Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting From Instrument A to Point B.

So many of you are wondering what in the world Suite 323 is and may even find yourself asking 'Why does this weird girl keep asking us to follow her blog?'. So I am going to tell you. And if you haven't been asking... I'm going to tell you anyway, so settle in my pretties.

Suite 323 is the name of my Etsy shop as many of you may already know. I chose the word "suite" as in 'hotel suite' because I wanted all the items I carry in my shop to evoke a sense of something you would see in a boutique hotel room. And the number 323 represents the area code in West Hollywood, an area I love and also where I got married. But it's what the shop symbolizes that means so much more. So let's get into the heart of it.

It means freedom. (Cue the 'Braveheart' vocal stylings for this. If you didn't read it as such, go back and do it again. It's much more gripping that way.)

I am fortunate enough to experience this freedom in many different avenues. Not only do I get to work creatively and set my own schedule to be a mom, I get to immerse myself in my love for all things vintage and make ugly things pretty. (Yay!) I also get the chance to write about my experiences and thoughts along the way- which I love and have always loved to do. All of this is extremely gratifying for me. And as recently stated in a resume I submitted to a Emmy award-winning ad agency, it also affords me the opportunity the escape the chains of enslavement I currently subscribe to working in the Healthcare Industry. (Nothing personal to all you marvelous healthcare workers- its not you, it's me. And yes I really did put that on the resumé.)

** I would also like to take this time to mention as a side note that I did not hear back from said ad agency, so I do not recommend this course of action to any of my readers, occupationally-speaking. **

This 'slight' turn in my career path begs the question of what I was ever doing in nursing to begin with. And the answer to that question is... I don't really know. But I can sure tell you the story of how I got there. For that we'll have to time travel back to 1999 when I was a Junior in high school. I was big- with big feet and big hair and big eyebrows... Just pretty much know that if it was on my person, it was big.

So I had that going for me, right out of the gate. I entered into nurse assisting when I was all of 16 and had to quickly get accustomed to instructors ripping off white bed sheets to reveal the naked (often old) body of the patient fully exposed underneath it. Those were dark days. Not at all an enjoyable learning curve. I am ashamed to admit though that through exposure therapy you do start to become immune to it. There was a lot of sarcastic joke-making in that era about how much I was enjoying the training for my soon-to-be field of choice(ish). Never was I the nursing student to jump right in and volunteer to insert instrument A into ominous orifice B through Z. (And just so we're clear, instrument A was sometimes your finger.) That was telling. Jump ahead a few more years... and a lot of time spent studying and flash card making, more naked bodies and countless moments in which I spent clicking my Nike's together reciting "There's no place like home", later- and I graduated. Yayyyyy...(?)

I remembered coming home from working the night shift at the hospital on a particularly bad night and telling my parents that I was only doing this to put myself through clown college. I was working with babies at the time. That's right folks. I said it. I was working with babies and I hated it. That's how you really know you hate a job. Hating a job in which you work with sweet little adorable babies is like saying you hate floppy little puppy dog ears, hot fudge sundaes or sunshine on a cloudy day. (I actually really do hate the last one, only because it never rains in Phoenix.)

So there you have it. 10 years later- it's still status quo. I enjoyed about a 9 year stint as a school nurse... but only because I adored the kids and challenging my 8th graders to tetherball championships on Field Day. (Looking back I think my intensity scared them.)

So my friends, this is why I ask you to follow my blog. I am desperate to get to Point B already. This is my (long and uphill both ways) road to freedom. And I need all the help breaking out that I can get. If you follow my blog, sleep soundly tonight that you're a little stepping stone to making my dreams come true. And if you don't follow my blog, well... no pressure. ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Only Job That Truly Lasts Forever.

I write this blog tonight with the blessing/responsibility/privilege/pain, otherwise known as Motherhood weighing heavily upon my mind.

An absurdly light word for such a heavy thing.

This is a weight I can already perceive eek-ing into my bones... and I don't even have teenagers. And in hopefully unrelated news, I was also not carded while buying wine at Sprout's today. I'm gonna go ahead and call that one coincidence.

This saturated cloud of thinking descended on me rapidly tonight- I think by equal parts of the women in my life becoming mothers: this year, this month, last month, last week, this week, tonight and... actually probably again right now (not an overstatement). Also in part by my viewing The Lion King tonight, (yes I said The Lion King, I don't know what's come over me) but this time as a mother and a parent, instead of a daughter and a child in the audience. And lastly, by said wine purchased today from Sprout's. (By the way- Tisdale California wines are on sale this week 3 for $10. Try the shiraz, it's amazing decanted.)

So now that you know what and why, I'll let the rains fall.

My sister- who was on Life's "Baby Fence" for a period of time, became the most natural and devoted of mothers to my beautiful nephew Jasper last March. Something changed in her. Something that I've never seen before from someone I know so well, and for so long. That made a deep and profound impression on me as I was pregnant myself and gave birth to my daughter, Monroe in June of this year. Maybe at that time something also changed in me that became apparent to others, I don't really know. What I do know is what it felt like after she was here. My little person. Not even going to attempt to describe it. I can't. But all of you other mothers out there reading this know exactly the feeling I'm talking about. That is why this post is for you.

So today, it's on my mind again as I re-meet my friend Emily as a mom for the very first time... clutching darling Dora Jean. And she's decidedly different from the last time I saw her. In a forever kind of way. And tonight as Genna and Ted welcomed their baby boy Braxton- the look in Genna's eyes is already different... deeper. I can see it from just a picture. And I know when I visit Lisa, who is working so very hard right this minute for Violet, it will be no different.

I remember my midwife telling me when I told her I was scared of the pain of childbirth, that the process of birthing your child; however it happens... whenever it happens... is only the first of many tests and pain in this life that you will go through as a woman and mother, for your baby. That stuck with me. I can't help but let it come full circle and think about what I've put my own mother through, and how her heart has ached at my expense. And how that ache probably made the pain of childbirth feel like a day at the spa, comparatively. And then on the converse, how there can also be no greater source of joy. This is the strength in which we women are measured. Motherhood is the greatest gift that also comes with the heaviest price tag, a price tag that we will somehow always, ALWAYS find the emotional bank account to pay. This love transcends everything... even death. It is a never-ending source. I know this because I've tested it.

There's a saying that "the greater the love, the greater the loss", and it is my opinion that there are no truer words that have ever been spoken. It is also my opinion that this fact actually makes mothers the most courageous of heroines, because they readily take on that potential for pain every single day- no questions asked.

Although still new to "the ranks", I have the deepest and most reverential respect for the things, both seen and unseen, that my maternal counterparts have had the heart to endure, as they faithfully fulfill their roles in the only job that truly lasts forever.

Monday, September 5, 2011

less is most.

This blog is inspired by my recent trip to a little store called Anthropologie. I know that sounds ridiculous and "un"blog-worthy, but hear me out.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Anthropologie, it's a chain retail store that has been around for awhile. It is wonderful and whimsical and the merchandise appears to be completely and totally handmade. Like Etsy herself thundered and lightning'ed out of the cyber heavens and plopped itself down into a mall near you. It's a genius collaboration, like what would happen if Jay-Z and Kanye West teamed up and made a rap album. (Oh wait, that really happened.) They sell everything from apparel to dish ware, candles to door knobs, cookbooks to jewelry. But it's intentionally organic and authentic looking. Which brings me to my reason for writing about it.

At an age where technology is at its cutting-est edge, and doctors can write lifesaving orders wirelessly on tablets, and you can play the piano by simply touching a screen- why is it that we're going back to the things that are the most simple? Handmade is officially a movement. (the "Ebay" of the handmade and vintage community) has more users than ever before and the desire for things that are handmade outweigh the desire for things that are mass produced considerably. Not only are handmade items preferred but their commercialized counterparts are now... kind of the nerdy kid in school that is allergic to everything. Why is that?

I remember when I was in first grade (late 80's early 90's) my mom took my sister and I to a local thrift store for all of our "back to school" clothes. We were a single income family and my mom had to make a dollar stretch, and she expertly did so. But I remember being embarrassed and aware of that at age 6. But nowadays, people readily shop at thrift stores for clothes and household items. I proudly announce that I've decorated half my house with thrift store gems I've found here there and everywhere. Even weddings and other parties have trended toward the simple and handmade inspired themes as far as decor, gifts and fare go.

When you think about it, the reason is pretty clear. No matter how complicated our world becomes, or how technology advances in the most unbelievable ways- it's the simplest things that consistently make us the most happy. In the old days... everything was handmade. That was the norm for everyone. So to have something purchased from a store was a luxury, and a symbol of status. Now, in this fast paced society, hardly anything is handmade. Store bought is the norm for mostly everyone. And to have something made for you by hand (often with love), is a luxury. And the skill required to make it is a symbol of admiration from others.

What makes you the happiest? True happiness isn't a double edged sword that ends up costing you money, or robbing you of time. It gives and asks nothing in return. So what is it? A smile from your baby? (No matter how old your baby is... =) A great meal with your friends? Big belly laughs with your family? A glass of wine curled up on the couch at the end of a busy day? Helping out someone in need when it was "in the power of your hand to give it"? Ironically; none of these things have an app that can be downloaded, or require wi-fi.

Trends come and go. But as I have gotten older, I've really come to appreciate the happiness that simple things lend themselves to.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm powering down my Macbook and going to go kiss my sweet baby girl goodnight one more time... and that is a feeling money cannot buy. =)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Anchors", Adaptability & Positive Pregnancy Tests.

So I'm having hideous Catholic guilt for not blogging for awhile. My apologies faithful readers! I WILL be a more faithful writer! The last few months has been a tad insane. But now that the dust has settled (and this is a very literal statement due to the kitchen renovations that are now completed at our house- YAY!), the Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh finally... well- went, and the first string of pieces sold from Suite 323, life started resuming to it's normal cozy levels of chaos and insanity. Annnnd cue the positive pregnancy test.

You always wonder what your reaction is going to be when you discover news like that. Maybe the sticker shock isn't as severe if you were actively trying and planning for baby... We were not. Not that we necessarily weren't, or the news was unwelcome- we were thrilled after the paramedics cleared me. (slight over exaggeration) But it was still shock, personified. To the extent that when I went into the backyard to call Ben and tell him (because I didn't want to panic my 7 year old step son who was cooped up inside the house with hives and a swollen face), I was crying so hysterically he thought someone in our family was literally dead. Classy, huh? I like to do it big. Hopefully next time I can break the news in a little more well thought out, less terror-inducing way. What made it even more surprising was that the month before I had been to the doctor and she told me I might have a hard time getting pregnant without getting on fertility medication. (Thanks doc.) Fast forward to September- the busiest month of my life, pulling all nighters (not that kind) getting ready for Suite 323's grand opening... and I get pregnant. Someone still needs to review how with me because I swear I hardly saw my husband all month. What a blur.

So that's where I've been. Hiding out under the pregnancy cloud of chaos and confusion that me and 75% of other girls I know seem to all have been caught under at the same time. Including my sister. We welcomed little Jasper to the family on March 27th. He's adorable and perfect and I'm madly in love with him.  I'm officially 30 weeks now. June 20th is t-minus 9 weeks and counting. We're having a little girl, Monroe. =) Another curve ball. I used to say I never wanted a daughter. Now I can't imagine having anything else. And she loves music. Go figure.

So instead of making the spare bedroom my office, we're making it a nursery. =) And now I'm trying to see what I can make Suite 323 evolve into, now that "the game" has officially changed, in the most wonderful way. I would love it to grow into something I could have the freedom to work when I want, with my baby girl on my hip... that's there for me when I need it so I can be a mom first. Seems like a lot of Etsian mom's out there do it every day. I need a piece of their mojo.

I guess in this life the only thing you can really bank on is that nothing is ever certain. And the only degree of separation between insanity and opportunity is adaptability in any given circumstance we each respectively deal with. That and a strong network of people around you that can keep you grounded when you do happen to drift over to the city limits of Insanity-ville. Thank you to all my favorite "anchors" in my life... You know who you are.

Now go get 'em tigers.

PS- I, Courtney Hernandez, solemnly swear not to let months go by before I blog again. Even if I'm dilated to 9 and 100% effaced.