San Diego trip 2008

This past weekend, Murray and I headed to San Diego for our annual vacation with Switchback. It's too bad that we didn't time it right with Nemesis's honeymoon, because it would have been totally fun to hang out with the Nemeses in San Diego, too.

Here are my vacation highlights:

Lots of travel time in the car with Murray. I love spending time with him and we don't actually get bored with talking to each other in the car for hours on end. Some of our discussions during the trip were... questionable and insightful. We'll leave it at that. We both love that we're married to someone who we can discuss absolutely any taboo subject with. We didn't actually listen to much music; we listened to a lot of The Ricky Gervais Show podcasts, which were great. A few of our discussions centered around whether Karl Pilkington was really for real (Murray insisted that he was and I insisted that he couldn't be) but we eventually reached a mutual understanding that some of the show absolutely is set up, but in general, the ideas and thoughts that Karl Pilkington shares are genuine.

Spending time on the beach. Murray and I got to the beach a little late on Saturday but we enjoyed meandering over there and taking our time. Once we were on the beach, we were able to enjoy ourselves quite a bit. We had assumed that we'd have one more beach visit during the trip, but we didn't, so I'm glad that we made the first one count. And as a pregnant woman, it was nice (really nice) not to have to worry about sucking in my gut the whole time we were there. Phew! My gut is my pride and glory right now!! I let it all hang out. I started rubbing my tummy during the vacation, and I think that helped it to grow some. It also helped other people to know that it was a pregnant gut, not a fat gut.

Spending an evening in Little Italy with Murray and Switchback. We went to an art gallery where both Switchback and Murray impressed the owner with their knowledge (Murray with his art history, and Switchback with her history-history, which gave insight into one of the pieces). We ate at a good restaurant and enjoyed one another's company. Afterwards, Switchback took us to the pier where we looked at street art and almost got run over by rickshaw bicycles. Several times. Switchback is the greatest hostess and tour guide. Unfortunately on this trip, she didn't ever bust out her metal pointer. Next year? Also, I got a restaurant to let us use their bathroom even though we weren't paying customers because I stuck out my tummy, rubbed it, and waddled into the lobby. Perks! Perks!

(I complained that the menu of the restaurant where we ate used Papyrus as its font. After the restaurant, we passed this unique plant that we really liked and seems to be a common graphic design inspiration lately. When we were wondering out loud what it was, a passerby told us it was Papyrus. Who knew?)

Going to the single's ward with Switchback. It was the quietest church I've been to since November 2007. So lovely! But of course then I was reminded, when they announced the FHE wiffleball tournament that silence in Sacrament meeting comes with a very, very high price.

Going to a big band concert in a park where we got to spend more time visiting with Switchback, Switchback's sister and brother-in-law, and Kelly Roxanne. Switchback made a great salad and peach pie for dessert. I took a second piece of pie because I'm pregnant. Perks! Perks! Murray was still in his church clothes because we didn't have time between church, our afternoon activities, and the concert to go home to change. Except I remembered to ask Switchback to bring me some pants, but forgot to have her grab clothes for Murray. So everyone who met us will have just assumed that Murray is a really really righteous person.

Going to Sea World. I kept calling it Marine Land and the Marine Land jingle was in my head all day long. I can get behind a theme park based on aquatic life. I got to feed and pet sting rays and dolphins. It was absolutely worth every penny. Then I had to question whether I made the right decision to become a graphic designer and not a marine biologist, but I wouldn't have found Murray if I'd become a marine biologist, so I know I made the right choice. Marine Land was a great place to go (see? I didn't actually call it Marine Land on purpose just then---proof that advertising works, because the only place I ever heard of as a kid in lots and lots of commercials was Marine Land) as far as theme parks are concerned because I got to sit a lot. We did lots of shows, and the weather was ideal except for during the dolphin show when the sun scorched one side of my neck. Switchback joined us in the evening in time for the sea lion and otter show that makes fun of the other shows. It was really funny and entertaining, and when the otter came running across the stage pushing a cart, acting like a human, I actually had tears well up in my eyes because I could not handle the cuteness. I might be tearing up again just thinking about it.

I could go on and on about Sea World. Lots of it was cheesy, and it's a good thing that I was with Murray who could join me in making fun of all the cheesiness. For the final show, there was no one sitting beside me or Murray on our whole bench. Then a family of a culture that has different personal space perceptions came to sit beside us and the mother literally sat with her whole arm and shoulder pressed up against me. I inched over, and she inched over. So I moved a couple feet over and put my purse on the bench next to me. And then Murray and I laughed a lot.

(This guy was lurking right behind Murray's head and he turned around and jumped---Murray, not the fish.)

Also, Murray and I did something really smart. You know when you agonize over a decision, and in the end you make the wrong decision and then you just keep being bothered by the fact that you made the wrong decision? Well, on Monday Murray and I made the RIGHT decision. Sea World was offering Meal Passes, where you can eat for "free" all day at select Sea World restaurants if you pay $28. I knew that the food prices were going to be high, so we kept debating if this was what we should do. We carefully read the rules of the pass, and it stated that the wrist-band wearer would get one meal for every time he or she went through the line. There was no other limitations. So we bought one meal pass that Murray used. Then we shared every meal that we bought. And it was plenty of food for both of us. So for $28, we ate three meals at an amusement park. It's more expensive than sneaking in your own sandwiches, but I figure we made out pretty well for an amusement park. Plus, we got to split this Shamu cookie.

All in all, it was a great trip, like it always is. And Switchback is the greatest hostess. Of course, having her married, pregnant friend and husband come to stay with her for several days in a house that she shares with roommates could definitely... push her roommates' patience. Next year, we realize that with a baby we definitely can't do the same thing. So we'll go to San Francisco instead and stay with Switchback's mom, Truth. Mothers always love babies, so I'm sure that we'll be welcome when we invite ourselves.

(She's pregnant, too.)

More on death (Moron death)

Okay, okay. I know I've got a death theme going here, and that's not intentional. But hear me out one more time, and then I'll move on to complaining about ward members who take advantage of your profession for their own personal non-church-related projects.

One of my biggest fears is causing an accidental death in a car accident. What I'm talking about is something completely out of my control. Like someone crashing into me (and dying) or a bike suddenly darting right in front of my car, etc. And then the person dies. I think that I'd need serious therapy. I mean, I would know that it's not my fault and it's just a freak accident, but forever more, I would have to question, did I have to go out right that moment to get a milkshake or [insert any banal activity here].

In fact, I listened to an episode of This American Life called "Life After Death" the other day, and it talks about those who survive after having killed someone else. And a really really interesting comment from a psychologist was that when a car accident that takes someone's life is completely accidental and no fault whatsoever of the driver's, the driver suffers more psychologically because of it. He explains that if an accident is caused because of driver fault (drunk driving, drowsy driving, etc.) then the driver has something that he or she can fix. The driver can choose never to drink and drive again, or choose to pull over when drowsy instead of pushing on. But a driver who has done nothing wrong at all but caused a death has nothing to fix or change. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Anyway. Why this post? Last night as Murray and I were driving on the freeway at 65 mph, a motorcyclist zoomed past us. He was going at least 80 or 85. It was night. It was dark. He wasn't wearing a helmet. And he was wearing sun glasses.

What makes me angry about the whole thing is that if I get in an accident with that guy and he definitely dies (see aforementioned speed and no-helmet status), then that's on my conscience for the rest of my life. But it would be his reckless behavior that caused it. I get angry that people can be so casual about their own lives, and really, they think that they're the only ones impacted by their decisions. It's really stupid. They're really stupid.

And what ticks me off, too, is that there was a police cruiser behind us shortly after the motorcyclist went by. It would have made my night to see the motorcyclist get a ticket. Alas. The police must not have seen it.

Life and Death

Well, we've been talking a lot about new life here on my blog lately. Let's switch it up a little. Let's get morbid.

Sometime after Murray and I got married, we got onto the subject of dying and funerals. And this has sparked a great debate and conversation between us. At times we agree with one another, and at times we don't quite see eye to eye. So let's talk death a little.

What bugs me about the whole dying thing is that a funeral costs a heck of a lot of money. It sounds to me like a heck of a lot more money might be spent on my funeral than was spent on my wedding. And that doesn't really sit right with me.

Now as I go into the details a little bit about money and dying, please remember that really, I'm mostly talking about me dying. I'm not talking about my loved ones. I'm talking about how I would like to be treated when I have died. These are my wishes. If my loved ones have different wishes, I am absolutely happy to accommodate them. But as far as my funeral is concerned, well...

When it comes right down to it, I'd rather be cremated than buried. My religion discourages (but doesn't forbid) cremation, and I'm not quite sure I understand why. I figure that if God can successfully resurrect someone who's been devoured by a shark and pooped out, and then the poop has been devoured by other fish and so on, then He's got to be capable of resurrecting a burn victim, too. And really... is a bunch of ashes that much more difficult than a full skeleton and decomposed flesh? Murray doesn't like the idea of a body burning. I don't think it's any worse than worms, maggots, fungus, etc. (Or sharks.)

In our discussions, however, I have agreed that I can forgo cremation and be buried. BUT, if I'm buried, I don't want a several thousand dollar casket!! What's the point?? The casket can communicate to others how much you love/value the deceased. But should my family have to spend several thousand dollars on something that's going to be buried in the ground just to prove to our neighbors that they loved me? What if at my viewing, they displayed me in a pine box with my dead little hands clutching $5000? Would that have the same effect? Would people know that my family loved me because that's how much money they buried me with?

Rather than an expensive casket, what I would love the most is a pine box painted by Murray. I believe that that shows love and has more meaning than money. Of course, if I died before Murray, he'd really be in no mood to paint a casket with everything else that he has to do for my death. So what we ultimately concluded was that we could get the LIDS to our pine boxes and paint them together! During our lifetime! And then, when we die, they'll be ready to be buried with us. That sounds much better to me than the expensive casket. (By the way, it's okay to toss in some nice pillows and bedding, but let's make them colorful, too, okay? None of this pearly white stuff. Give me some flava.)

Murray and I are responsible people. We have life insurance policies. So no, I hope that it's not a financial burden for little Br8'en and his siblings when the time comes. But I'd rather them not spend all my life insurance money on my funeral. What I would prefer the most, is that the family use that money to go on a family vacation, or if that's too much to coordinate (after we have 10 kids and they each have 10, that's a lot of people to vacation with), at least go out for a really really nice dinner together. That's what I'd rather they spend the money on. Spend time together. Don't spend the money on a wooden box for me to rot in.

This is about as far as Murray and I got in our discussions. Soon after our pine box decision, Murray found out that there are laws about the casket and our homemade pine boxes wouldn't cut it. I was pretty sad about that, but yesterday I heard part of Radio West's discussion about the modern funeral industry. Today I listened to the full audio. It's really, really fascinating! And it turns out that there's a guy in Park City who makes pine boxes up to standard! Now to see if he'll sell us a couple lids for now...

So anyway, I started talking about all of this to my mom this morning, and then she told me the darndest thing I have ever heard. She said that you can be cremated and give your ashes to a company who will turn your earthly remains into...



Then, of course, she wondered what the surviving children do with the diamond. Who gets to wear Mom? Or do you set the diamond in a Christmas ornament and take it out once a year? Something to consider.

When it comes right down to it, I believe that the choice of how I am buried and honored should be more up to my actual mourners than me. Sure, I've just stated my preferences (not the diamond---the painted pine box and low-budget funeral), but I'll be dead at that point. I don't want to impose my way of mourning on people who would be uncomfortable with it. So what I think I'll do is just describe what I'd like in my last will and testament, explain why, talk about how it's important to me that more money be spent on family time than on what's being put into the ground, and let them know that they can make their own decisions.

And before I end this whole spiel, I'll add that I really think that a funeral can be a great party. Of course, I totally understand that if I go tomorrow, probably no one would be partying. But if I go at a ripe old age and everyone is expecting it, then I hope my survivors can miss me but celebrate me at the same time, and enjoy spending time with one another. My grandma's funeral a year and a half ago was a great event. I loved spending time with family and friends. We had a fantastic time together. We also cried and were sad that Grandma was gone. And that is the way I really feel it should be.

That being said, if I go before my time, and am eaten by a shark, and then pooped out, and my shark-poop remains are eaten by other fish, I really hope that people can see the humor in that, because what a way to go! (And feel free to catch the shark and have it stuffed and mounted on a wall.)

Producing the Heir

So Murray and I went for the ultrasound this morning. Poor Murray didn't get a minute of sleep last night; he said that it was just like Christmas as a kid. There was no way that he could fall asleep with something so huge on the horizon. I woke up well before my alarm and was wide awake at that point, too.

Before we left, I drank a bunch of juice so that baby would move around during the ultrasound.

Our ultrasound tech was... a little brusque and a little lacking in personality and... a little bit low-class, I must say. So she started looking at my innards and we found out that our baby's heart, brain, kidneys, bladder, etc. are looking good. And then she asked if we wanted to know the sex and we said yes. She looked around a little and said, "Well. It's got outdoor plumbing." I was pretty sure that was a euphemism for penis, but I asked, "So it's a boy?" just to be sure, and she said, "Well, girls don't have that." It cracks me up that the ultrasound pictures are labeled "face," "feet," and "boy." But the "boy" label is pointing at the penis. Well, there's another euphemism!

When we got up to leave, she congratulated us and told Murray that now he can buy hisself a shotgun and claim that it's for the baby. Or he can buy a 4-wheeler and claim that it's for the baby. And knowing Murray, I'm sure that's the first thing he'll do.

Anyway, we're very excited. Murray is the first boy in his family to have a son, so this is the heir. If Murray were a king, we'd be pretty much set right now.

We had a great name picked out for a girl, but nothing but a few ideas for a boy. So now we've got to get to work. Here is my list so far of potentials:


Of course, if any of those seems too... ordinary, I can always figure out an alternative spelling. See my sample treatments of Braden:


That's the great thing about today's world. The naming possibilities are endless.

Read on Petit Elefant

So I decided to do my guess-the-sex post over on Petit Elefant because it lent itself so well to a mothering blog. Go over there to vote on what you think I'm having, and to see how I compare to all the old wives' tales! We'll be finding out what we're having on Wednesday at 9:15. I'll update everyone on Wednesday at noon.

A Urine Discussion

Here's Murray's and my discussion from this morning, transcribed as best as my memory serves:

Cicada: I should drink some more before going to the appointment. My pee sample last time was lacking. "Brooke" had way more pee. She left an ample sample.

Murray: If only her name were... [thinking really hard]... "Dample." Then it would be Dample's ample sample. It's weird that they just leave the urine out like that where people could tamper with it.

Cicada: Yeah. In other offices where I've been, there's a pee-pass-through door. Here, it's just left out on a tray in the bathroom. Like, if I didn't want them to know about something in my urine, I could just take someone else's. Like if I were on acid during my pregnancy.

Murray: Yeah. Like you could just swap it out for someone else's.

Cicada: Well, I wouldn't swap it. Because then, when they tell Brooke that she's on acid, she's going to be like, "No, I am not on acid" and they could trace it back to me.

Murray: Anyone would say that they're not on acid if they were accused of being on acid. Why would they believe her?

Cicada: Well, she could provide another urine sample. Then they'd see that she's not on acid, and they'd trace it back to me. I wouldn't swap the urine. I'd just take some of Brooke's because she has a lot.

Murray: But they could still tell that there's acid.

Cicada: How could they still tell there's acid??

Murray: If you're just diluting yours with Brooke's.

Cicada: How stupid do you think I am? I may be dropping acid while I'm pregnant, but I'm not stupid. I wouldn't pee at all. I'd just pour half of Brooke's sample into another cup and write my name on it. She certainly left enough of it to go around.

Murray: Oh.

Cicada: Of course, I don't know if it's the same technician who does all the urinalysis. Maybe if they have two identical urine samples, they'd know that something is up. How would I know these things? It's still risky.

Conversations like that are just one more reason why I love Murray so.

And I didn't pee after Brooke this morning. I peed after Tara, and despite my water drinking, she out-peed me by more than half, too. I'd say she had about three times the pee that I had. What can I say? I'm not an all-star peer.

In other news, I'm up one pound from a month ago. The doctor assures me that I'll pack it on, though. We scheduled our ultrasound for next Wednesday, and our baby's heartbeat was 148, which puts it up to the girl category, according to the old wives' tales. (My mom told me that Captain Fabuloso had a girl heart rate. I always suspected there was something funny about him...) There's pretty much nothing I can do to avoid getting heartburn (like stopping eating chocolate was ever an option!) but I can chow down on Tums when I need to and not eat before going to bed. Also, despite my fear of bending down to put on my shoes, there is no risk of me actually squishing my baby to death. Phew.

Let's talk about sex.

First of all, I never call it the gender of the baby because I am still an editor (even if I don't edit my own blog posts too carefully) and technically, it's the sex of the baby, not the gender. Well, at least according to a paper I did in college that required me to consult five English usage dictionaries and report on what they recommended. The general consensus seemed to be that "gender" was a euphemism because people didn't want to say the word "sex," which is increasingly associated with physical intercourse. Anyway, it's odd that I'm a stickler on this one because generally I'm the go-with-how-the-language-is-actually-used sort of editor. I'm really progressive that way.

Which leads me to believe that I choose to call it the sex because I actually enjoy the fact that people use that less frequently and will be more shocked by a blog post entitled "Let's talk about sex" than a blog post entitled "Let's talk about gender."

So after that English usage lesson (or discussion, or brief commentary), did you actually expect to learn the sex of my baby?

Tomorrow I have my regular visit to the doctor. It will be my 18-week visit. (Crazy to think that I'm two weeks away from being half-way through!) And tomorrow, we will find out when we get to find out what we're having. We'll schedule our ultrasound.

Of course, we could always just run off to the mall and find out. But then I heard a horror story about how the poorly-trained mall technicians can actually ruin your baby by leaving the thing in one place too long. But I hear that's for the 3-D stuff, not a regular ultrasound.

The point is, tomorrow I'll try to have them schedule me asap for my ultrasound and have it done the right way (albeit the quick, technical, we-see-these-all-the-time-and-you-can-
wait-4.5-more-months-to-see-it way).

Once I set up the appointment, I'll put up a poll and you can all weigh in on what I'm having, after I put up a list of my "tells" according to wives' tales. I'll warn you right now. One site said that I have a 42% chance of having a boy and a 57% chance of having a girl. So apparently I might have to add the "hermaphrodite" choice to my poll since I have a 1% chance of having one. Things to think about as you prepare to guess the SEX of my baby.

Dueling Man-jos

Yesterday I had a great email exchange with Az├╣car. I told her that I'd bought fabric samples to run past Murray and see what fabric we'd use to be recovering some furniture. She said that that's what I get for marrying a creative guy; her husband, a mathematician, wouldn't care about fabric samples.

My response:

You get a LOT for marrying a creative guy. I thank my lucky stars every day. I get full creative support on every project I decide to tackle, plus creative input. I get someone who I can bounce ideas off of who actually contributes to the conversation. And, of course, I get free artwork for my house, which is whatever color, size, subject matter and style that I want. Oh, all that and so much more. Not to brag or anything, but this is the life!!

Her response:

Yes, but is he a human calculator? Can you call him at any time to make him times 356 by 1200? Can you count on him to make obtuse remarks about how someone's logic is way off? Can you always have your own way on everything design related in your home? Plus, free math and physics tutoring for life! I think not!

So I read this to Murray last night and then I started singing dueling banjos. Anyway. It is a really good thing for every woman on earth to really believe that she has married the shiz. It's how everything in this world should be.

And so, last night was project night where Murray and I worked in the same room. Here's a little more bragging about my husband. He is a collector and has a large collection of DVDs. But you know what he did? He bought this cool card-catalog CD organizing unit to use it with DVDs. And then he threw away all the cases of all but the most important DVDs and bought paper sleeves to put the DVDs into. So now he can fit endless DVDs into this unit. And last night he alphabetized the first batch. And we'll create cool dividers. And we'll be the best house for people to come visit because we have all the coolest movies.

While he worked, I sewed come cushions for our couch. I bought a table runner from Pier 1 and cut it up to use the fabric.

(Murray is a little concerned that these iPhone pictures aren't the best... you really don't see how BRIGHT YELLOW our couch is. You'll just have to come over and visit sometime.)

This is a glider/rocker for the baby's room that Daltongirl found us at a yard sale for $5. It's in really really good condition, but of course we want to recover the cushions with a cool fabric. So here are a couple of our options. I think after seeing these pictures that I'll choose to go with the larger floral pattern as opposed to the green polka dots, even though I like both options a lot. Heck. I may as well do them both anyway since I'm just doing removable cushion covers!

I had a leftover fabric sample. For most of my samples, I just bought fat quarters. But since this last one was home decor weight, they didn't have fat quarters. I had to buy by the yard. So I bought 2/3rds a yard because that way, if we chose it for the rocker, it would be enough to sew the bottom cushion. But since we didn't need it, I just sewed all the sides together to make a giant pillow with all the leftover stuffing from the couch pillows. So this'll probably end up being a floor or bed pillow in the nursery. Yay!