I started a new job today. It’s just part-time at a local variety store, but since I want to continue all of my crafting pursuits, that’s all I really have time for. I think this place is a better fit than when I worked at the convenience store near my home. That was just too stressful and time-consuming. Besides, I hate carding people, smelling like french fries every day when I come home, and wearing basically the same shirt four to five days a week. To top it off, craft supplies inspire me and this place is full of them. So, yeah………….I like it there so far. And I get to use the price sticker gun (with which I’m obsessed). 😉

Besides gabbing about my new job, I want to share a video that my sister made. It’s a bunch of clips of my crunchy-crunch cousin Ellie + me and my sisters. They usually take tons of photos and videos when she visits, and this music video puts them all together to a song from Napoleon Dynamite. It’s kind of our theme song. So here goes………………..Amanda did a great job on this!

These are our little secrets…
Nobody has to know…
Even the babe’s lips are sealed!
Beautiful? Yes. Summer death trap? You betcha. 
Gramps is gonna love this shot. Go on with your baddass hat!
99% in head size up in this bitch!                               
Giving all new meaning to “patio approved.” 
Nothin’ goin’ on here, just taking some random shots. Carry on. 
Oh, what’s this? A fountain in the middle of the house? Perrrrfect.
Nope, this party did not suck. 
Speaking of gorgeous…

Holy time travel, Batman. I swear I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I left you guys. We got back from our “vacay” (a story to be told at a later date) about a week ago and since then have had one first birthday, 2 monsoons, 3 deadlines and a partridge in a pear tree. Er, something. You get it. Annnnnyway, today’s post is dedicated to all things Palm Springs. My grandparents raised my mom there, I spent my childhood there and something deep within my soul says I’ll find myself living there one day. (Hubs’ soul says otherwise but mine tends to win such battles. Don’t tell him I said that.) I don’t know what it is about that place. It’s the desert, and I live in the desert with the same heat, cactus and sunsets, yet somehow it’s totally different. Maybe it’s the small town vibe, eclectic peeps or magical mountain backdrop, but regardless, I feel totally at ease there. Always have. Which is why I was stoked when my cousin decided to get married there last month. There are all kinds of details I could get into about the events that took place, but for the sake of sanity (yours, I can assure you) I’m just going to give you the Cliffs Notes. Yes? Yes.

1.) We rented a fab condo designed by my mom’s one-time boss and friend, Arthur Elrod. The pool was amazeballs, there were more light switches than I ever knew could exist, one of the bathrooms was totally mirrored (and I thought dressing room mirrors were unkind) and the front door may or may not have seared off my fingerprints. 
2.) The rehearsal dinner was held at THIS amazing house. I don’t know what was better – the view, indoor fountain, retractable roof or sunken bar. I’m goin’ view, mostly because I almost fell in the fountain because of the sunken bar. Thank you. 
3.) My favorite portion of the program was the architecture tour. You see, my cousin and her now husband are architects, as was my grandfather, so many of their guests were interested in seeing some good ‘ole mid-centery masterpieces. We decided to skip every house but one. My grandparents’ house, where my mom was raised and I created forts, sunburns and memories. I haven’t seen it since I was in high school, and it’s had two owners since then, but somehow my cousin gained access. Not only that, but we were able to hang out there, alone, for as long as we wanted. It was amazing. The only thing that’s really changed is the expansive lawn that I once knew to be covered with my grandmother’s flowers is now halved by a swimming pool. A STUNNING swimming pool I might add. I wish I could show you all the photos I snapped that day, but the owners were pretty specific about maintaining their privacy. I get it. But I can show you the exterior, right? And the fireplace because my kid is in front of it, right? Right?? Okay, good, let’s keep that between us. 
4.) The wedding was beautiful and my cousin stunning. Held in the shade of the mountain and among the sculptures of the museum, it was everything I knew it would be and more. My grandfather would have been proud, and I’m sure he was. 
And with that, I’ll take a breath. I’m sure I lost you somewhere before Indio, but what can I say? I’m a talker. Let’s chat again in a couple days, okay? I promise I’ll let you get a word in here and there. Word. 

Settle in, friends, it’s a long one…

Clearly there’s been some radio silence lately. Truth? I had every intention of getting back to blogging daily after our summer vacation. I had lots to tell you – “I’m working on a fun new side project (and no it’s not a book)” – and lots to show you – “Our little guy turned one!”  and then BAM, I had an MS attack and have been, ahem, down for the count. This was by and far the largest episode to date and if I’m being honest, I’ll tell you that it scared the shit out of me. So yea, this is me, exposing my wires to you and putting it allllll out there. 

I’ve never liked to talk that much about this disease of mine. Instead I kind of stick it in the zippered pocket of my purse and pretend it doesn’t really exist. I mean, I can feel it’s weight, but it’s ugly and hell, we can’t have UGLY on display. The horror. Because it’s mostly impacted my vision, it’s been relatively easy to keep quiet. Nobody has to know I’m almost blind in my left eye, or that I have huge floaters I try blinking away throughout the day. Unless they really studied me, nobody would notice my new lens as a result of cataract surgery, or that my eyes are now two different colors as a result of chronic inflammation. That’s the thing about MS; people can’t really tell that you have it…until they can.
The past four years have been a blur, both literally and figuratively. I’ve spent them being a newlywed, a newlywed with MS, struggling to have a baby, having a baby, keeping my day job, starting and keeping up this blog, figuring out what I want to do professionally, and now, figuring out what I want to do that might sustain our family financially when I can no longer domy day job. Which I fear, friends, is not that far ahead in the future. There are no words to describe what it’s like to be locked inside your head. Recently I sat at work, an advertising copywriter, and could not put one sentence together. Not one. Yes, I was having trouble seeing and ultimately, trouble walking, but not being able to complete a thought? It was the most terrifying moment of my life. And the first MS related incident I couldn’t hide. For the first time in four years, I realized that this progressive disease of mine is actually going to progress. And suddenly, I knew it was time to make some decisions.
Now, let me be clear. I am quite possibly the worst. Decision. Maker. EVER. My husband knows better than to ask what I’d like for dinner, and my friends laugh when I’m left to choose a time for drinks. So the idea of deciding when to begin treatment has been COLOSSAL. Shit, I’ve switched neurologists four times for the love of God. Not because they sucked or kicked me in the face or anything, but because maybe just maaaaaybe one had better insight/ideas/411 on francy new drugs than the other. Crazytown people, I’m telling you. Regardless of their differences, every single doctor conveyed the importance of beginning treatment sooner rather than later. All well and good, unless of course I was interested in having a baby. And I was. The hubs and I had been married a solid month (after dating four years thank you very much) when I was diagnosed – me at age 30 and him at 37 – and had always pictured our family portrait with, well, family. We spent long nights talking about our options. Should we have a baby? Could we have a baby? Is it smart to put off treatment? Is it responsible?? The decision we ended up making was that life does would stop despite our shift in circumstances, and we were meant to have a child. (Please hold your criticism until the end. Sincerely, Management.) Since nothing in this life is easy, it obviously took me several years to get pregnant. I had a miscarriage, my cycle was a disaster from steroid treatments and I got to the point where I felt like maybe I just wasn’t supposed to bring a baby into this world. And then it happened. And he’s been the single biggest blessing in the history of blessings. I wouldn’t change my decision to put off meds for anything in the world, and in fact, have been so preoccupied with him over the last 14 months that I kind of forgot I had MS. This flare though, not only brought me back to reality, but forced me to confront a NEW reality.
Which brings me to today, and my RIDICULOUSLY long post. The truth is, it’s been kinda odd for me on the blogosphere since the jump. As I think a lot of bloggers do, I’ve always kept the most personal parts of me personal. I’ve never used my husband’s real name (Terry) or my son’s (Tyler) and while I’ve made mention of my issues I’ve never shared the dirty details. Partially because why would you care when you’re here to check out my mid-century ramblings, and partially because once it’s in print, it’s real. Well, shit be real, folks, and for whatever reason I feel like it’s time to own it. Having this dialogue with myself and being so honest with you helps me face this new sense of normal. The one where every day that I am strong and healthy is one to be cherished. And the one where I’m real about my limitations. I’ve started treatment and come to terms with the fact that another child probably isn’t in the cards. We’re changing the way we’re eating and what we’re spending money on. And I’ve accepted the fact that over the next few years, life as a whole will undoubtedly change. Yes, there is plenty of time to cuddle Tyler as we read about dancing bears and magical bunnies. Yes, there are plenty of walks yet to take as the shadows get long and the air cool. I know I will enjoy many more weekend road trips with Terry, and many more reality shows with my best girlfriends. I will wrap presents and open wine and watch sunsets and dance in my living room. But I will also know the precious gift I’ve been given with each and every unfurled ribbon and brilliant sky. In my new normal, I will be there when my son puts on his cap and gown for graduation and boutonnière and tux for his wedding. I may not be able to help him tie his bow tie or embarrass him with my kickass Robot on the dance floor, but I WILL be there. Every day. Every step of the way (no pun intended). And for that I am truly blessed. In this new normal, I am blessed with a disease that leaves my life in front of me – limited or not – and I’ve got a lot of living to do. No, this doesn’t mean I’m walking out on you to tackle a bucket list, it just means I’m taking a little break to navigate uncharted territory. And after all today’s over-sharing, I feel confident that you’ll understand it’s really NOT you, it’s me. And baby, right now, this me just has a lot of dance moves to work on. xo

(cartoon via Gemma Correll, image via Sheen and Swanson, print from Doodling A Smile, photo by moi)

I keep meaning to share pics from my cousin’s wedding in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago! We stayed in Carpinteria, rested in Palm Springs and had a blast. I won’t bore you with all the deets, but here
are the Cliffs Notes – the weather was amazing, the beach beautiful, the bride stunning and the baby happy. Oh, and there were weird clouds to boot. Seriously, that’s weird right? I was strangely obsessed. Whatevs. That is all, carry on!

PS – My other cousin is getting married next weekend in Palm Springs so back we go. All kinds of goodness will be going down there so stay tuned. I know you’re excited!

Let’s keep it real for a second, shall we? Babies are amazing. Little glowing, fresh-faced cherubs of wonder who bring joy to all who cross their paths. Know what else they bring? Stress. Pre-babe, the Hubs and I rarely had cause to argue. I mean, what to eat on a Friday night was seriously a top 2 contender. And then came baby. Suddenly tongues are a little sharper, tones are a little higher and patience is a little thinner. I’m just sayin’. While most of the time I don’t remember what our bouts are about, I do know that I usually (okay all the time) regret things I’ve said. Just like I hope my little one doesn’t wake up at 4 am again tomorrow, I also hope that during our next “match” I remember that Hubs and I are in the same boat. The same sleepless, weighted down, single-ore vessel that tends to retain water and definitely needs a fresh coat of paint. It may not be pretty, and it may take us a while to get to our destination, but the bottom line is there’s nobody I’d rather be traveling with. Life jacket or not.
In other news, this is a great post I’m thinking of laminating and hanging up in my bathroom – 15 tips for staying married for 15 years. Gems include, “don’t criticize,” “get really good at sex” and “make a husband pact with your friends.” Yup.  

(Vintage-style boxing print via mynameisjz)