles into the living room, holding his head.]

Murray: Oh no. Oh no.

Cicada: What happened?

Murray: I sliced my head open on the ledge of my drawing desk. I felt it go in deep. It's going to start bleeding a lot really soon.

Cicada: Oh! Okay. Um... let me help.

[Cicada and Murray go to the kitchen sink. Murray takes his hand away from the wound; two fingers are covered in blood. Cicada takes a paper towel, folds it in quarters, and applies it to the wound.]

Cicada: Should we go to the ER?

Murray: I could hear it slice into my head. I think I'm definitely going to need stitches. It's pretty deep.

Cicada: Okay. You go sit down. I'll call my visiting teacher because she's a nurse and she can tell us if we should go.

[Murray sits down and Cicada calls her visiting teacher.]

Cicada: Hi, Katie?

Katie (sounds groggy): Are you okay? Is everything okay?

Cicada: I'm fine. My husband cut his head on a desk and we were just wondering if we should go to the ER.

Katie: What does it look like?

Cicada: Hm. I haven't really looked at it. Let's see. [Removes paper towel from Murray's head. The wound isn't bleeding too badly.] Oh. It's about 3/4 inch long and the sides aren't touching... We should probably go to the ER, huh?

Katie: I hate to tell people not to go to the ER. Your biggest worry is that it would get infected. Since Instacare is closed, I'd go to the ER. Go to Orem Community because they're much less busy at night.

Cicada: Okay. Should I give him Tylenol or anything?

Katie: Don't give him anything, but you can put ice on it.

Cicada: Okay. Thanks. [Hangs up phone.] Okay, Murray. We do need to go to the ER.

Murray: Okay.

[Cicada gets an ice pack for Murray. Cicada and Murray leave the house together; Murray is wearing a t-shirt, pajama pants, and a nice grey blazer. Cicada is dressed as if she attended a fake funeral earlier in the day, which, in fact, she did.]

[In the car, driving to the hospital, Murray and Cicada begin to joke about their unexpected date to the ER and the events of the evening.]

Cicada: I think that I woke up my visiting teacher. She sounded pretty tired. Oh well. It's her job.

Murray: Do you think that she's ticked that you called?

Cicada: Uh, well, no. I mean, she's my visiting teacher. That's what they're supposed to do is be there to help and be called upon.

Murray: Yeah, but no one ever actually does that.

Cicada: Sure they do! You can ask your visiting teachers and home teachers to do stuff. That's what they're there for!

Murray: Yeah, but it's an unspoken rule that you don't actually ever take them up on their offer to help you if there's anything you need.

Cicada: That's so not true.

Murray: Yes it is. You're not supposed to actually ask them to do anything.

Cicada: I've always asked my visiting teachers or home teachers to do something for me if I needed their help. Like the one time that The Boy sat on my bed and it couldn't support both our weight and it broke. When my home teachers asked if there was anything they could do, I asked if either of them could weld metal. One said he could, and I told him that he could fix my bed for me! I gave him the broken parts and he fixed it! Or there was the time my grandma died and I called my visiting teacher at one in the morning to ask her to drive me and The Boy to the airport at 6:00 that very morning. This is how the system works!

Murray: Yeah, but nobody does that. At least it's not done here in Utah.

Cicada: You are a horrible person.

[The couple pulls up to Orem Community ER. They enter the tiny ER waiting/reception room. A mother with her son are ahead of them in line, checking in.]

Cicada: It's so funny waiting in line in an ER. No one ever seems to be in a big hurry.

Murray: I know! Don't they prioritize by the severity of the injury?

Cicada: Well, yeah, they probably do. But if you're waiting in line, they figure your injury isn't bad enough to warrant immediate care.

[Murray gives Cicada a skeptical look.]

Cicada: Well, it's true! If you had severed your arm, we wouldn't be standing here in line with me holding your severed arm. We'd get in right away.

Murray: I don't know. There's not many people around here.

Cicada: Yeah, but if I were waving around your severed arm, and we were yelling, people would come and help us immediately.

Murray: Oh, I know! You'd get immediate help if you came on an ambulance. You have to come by ambulance.

Cicada: You can drive up to the ER yourself and still get immediate assistance. Haven't you ever watched ER?

Murray: That's a dramatization and I don't watch shows like that.

Cicada: Well, people can just drive up, and they drag their friend's body through the doors and they yell, "Somebody help me! Help me!" If this were a serious injury, we'd be making a lot more noise.

Murray: But that's in places like Chicago.

Cicada: The same stuff happens here in Orem, too. Just on a less frequent basis. If we were making a lot of noise, we'd get service immediately.

[The receptionist finishes with the mother and son, and Murray and Cicada check in. They then go to their seats to wait and watch the Jay Leno show on TV.]

Murray: I hate that guy.

Cicada: Didn't you tell me yesterday that I have a prominent chin, but not a Jay Leno chin?

[Murray and Cicada intermittently watch the Jay Leno show, discuss whether or not they would choose to plastinate Murray's severed arm a la Body Worlds, and laugh about the fact that with Cicada's pregnant belly, everyone should assume that she's the one who needs to be in the ER.]

Cicada: Do you want me to take a picture of your head wound with my iPhone and then you can see it?

Murray: Yeah.

[Cicada takes a picture of Murray's head wound and then shows it to him. The couple laughs about the head wound. Others in the ER begin to get restless and ask when it's going to be their turn to leave. The mother and son are soon called away. Murray and Cicada are left alone in the room with one other ER patron, a plump young lady in her 20s.]

ER Patron: So why are you here?

Murray: I hit my head on the ledge of my desk and cut it open.

ER Patron: I figured you guys would be the first to be called in.

Cicada: Yeah... it's really not that bad. But we were wondering how people are prioritized.

ER Patron: This is a better place to come than Utah Valley Regional, though. The last time I went there, I waited for five hours.

Murray: Wow. This is lots better.

ER Patron: Yeah. [To Cicada:] When are you due?

Cicada: January 4th.

[They talk about the baby for a while until Murray and Cicada are called back to the ER. Back in the ER, a doctor and nurse inspect Murray's wound. They marvel at the amount of hair that has been mashed into the deep cut. They dig out the hair, disinfect the wound, and inject it with numbing agent to prepare for the staples. This is the most painful part, and Murray makes a face that communicates his pain and makes his insensitive wife laugh. The doctor inserts two staples into Murray's head, a la Frankenstein, and tell the couple they are free to leave as soon as they have their discharge/staple care instruction sheets. On their way out of the ER, Cicada generously offers to treat Murray to his copay. She whips out her wallet and pays the receptionist $200.]

Murray: Wow. Two hundred dollars.

Cicada: I know! We're slowly but surely spending all that money that we would have spent if we had decided to go to Disneyland.

Murray: I wouldn't have hurt my head and had to go to the ER if we'd gone to Disneyland. We could have had a wonderful day of fun and adventure at Disneyland for that amount of money.

Cicada: Instead we got to spend an hour in the ER. It's like Adventureland.

Murray: That is not my Fantasyland.

Not Disneyland

A few months ago, Murray's sisters announced that they were going to go to Disneyland for the first few days of December. Of course we were invited, but everyone basically understood that at that point, I'd be super pregnant and ready to burst at any moment.

Well, a little over a week ago, I realized that the trip was only a week away, and although I was pregnant, I didn't feel super pregnant, and I didn't feel as if I were ready to burst. I figured I'd be up for a trip to Disneyland. Murray loves Disneyland so much, and I really wanted the opportunity of going with him and his family and experiencing the park with him. (I went when I was 9 and was singularly unimpressed, to be honest. But I was ready for Murray to change my mind.)

So I told Murray that I figured we could go. I called the doctor and found out that 35 weeks was the cut off point for travel, and since I'd only be 34 weeks, I'd be okay to go. So we made plans to go to Disneyland, and we were really excited.

And then I went in for a diabetes appointment one week before we would have left, and I was reminded that I was actually 34 weeks. One week before leaving for Disneyland. Which would put me at 35 weeks when it was actually time to leave for Disneyland. Which is the cut off point for travel.

We went to the doctor's office the next morning for our regularly scheduled appointment and asked the doctor if it really was such a big deal for me not to travel at 35 weeks. And she said that she really couldn't recommend it. She said that we could go and be absolutely fine, or we could go and have the baby. She said that the choice was ours to make, but as our doctor, she had to recommend against it.

And Murray said that he'd bet money that I wouldn't have the baby while we were in California, but then we realized that we'd literally be betting $10,000 on it, because that's what it would cost to have an out-of-network baby.

So we canceled our trip. Poor, poor Murray. It's one of many sacrifices that we'll be making for this baby.

BUT, I figured that Murray needed a little getaway, not to replace Disneyland, but to at least make up for it in some small way. So yesterday we had a surprise date. I sent him to work dressed up in a shirt and tie and told him that we'd leave straight from work for our evening's activities.

After work, I picked Murray up and we drove together to Salt Lake City, where I took him to Madeline's, a steak house. Murray had recently decided that if he were able to choose his last meal, it would be a good steak. The decor of the steak house was very... not our style. There were animal heads mounted all over, and signs about cowboys. But our food was delicious!

After dinner, we headed to the Gateway to kill some time before the night's main (and still secret) event. When we headed back to the car, Murray was surprised that we weren't walking to the night's main event. He had guessed that I was taking him to a 3-D movie at the Planetarium. Nope!

We made our way closer and closer to the University of Utah and I started hinting at what we'd be doing. Within a couple of blocks of Kingsbury Hall, Murray finally figured out that we were going to see the Odyssey Dance Company's version of It's a Wonderful Life, Murray's favorite movie. I told him that it's a family tradition, since last year we went to Springville's local production of It's a Wonderful Life. Every year, we'll have to try and find a new adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life to see!

Murray is an excellent gift receiver, and he made me feel like I'd just given him the moon! We enjoyed the production very much and then had a nice drive back home.

So here is how our evening was like Disneyland:

* A themed restaurant with fake (or dead) animals.
* A Disney Princess---Sleeping Beauty. (See photo.)
* A show (Murray keeps telling me that Disneyland is not about the rides---it's about the shows).

Here is how our evening was not like Disneyland:

* Really good food for not too much money.
* No animatronics.
* About 1/5th of the expense.
* We didn't have a baby in the It's a Small World tunnel.

Murray my love, we'll make it to Disneyland soon!

Card Making

I meant to make Christmas card templates this year so that I'd be ready for the holiday season. It turns out that I should plan on having these done by September if I want to do them. So I'm missing out this year. But next year I'll be ready.

That doesn't mean that I can't make Christmas cards on demand. Here's the card that I made for El Senor to hand out to all his neighbors.

We were just sitting on the couch on Saturday and I was making cards for my sil's family, and a request was made to make a card for El Senor, but I didn't have a picture of him. So I just had to draw one. With one finger and a track pad, I would say this isn't such a bad job. And Murray, who did laugh at me when I drew the eye, then commented that it is actually very Picasso-esque. Murray can put a positive spin on anything.

Pie Making

There is a really hot girl in some pie making videos over on petit elefant today...

My Big Cheat

I am pretty sure that everyone out there reading my blog thinks that I'm perfect, and they would not be far off. But today, I'd like to talk about a moment when I was not perfect. I cheated.

Last night, Murray and I went out for our date night dinner. With gestational diabetes, finding restaurants is not always the easiest thing. I mean, you can pretty much rule out any Italian place, for starters. So we've even opted to eat in for a few of our date nights. But last night I wanted to try Spark, a new restaurant/lounge that I've seen downtown Provo. When I first saw it, I was a little hesitant to try it because although it looked hip and cool from the outside, the sign said, "Restaurant/Lounge" and I haven't been to a lounge before and I really didn't know what to expect. But recently a friend recommended the restaurant to us, so we decided to go.

Stepping into Spark feels a little like stepping out of Provo. In a really good way. Although we showed up at prime time on a Friday night, we were seated immediately. (This is something that I would like to see change since it makes me scared that now we've discovered this place, not enough people will be enjoying it to keep it in business.)

Our hostess who seated us explained the menu a little. They offer "small plates" or appetizers and she recommended ordering three or four small plates as the ideal way to dine there. Then she directed our attention to the bar menu, which I didn't pay much attention to because 1) alcohol and 2) fruit juice (forbidden to me while gestating). When our waitress came by shortly afterward, she said, "I'm sure that our hostess explained our non-alcoholic bar to you." Suddenly that menu became much more interesting to me. The drinks look really delicious and creative and I am excited to go back after the baby comes and try something out. She told us that the Shirley Temple comes topped with cotton candy, which I thought was a little bizarre until I actually saw someone's. Then I wanted one immediately. BUT this isn't where I cheat. So rest assured, I'm still waiting a while to try their drink menu.

Murray and I ordered some fries with aioli garlic dip, braised beef with cabbage, and crispy pork on polenta. Since I had no idea how many carbs to expect with this combination, I told Murray that we might even consider dessert (so that I could have one bite) depending on how the food was prepared.

The presentation of the food was fabulous. We were served our fries first. They were very thin, shoe-string fries cooked to perfection. While we were eating the fries, a waitress brought out a taste from the kitchen---an apple cream soup---for us to try out. What a taste experience! Our soup came in tiny pots with tiny spoons. And it tasted like creamy apple bacon. Soooooo good and such a pleasant surprise from the kitchen! Next came our braised beef and cabbage and our crispy pork on polenta. The braised beef and cabbage may not have seemed as gourmet to me because it was a lot like cabbage rolls that I had regularly while growing up because of Eastern European immigrants to Canada. But it was certainly delicious. (I've never been known to say no to a cabbage roll!) The crispy pork on polenta was definitely my favorite. It was topped with perfectly sweet grapefruit.

The portions were small, which is the sort of thing that you respect about a place like this. It means that you can enjoy the food experience without feeling stuffed and overdone. It also means that there's room for dessert.

And this is where the cheating comes in. On the menu was fried chocolate pudding. And darn it, I have been wanting a real dessert for what seems like an eternity now. And this sounded too good to pass up. Small portions of chocolate pudding are coated in an almond flour and then briefly fried to crisp the shell. It is served with orange ice cream to complement the chocolate.

And here is my paragraph of justification: My doctor said she was part of a control group for gestational diabetes where she didn't have it, but she had to test her blood at certain times during the day. One day, she ate a lot of carbs without really realizing it and when she tested her blood, it was in the 160s. I'm never allowed to go over 130, and I typically don't (when I do, it's never even as high as 140). So I figured that if, like my doctor, I didn't have GDS, sometimes my blood sugar would naturally be higher because of the food choices that I make, then with GDS, it wouldn't hurt to go over just once. And later, my sister-in-law pointed out that when women don't manage their GDS properly, they get put on insulin, but it takes a couple of weeks of improperly eating before they're switched to insulin. Anyway, at the restaurant, I also reasoned that exercise is like a shot of insulin, so Murray and I could go swimming in our club house pool after dinner so that I could help my insulin deliver the glucose to my cells.

Okay. Justification done. Now let's move on to gratification. This dessert was AMAZING. "Pudding" does not describe what was in these crispy almond-flour shells. It's more like a rich chocolate not unlike pots de creme (which my mom would make growing up and it still seems gourmet... except for when we'd bastardize it by eating it with marshmallow peeps and call it pots de peep...). The ice cream (which Murray expected to be a bright orange sherbet and wasn't very excited about it) was a perfectly creamy orange. The whole experience was wonderful---so wonderful! Of course, the problem was that there were three little puddings and only two of us. But then Murray said that if I wanted to have a second one, I could have it all to myself. And then I almost broke down in tears in the middle of the restaurant.

I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area. It was a fun experience and we'll definitely be going back. The prices were extremely reasonable (our bill came to $28, which is what we paid recently for a meal at Bajio) and the experience is far beyond run-of-the-mill Utah dining.

(And in case you're still wondering about my blood sugar... we got home and got our bathing suits on and headed over to the clubhouse, only to discover that the entire pool had been taken over by a singles ward activity where they were playing an organized sport, so slipping into the pool would have been like stepping onto a basketball court during someone else's game. I am not allowed to do hot tubs as a pregnant woman, lest I cook my fetus. So basically Murray and I dangled our legs in the hot tub for 40 minutes, hoping that the awful singles activity would eventually end, and dodging the football whenever it came hurling at our faces. But I kicked my legs for all of those 40 minutes. It ultimately didn't help too much. My blood sugar was 160. Little baby Leland, I'm very sorry for any fat cells that you might have put on due to my indulgence. And a note to the singles who monopolized the pool even though they don't pay for it and we do: When Murray and I went home, we *****[censored]*****. So there.)

What's this? What's this?

There seems to be a free advent calendar download over on Petit Elefant today and I can truly say that it's the coolest advent calendar that I could possibly conceive! Look! I have one, too!

Big Head and a Mullet

So we've found a name for our baby, but today I'm considering changing it. Is there any name that means "big head and a mullet"?

Today Murray and I went in for a bonus ultrasound. Yay for gestational diabetes! This ultrasound was different from our first one. First of all, the technician was not white trash. Second of all, we saw a lot more of our baby. Like his little lips and the sucking motions he was making. Precious! And third of all, a doctor came in to perform part of the ultrasound, too. So since we've always said that if anyone would mess up the gender of our baby, it would be our first technician, we asked the doctor if he could confirm the sex of our baby. He said that making a mistake was always a possibility. But then he added, "But if this isn't a boy, I'd have a really hard time explaining what I'm seeing here." Phew! I've had nightmares of having a baby girl after buying all the baby boy stuff!

Anyway, the whole point of the ultrasound was to see how the baby is doing with me having gestational diabetes and all. The good news is that he is right on track! Oh, and he weighs 5 lbs 1 oz. And the doctor said that I'd need no additional tests for my pregnancy and I can proceed as if this is a normal pregnancy, as long as my blood sugar numbers are in check. Yay!

Now, here's what we did learn that is really really interesting. But first you need a little background on something that Murray is a little self-conscious about. That is, his head size. I am a hat person and look forward to wearing hats in the fall and winter. This doesn't mean that I need my husband to be a hat person, too. Murray is, in fact, not a hat person. This is due to the fact that many hats simply don't fit his cranium. Poor Murray. He's just a little self-conscious about it, and even last night as we were going through boxes of old stuff to clean out before the baby comes, he showed me a hat that he spent $30 just because it actually is one of the few that properly fits his head. So the point is, just know that this hat thing is kindof a thing that Murray already feels is a short coming. (But it totally shouldn't be something that he worries about.)

So back to the ultrasound room. Our wt ultrasound technician had told us back at 20 weeks that our baby was measuring a week big. Today's ultrasound technician said the same thing. But then the doctor who was following up with us explained that the only reason our baby is measuring a week big is that his head is large. Then he explained that some people simply have larger heads, and this means that they have superior intelligence (that part was a joke), and it also means that it is very difficult for these people to find hats that fit. And that is not a problem at all, it just means that the head is larger and you need to find a larger hat, and it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with your head. At this point, the ultrasound screen started shaking because I couldn't control my laughter. I said, "He gets it from his father." (On our way out of the hospital, Murray caught his reflection and started looking at his head again: "Are you sure that my head isn't disproportionately large? Does it look okay?")

In addition to baby's big head, we also found out that baby has a really healthy mullet. Hair shows up on the ultrasound as bright light, and apparently it grows on the back of the head first. There was LOTS of bright light on the back of our baby's head and the technician said that his hair is pretty long.

So yay! Baby has a big head and a mullet! Maybe Murray should go out and buy him a shotgun after all...

Help Blossoming

(My dad's the one in the middle.)

I usually try to get my most classic life stories on this blog not only so that you all can enjoy them, but so that they're recorded for posterity. Last night, I referenced this one story to Murray, only to find out that 1) I had never actually told Murray this story and 2) I had never actually blogged about this story, either. Both of these things baffle me, because this is among my most prized life stories ever.

In my family, we have a Christmas tradition of gifts of love. Each year, the family home evening before Christmas, we get together and think of one gift of love that we will give to each family member. We then write these down on slips of paper and put the slips of paper into small baggies labeled with each family member's name. Gifts of love are non-material gifts, often service-oriented, that we can give to our family members during the next year. On Christmas Eve, we gather together and open our gifts of love, reading to the family the gifts that we've received from each family member. Often these are pretty funny moments. Like the year that Dad managed to give everyone the same gift: Sage Wisdom and Advice. Or maybe that was Grandpa. That's a copout if I've ever seen one. Almost as much as a copout as The Boy's gifts of love when he was younger and would insert the word "try" into every gift of love. So the year when his gift of love to me was "try not to annoy you," any time he was annoying, I would remind him that his gift of love was to not annoy me and he'd tell me, "I said I would try not to annoy you." Anyway. I think you get the picture. Non-material gifts. It's a great tradition.

Well, the Christmas of my freshman year of college, I got a very interesting gift from my dad. I was 19 years old. I opened up the slip of paper and read it to the family. It said, "Help blossoming."

I asked my dad, "Have I not blossomed yet?"

He said, "Well, you know. You're a little frumpy."

(I must insert a note here to let you know that I have a wonderfully supportive father and that he gets away with saying stuff like this because 1) he's really funny when he says it, 2) he says it in a way that you could never be offended anyway, and 3) he knows that I'm pretty resilient to his teasing.)

In these days, my parents still lived in Canada, so after our Christmas together, we all had to drive down to Toronto so that we could get back on the plane and fly back to school in Utah. We spent a few days in Toronto that year, and one day was spent at a very large mall, taking advantage of the unique shopping that Toronto offers (lots of cool Canadian stores that we don't have in the States). At the mall, my dad announced to me that at some point during the day, he'd like some time with me to make good on his gift of love to me and take me to some stores to show me clothing that would help me to blossom.

My brilliant idea was to have him take me to Ann Taylor, because surely we'd both find something classy there that we both liked. And then maybe he'd like it so much that he'd even buy it for me, and I'd score some nice clothes that I'd never be able to afford myself.

When it was time to meet up with my dad, we looked at the store directory and there was no Ann Taylor. And I had no backup plan. So Dad said, "Well, what about the Gap? Isn't the Gap cool? People still shop at the Gap, right?" My spirits were once again lifted because I was confident that the Gap would, in fact, be full of pretty decent clothes.

Once there, Dad said that we should find the kakhis section. Still, I didn't think this was so bad. We found the kakhis section and I found that their selection was to my tastes. They had low-cut, flat-front, boot-cut kakhis. Surely we'd be able to agree on a suitable pair. But when I looked over at Dad, I saw he was shaking his head. "No. This isn't what I'm looking for," he said. "Let's go over to the men's section."

And that was pretty much the point at which I realized that we weren't going to find anything we agreed on.

In the men's section, my dad found a few pairs of high-waisted, pleated, tapered kakhis. I was shocked that the Gap still sold stuff like that! Here, Dad started nodding his head in approval and quickly found a great pair that suited his tastes. They probably had the highest waist, the pleatedest pleats and the taperedest taper of the whole store.

This was the Christmas season, you know, so the change room was pretty busy. I went into my stall, eager to prove to my dad that this kind of pant was the most unflattering thing I could possibly wear. I put them on and the waist came about two inches below my boobs. The bottoms of my pants all but fit right into the shoes that I was wearing. And the pleats! Oh, the pleats! They magnified what is undoubtedly one of my biggest trouble areas.

Luckily, I was wearing a thick sweater and a collared shirt that I could pull over the most offensive parts of the pants. Still, I looked like a shapeless blob with no self respect. I shuffled out of the stall, knowing that of course Dad would see me and recognize his error. Instead, Dad immediately told me, "Now that is what I mean. That looks so much better. That is very classic." People in the dressing room area started looking over at us and staring.

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any worse, Dad said, "Now. Tuck in your sweater."

Under the scrutiny of the whole dressing room, I obeyed my father and tucked in my thick sweater and shirt. Now instead of looking like a shapeless blob, I looked much, much worse. I looked like a snowman made of three distinctly round balls. The ample pleats with tucked in sweater easily added about 30 pounds. And above the belt, the bulky sweater with my large bust had now made my whole upper body into one enormous set of boobs. And as Dad told me how nice that looked, and explained that I didn't have to dress this way, but it was good for me to see that this is how I would look best, I heard several discreet snickers from our audience.

In the end, we agreed to disagree. And to this day, though I still may be sometimes a little unblossomed in my dad's eyes, I'm pretty comfortable with the clothing choices that I make.

My brain is vacant.

I really believe that I haven't had many "pregnant brain" moments. For the most part, my faculties are completely intact. I've had other amusing moments of course. Like this morning, when Murray and I left for our doctor's appointment. Because I have to have my meals, I made a breakfast to go. Let's face it---I made the same breakfast that Murray and I eat every single morning. We each got a whole wheat Ego waffle with peanut butter on it, and Murray got a milk and I got a yogurt. And then we were getting into separate cars so that after the appointment he could go straight to work and I could go straight home. But the door of the car hit my hand that was carrying the waffle and I dropped my 1/3-eaten waffle on the ground. And I started laughing, but it really put me in a predicament. I need to eat certain things at certain times. And 1/3 of a waffle with peanut butter wasn't going to satisfy my nutritional needs. So Murray rushed over and offered me his waffle. I made sure that he ate 1/3 of it before he gave it to me. And then I took it. And that proves that Murray loves me.

But that is not my pregnant moment. It has nothing to do with brain power. Get ready for this. It's one of the most stupid moments of my entire life.

So my mom wanted me to call her after the doctor's appointment so that I could tell her whether or not I get an extra ultrasound during my pregnancy. (Good news! Because of my gestational diabetes, I DO get an extra ultrasound---are you all jealous yet?) So as soon as I left the doctor's office, I called her. Then we chatted all the way home. And then, as I was entering my house, I started to wonder where my phone was. As I continued to chat with my mom about church, about primary, and so on, I searched my purse. I checked every single pocket twice. I checked all the pockets in my clothing. No phone. I looked to see if I'd been wearing a coat. Nope. I started to mentally scan my visit with the doctor to see where I might have left my phone, and made a mental note to myself that as soon as I got off the phone with my mom, I'd have to call the doctor's to see if they'd seen my phone. (This is no exaggeration at all. I actually thought that.) I thought about what Murray and I had used our phones for at the doctor's office. I had looked up Carla Bruni on my phone because I was shocked to find out she was married to Nicolas Sarkozy. Murray looked up "died" because he remembered that someone famous died today or yesterday and couldn't remember who it was. (Turns out it was Michael Crichton---did you know??) I tried to remember if I'd given my phone to Murray when the doctor walked in...

...and then something clicked and I realized.

I was talking on the phone.

This, people, goes way beyond looking for your sunglasses when they're on your head. This was, perhaps, the stupidest moment of my life.

I was a freak.

Here's a picture of me in grade ten.

I realized today that back then, I was a freak. Why? Because I liked the winter for its short days!

Today is a rather grey day. I went downstairs to get my lunch, and it was pretty dark down there. I thought that I could open up the blinds, but then I thought, "What's the point?" Because I'm just going to be in my office upstairs all day (where the blinds are open) and by the time I go downstairs again, it will be dark again.

Why does the world have to be like this? Why does my daylight have to be so limited?? I can't even remember any good reason for me to get excited about more dark when I was in high school. Closet goth? Maybe. All I know is that for the next several months, it's going to be dark before I finish my workday every day. Ugh.

So I guess it's time for me to talk to Murray about my master plan to buy a summer house in Alaska and a winter home in southern Chile. Yay!

Happy Anniversary!

This week Murray and I celebrated our first anniversary. We both took the day off work and spent the day celebrating our love for one another with various and random activities.

* We went to IHOP for breakfast. I ordered the 2x2x2 (two eggs, two sausage links, two pancakes) although I was only allowed to eat 1x1x1. It was an enjoyable breakfast.

* Then we went up to SLC to go to the Tracy Aviary. Fall is my favorite season and Monday was the most beautiful fall day. You could smell the trees in the air. The temperature was absolutely perfect. And so Murray and I enjoyed a good walk around the aviary, checking out the birds. I think that my favorite part was when we found a little burrowing owl in its home. I guess its home looked kindof like a little stage anyway, and Murray and I stood outside and enjoyed the fact that the owl was looking at us. And then we began competing for its attention. We were both dancing, making faces, and making noises to see who the owl would look at the most. He just pivoted his little owl head back and forth between the two of us the whole time. I figure he's got it pretty good. We had to walk around the aviary to see all the different species. He just gets to sit still in his home and all the crazy types of humans come and parade themselves in front of him.

* We had lunch at Tucanos at the Gateway. That is a very carb-friendly restaurant, although I almost cried when I had to pass up the grilled pineapple (my favorite) and the deep-fried bananas. Two more months... two more months...

* I had planned a stop at Ben's Cookies, which is a store I only go to in the fall because of their seasonal pumpkin chocolate cookie which is comparable to no other food in the world. Do not even THINK about the generic grocery store pumpkin chocolate chip cookies right now, because that is SO not what this wonderful cookie is. I had budgeted so that I could have half of one of these suckers and save the other half for another day. So we went in and found out that they no longer make them AT ALL because apparently they were too expensive to make. I officially hate Ben's Cookies now. How could they do that to me?

* We drove back to Provo and went to a matinee showing of The Changeling. Is it just me, or does that sound like a horror movie? Anyway. I guess it is a type of horror movie, especially for a woman like me who's about to have a baby. (It's about a woman whose son goes missing and five months later the police return a boy to her who is not her son and close the case, even though she wants to keep fighting to get her real son back.) It was an excellent movie.

* We went to Bombay House, which is where we met, and enjoyed a dinner that was not quite what we had there the first time. When the diabetes goes away, I can enjoy my chicken coconut kurma and mango lassi again!

* For our evening entertainment we went to our prenatal class where we got to learn all about labor and delivery. And we saw a birthing videos that showed four different births. I wasn't actually nervous about the delivery before I saw the video. Now... Anyway. What cracks me up about the movie is that it's a BYU production and, like, you could TOTALLY KNOW whose birth you're watching. Needless to say, I'm not going to sign up to have my birthing experience documented and show the entire world my stretch marks and private areas. I mean, seriously. After the birthing videos, we had a tour of the facilities. We're pretty excited.

* At home again, we opened our gifts to each other. Murray really outdid himself this year. This is our "paper" anniversary, and a couple artists couldn't ask for anything better. Murray did a mixed media classic painting of me in kindof a Marie Antoinette sort of era. He was inspired by a picture from our vacation this summer where I accidentally was striking a classic pose. It's so freaking cool. And in addition to that, he also painted me an enlargement of a postcard that I'd gotten in Italy and that I've always loved but that I've always wanted to be bigger! (AND he got classic toys for our baby AND he got me a book from my childhood that we'd talked about recently.) I made him a commemorative poster of our wedding day, but I'll have to wait to take a picture of it and get it up on the blog because I ran into some assembly difficulties.

All in all, it was a perfect way to celebrate our perfect day last year! This year has been great and I'm lucky to be married to Murray. I think that the best way to celebrate our anniversary is to spend the whole day together because that's what I want to do every day anyway!

Reflections on Halloween

On Halloween, Murray and I had Murray's brother and wife come over for dinner and an outdoor movie. We couldn't have asked for better weather for our movie (Psycho, a great Halloween movie), except for when it started to rain a little bit. Oh well. Other than the rain it really was ideal.

I wanted to spend the evening at home so that I could give candy (that I can't eat, because I'm just. that. selfless.) to children. A neighbor said that they didn't get many kids last year, so I didn't plan for very many kids, and I certainly didn't want to have leftover candy. When I was candy shopping, I considered my candy choices carefully. I know what I'd want to receive as a kid. There's no use wasting money on the candy that is just going to be thrown away. I briefly considered buying small packs of Doritos, because then I wouldn't even care to give them away because Doritos to me are just a sack of disgustingness. But then my conscience wouldn't let me give something to kids that I would have been so wholly disappointed to receive as a child. So instead, I got a couple bags of mini candy bars, a bag of full Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, a couple bags of Pop Rocks (to mix things up a little), and a bag of gummy Life Savers. And I hope those little kids appreciate what it meant for me to give them all of those candies without sampling so much as one myself.

We got more kids than I was expecting, so I went to the pantry to get out the two 10-packs of kettle corn that I accidentally bought, thinking it was the good kind of popcorn. I thought that the popcorn was the crappy treat, but kids responded really well to it, actually.

But this is the ultimate comment I'd like to make about my candy giving experience. Besides the older kids (older than 12ish) who I didn't feel should be trick-or-treating, there were two real standouts of the evening.

FIRST: When I realized I was running low on candy and needed to get the popcorn, I opened a pack thinking that would get me through ten good kids. With an average of 2 kids per door bell ring, I figured the pack would last me a half hour or so. As soon as I opened it, the doorbell rang and a family with five kids was standing outside my door. Good grief! So I started giving them popcorn, which they were REALLY excited about. Most excited was the mother, who started jumping up and down and saying, "Ooo! Yo quiero! Yo quiero!" And then she held out her hand for me to give her her very own package of popcorn. Just that easily, 60 percent of my popcorn package was gone!

SECOND: There was a mom and dad with their first-time trick-or-treater son, who was about 2 or 3. He, of course, had his own bag for the candy. But guess who else had his own bag? The dad. And so he held his bag out, too, to collect candy. There are no words.

So next year, I will be more prepared. Next year, I am going to have special "too old to be trick-or-treating" treats. I'm thinking of the following options: can of peas, fresh apples, not-fresh tomatoes, an entire watermelon. Any other ideas are welcome!!

Extreme Salad

Yesterday Murray and I went out to eat before I went to teach my class. He asked if Mexican food would be okay and suggested a Mexican restaurant close to where my class is held. I figured I may as well give it a try. If I go to a restaurant, I have to read every single detail of the menu to really figure out what my options are. I figured that there would be something at this restaurant that I could eat.

As I was reading the menu, I concluded that my safest options were the Mexican omelets available or a salad. Ordering a salad seemed risky because little Mexican dives aren't necessarily known for their great salads. But the eggs just didn't sound appealing to me. So I ordered the fajita salad, which boasted grilled chicken (protein), peppers, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes (non-starchy vegetables), guacamole (fat), and cheese (more protein), on a fried tortilla (a couple bites could equal a starch). I figured I'd go for it, but expected to get some plain boring salad with gross iceberg lettuce.

This is what I got.

I'm still not really sure if you can grasp the magnitude of this salad even from the picture. It was the hugest salad I have ever seen in my entire life. And it was loaded with really good stuff. So I ate about 1/4 of it. When the waitress came to take away my plate, she looked at how much was left and asked, "What? Not very hungry, princess?"


This weekend, Murray and I attended a Halloween party. It's been years since I've dressed up for Halloween. Of course we wanted to do a couples costume, because what's the point of being married if not to be able to wear couples costumes? But we couldn't figure out what famous pregnant couple to dress up as. Joseph and Mary? The idea of putting a towel on my head (default for any biblical person) didn't really appeal to me.

So we decided to go as a concept. We started thinking of different Beatles songs, and Murray finally came up with the idea of going as Hello and Goodbye. To execute this idea, we figured that I would have to be Hello whichever way you looked at me, and Murray would have to be Goodbye whichever way you looked at him. So he wore a mask of the back of his head over his face, and I wore a mask of my face on the back of my head. We didn't win any prizes. (Which is okay because the prizes were all food I couldn't eat.)

(Murray kindof looks maybe like a chainsaw killer...)

(We didn't intend for my costume to be freaky, but it kindof ended up being just a little bit freaky. One of the party guests said he kept having the feeling that someone was looking at him, and when he looked up, he'd see my backwards head staring at him.)

Next year, I would really love to go as RGB and CMYK, but I'm afraid that while people we work with would (might) get it, those who we socialize with generally wouldn't. I still think we'll do it because it'll be a super idea. Except what would we dress baby as? I suppose we could always dress him in white with "FFFFFF" written across his shirt... (Cue laughter from the two of you who actually get that.)

Murray's Super 8

A few nights ago, when Murray and I were staring at three (four?) different super 8 video cameras strewn all over our bed, I said, "How much did these cost again?" Murray reminded me that they ranged from $5-$20 each, and that's much less than I spend on various splurges on a regular basis. And that these cameras bring Murray an overwhelming sense of happiness.

That was enough to convince me that they were good purchases, because who am I to get in the way of Murray's overwhelming sense of happiness?

And I was even more convinced when I got to see Murray today, looking really hot with his suit (that he wore on our wedding day---swoon!), his hip messenger bag (that I gave to him as a gift), his Murray's Superior Hairstyling Pomade (which, he's happy to discover, is his new favorite hair product and costs under $2 instead of over $15), and super 8 video camera. He's going off to shoot Nicole Hill's wedding today, and I can truly say that if he shoots half as good as he looks, he'll have a fine career of super 8 wedding videography ahead of him.

(First day of shooting pictures taken by ME.)


Murray blogged about this over on his blog, but I just had to mention it too because it made me laugh out loud several times. Go visit this site.

What is anyone going to talk about or satirize after this election?? It just seems like there's so much great fodder for comedy out there right now that's just going to go away as soon as the election's over. Pretty sad, really.

Also pretty sad is the fact that neither Jon Stewart nor Stephen Colbert report on Springville politics, so I have no idea who to vote for in Springville. I actually have to try and research that myself, I guess.

Diabetic Smoothie

1 cup light chocolate soy milk
12 frozen cherries
Mix in blender.

Enjoy immensely.

Count your blessings...

So, in case you haven't heard, I have gestational diabetes. Have I mentioned that already? Well, in case I have, today I'm going to give you the cold hard truth. How I really feel about gestational diabetes.

It's pretty easy to complain about the limited diet and the finger pricking. But to be honest, I mostly have a positive attitude about this. The benefits to having (and managing properly) gestational diabetes far outweigh the cons. Here's why I see gestational diabetes as a handful of blessings rather than a punishment.

I have poor eating habits. There have been times in my life when I've been able to clean them up a little, but I sink back into bad habits. Because poor eating habits with gestational diabetes would have negative consequences for my baby, it's much easier to adhere to all the rules. I'm not just doing it for me. I'm doing it for someone else. This gives me the discipline to follow my diet exactly and not cheat because I'm not just cheating myself.

I have three full months where I have to follow these new and improved eating habits, which is more than enough time to establish real, lasting changes.

My poor eating habits didn't just include eating all the wrong things, but they also included going long periods of time without eating, then eating large meals. I have always known that it's healthiest to eat smaller meals throughout the day, but I've never been able to apply that. Now that I have to, I find that it's much more easy and manageable than I'd thought.

Murray and I also got into the habit of eating out a LOT. Especially while I was working in Salt Lake City, it seemed impossible to put together a homemade meal. Those habits that we established carried over even after I started working from home. I've always wanted to be better about making meals at home, but until now, I haven't been able to achieve that goal. Now it's much easier for me to make my own meals rather than eat out because I'm in complete control of the ingredients, so I know what I'm eating and how much of it I can eat. We are eating food that is higher quality, more healthy, and lots less expensive!

I am not good at eating breakfast. Now I have to. Every day before Murray goes to work, I throw together a little breakfast for the two of us. It's not anything spectacular. Lately it's just been a whole wheat ego waffle with peanut butter and a yogurt. But it's nice to have that time to sit and visit with Murray before he goes off to work.

I am the type of person who has a hard time controlling portions. If I make a batch of cookies, and they're all sitting in the house, I don't limit myself to just one a day. I will easily eat ten a day. I usually help myself to seconds at dinner. Now I'm learning discipline and portion control and learning that it really is okay to have just one cookie. In fact, El Senor made me these absolutely delicious cookies. He gave me two. I had one one day and saved the other for the next because I knew there would be no way for me to eat them both without spiking my blood sugar. I think I enjoyed the cookies more because now I'm not used to having sweets at every meal. So now I'm thinking that I'll need to make a batch of that cookie recipe and just freeze it all. Then, I can just make four cookies at a time (two for me, spread out over two days, and two for Murray).

I'm making time to go for walks and get in exercise. It's nice to get outside when I'm indoors all day long! Murray and I have been able to enjoy several walks together. It's nice to stroll along in the evening holding hands.

I'm learning that my happiness does not depend on food. Although I love helping myself to lots of ice cream or lots of molten lava chocolate cake or lots of cookies, I'm learning now that having more sweets does not increase my overall happiness. Right now, I feel just as fulfilled and just as happy as I did before my diagnosis when I could eat anything I wanted. I am enjoying the same quality of life. The pleasure that I get from eating food is gone as soon as the food has been devoured. And the lasting effects of those food choices actually have a negative impact on my overall health and well being (and weight!). So I'm learning now that I don't have to indulge every craving to be happy, and in fact, I will be happier and healthier if I don't indulge every craving.

Finally, having gestational diabetes for three months teaches me what life could be like for me if I don't make permanent changes now. I can lower my chances of developing Type II diabetes now by applying these positive changes. And then I don't have to deal with pricking my finger and testing my blood every day for the rest of my life. So this experience is giving me the confidence to make the right decisions for me and my health.

So how's THAT for the glass being half full? You're probably all jealous of my condition now. Also, I need to make sure that I read this post AFTER the baby arrives and I have my eating freedom back. No sense in forgetting all the good lessons I'm learning and slipping back into bad habits!

Murray in a Hurry.

Here's the special present that I bought Murray! Isn't it the greatest thing ever? I knew he'd love it. Of course, when he saw it, he said, "Did you just buy me black man hairstyling product?" I said, "It says MURRAY'S!! And it's retro and vintage!" And let's face it. Murray probably loves it even more just because it is black man hairstyling product. Maybe Murray will start working on an afro...

Okay. So I've been blogging this week about things just to avoid blogging about the one thing I couldn't blog about and that I wanted to blog about. And that was the fact that for the past several days, Murray has been out of town without cell reception, and we have been separated for the first time in our almost year of marriage. Bwa! And I couldn't tell you all that because then one of you, my loyal blog readers/psycho stalkers would have come and murdered me in my bed. But Murray (the original blog stalker) is back now, so I'm safe.

Despite the fact that I lived for about ten successful years as an adult singleton, returning to that singleness was almost crippling. Well, and I'm not being entirely fair because during my single years, I always had roommates so I was rarely really alone anyway. But I really hated having Murray gone. Here are some of the things I missed:

* Making meals for the both of us.
* Snuggling in bed, especially because it was cold.
* Voicing every single random thought I had.
* Reporting to someone who cares about my whole day.
* Asking someone else to please take out the trash. (Shh! It's sitting on the back patio!)
* Getting help determining which shade my pee had turned the pee stick.
* Having random conversations about random things. Like urine, or belly button lint.
* Laughing at above random conversations.
* Watching tv or movies together. While snuggling.
* Having him available all day on google chat.
* Sharing everything I am doing with him.
* Getting positive feedback on every single thing that I do. (Have I ever mentioned how supportive Murray is?)
* Sharing the baby's kicks with Murray, especially when the baby went on this crazy ninja kicking spree. (He's gonna be a socca playa.)
* Having someone ask me what they could do for me several times a day. (Have I ever mentioned how supportive Murray is?)

I'm sure that there are other things that I'm forgetting to list now because Murray is back and so all that sorrow and strife is forgotten. I had to find things to do to fill my time while he was gone. So I went and spent a night at my brother's house in Salt Lake and went to church with his family. And I spent an evening with Murray's parents. Oh, and Jenny even let me babysit her children. And I had my cooking club. So, you know, I did activities to keep from curling up into a pathetic little fetal position... along with my fetus.

Oh, and just in case any of you blog stalkers are still reading this (which you would be because that's what stalkers do), you should know that my neighbor came over one night to make sure that we knew that we needed to turn off our sprinkler system because there was a potential freeze coming on. (He's the one who installed the sprinkler system, and he's taken it upon himself to ensure that we have the absolute best sprinkling experience possible.) When he found out that Murray was out of town, he got all defensive and gave me tips on how to be extra safe, and then also told me that he'd be talking to my neighbor on the other side and letting him know that I was alone and that they both had to keep an extra careful watch over our place. And then my lonely little heart was warmed by the kindness of really good neighbors.

Halloween Food

I just thought I'd share a picture of what I brought to my cooking group last night. The theme was "black and orange" and I felt it was the perfect excuse to use my black spaghetti that I bought at Target months ago. I made an oil-based shrimp sauce to go with it. It really was delicious. I know, because I even tried some. Yep. I ate 3 spaghetti noodles with 2 shrimp. I am restraint incarnate.

I think that this is going to have to be a Halloween staple in my house from now on. The kids will love it... hopefully. I'm even thinking that if I broke up the spaghetti, it would look like LITTLE black worms... delicious!

Black and Orange Pasta

12 oz package of black spaghetti (I got mine from Target.) --Prepare according to directions

1/2 C oil
7 cloves garlic
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 lb shrimp
fresh parsley

1) Heat oil on low heat.
2) Add minced garlic, red pepper, and salt; heat until garlic turns golden but is not brown, about 15 minutes.
3) Add shrimp, stir fry for 2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and opaque. (I cheated and just used thawed pre-cooked shrimp.)
4) Add oil sauce to spaghetti, add parsley, mix.

On a completely unrelated note, I think I need to start charging people more for what I do. I just received some Illustrator pattern files that a potential client bought from some professional company. Although they bought the copyrights to the patterns, the company did not actually set up the patterns to repeat. The files are an absolute mess and the client needs me to make them into repeat patterns, which the company should have done in the first place. When I give files to clients, they're set up properly, they're clean, and they're very usable! Must start charging exorbitant prices because obviously my skill and professionalism is worth it.

Today's Special

Today was jam-packed full of action. I had a day bookended by appointments, and I needed to find some good filler for between my appointment times. Here is what I did.

9:00 a.m.: Dentist appointment. Refused an X-ray. Changed my insurance information. Received praise for non-bleeding gums and general excellent oral hygiene during pregnancy. Didn't admit that I never floss and I brush my teeth only once a day. Expressed concern about my overbite that has returned since my braces in high school. Was informed that I'd need another round of full-on braces to fix the problem, except this time my parents wouldn't be paying for it.

9:45-10:45 a.m.: Wandered around Target. Looked for clothes for Jenny that we had found online, but didn't find them. Tried on two pairs of maternity pants and decided not to buy them because they'd need hemming. Looked at a collection of adorable tiny bowls and plates and considered buying them to help me with my portion control, but decided that they were unnecessary purchases and I need to cut back on unnecessary purchases. I can continue to just use my little ramekins for small food portions. Looked at baby aisle and got excited for when I actually get to start buying baby soap. Browsed shampoo section to choose new shampoo, while talking on the phone with Jenny. Sniffed new shampoo, only to accidentally squirt it up my nose. Complained to Jenny about accidentally squirting shampoo up my nose. Got off the phone with Jenny. Chose several shampoo/hygiene items. Looked down to see a blob of shampoo on my sweater. Took a picture to send to Jenny to tell her that the shampoo didn't only go up my nose. Grabbed something really funny for Murray that I can't share with the internet until he receives it, but just you wait. It's going to be good. Made purchases and left.

11:00-11:15 a.m.: Went to Motherhood Maternity to see if they had a maternity skirt that's suitable for the winter. Got one on sale for $20. Considered an adorable maternity coat for a mere $60, but decided that that, too, was probably an unnecessary purchase, or at least a purchase that required further consideration. Question to the public: Can I just get away with using my regular coats during the winter, but not buttoning all the buttons?

11:45-1:00p.m.: Went to a spur-of-the-moment hair appointment. Got to know my new hairstylist really well. Promised to make one more appointment in December right before the baby comes.

1:10-1:45 p.m.: Ate lunch at Guru's where I felt I could easily find something to suit my diet. Filled out my voter registration form. Wondered who goes to restaurants alone. Decided it must be diabetics who can't actually procrastinate eating their meal until they make it home several hours later. [UPDATE: Just tested my blood sugar and apparently the Guru's food I thought was safe was NOT safe.]

1:45-2:00 p.m.: Brought my registration form to the county clerk's office. Waited in line for one minute despite the fact that the place was packed. Expressed my disappointment that during my recent marriage and name change, several of the forms I filled out had a box that said "Check here if you'd like to register to vote today" and despite the fact that I checked that box every time, I still had never been registered to vote.

2:00-2:05 p.m.: Ran into Jenny on my way out of the county clerk's office. (If it weren't for her I probably wouldn't have registered in time. If it weren't for me, she probably wouldn't have registered in person.) Found out that she used an apple to brush her teeth. Considered that perhaps her oral hygiene habits are worse than mine.

2:10-2:30 p.m.: Had my rhoGAM shot at the hospital. Sat in the largest chair I have ever sat in (they don't discriminate against the really really really really obese). Got a shot in the hip. Called my mom to tell her she was a fool for scaring me about being rH negative my whole life because that shot wasn't any different from a flu shot. (During one of her deliveries, nearby there was a stoic woman who didn't make a peep during her entire labor and delivery. When they gave her the shot for being rH negative, she let out a yelp, or screamed or something. But apparently they have made great medical advancements in the past three decades.)

So that has been my day today.