A+ Autobiography

When Mark asked me to move in with him, I packed a bag and we skipped off into a spectacular sunset. Just kidding. We packed up my entire life, hired movers to load the largest U-Haul available, and hit the road eastbound during traffic hour. The sun was setting behind us and the rest of our lives lay before us. Trite, but true. I was excited, smitten, anxious, and hopeful.


Naturally, I’d over packed. Refusing to part with necessities – things like my pink spaghetti strainer, taco griddle, Z Gallerie sofa, dining set, and numerous other things that Mark had duplicates of – we were hauling things across country that we’d never even use. They would sit in boxes and under sheets in an overpriced storage unit in the city. But having before hit a dead end on shacked up road, I worried about donating this stuff. I really couldn’t stomach the idea of having to, once again, buy dishes, televisions, and bath towels should Mark or I declare the same sentiment published in the Terre Haute in 1851, “Go West, young (wo)man, go west.” I’m fully aware of how faithless this sounds. I suppose, in a way, my home goods were my security blanket.

Since shacking up, Mark and I have lived in one condo and three houses in four different cities. In other words, we’re professional packers and expert movers. Thanks for always confirming my address, dear friends. But more importantly, with each move, Mark and I felt increasingly confident that we’ll go many places together, but I won’t ever go back to Arizona alone. While I didn’t fully feel like a Florida girl, I was unequivocally Mark’s girl. Yet, I continued to haul my security blanket from place-to-place.

That all changed with two pink lines.

Being pregnant with my first child has changed my life. I’m sure all moms say this. It’s metamorphic to say the very least. For me, it instantly rooted me to Florida, to my stepchildren, and more so to my husband than I thought possible. I no longer felt like an outsider. Three positive pregnancy tests and boom, I became a bonafide member of this family, and a Sunshine State local. What’s more, I felt foolish for dragging my security blanket around all these years.

Unpacking was liberating, and a little embarrassing. Did I really keep spices? Toothpicks? Oh, hello pizza cutter. Lucky timing because we had recently thrown ours out by mistake. Again. And by we, I mean Mark. He has a habit of leaving them in the pizza box, but I don’t hustle him too hard because I’m grateful he takes out the trash. Marriage goals achieved. I very proudly created a Goodwill box and with each donated item, felt glad to be seriously hooking someone up. I imagined some 20-something-year-old girl happily loading her cart with my martini shaker, champagne flutes, frying pans, icecream scooper, and that pink strainer.

Shedding my security blanket brought me peace and satisfaction. Imagine me, triumphantly clapping my hands together as if wiping away a hard day’s work. However, all my generous donating also brought me to the determination that there are some things I’ll always keep. Some material things are memories worth holding on to. Yes, I hoard sentimental items. Shamelessly. If I can hold an item in my hand and it brings me back to a smile or a story that defines me, it stays.


Before leaving Phoenix over four years ago, we stopped by my mom’s house for a hug and a few essentials she no longer wished to store, but I would never dream of parting with: my Barbie house and limo, photo albums from cheer, slumber parties, and dances, schoolwork and textbooks, trophies, ribbons, sashes, and prom dresses. While my stepdaughters confiscated all my Barbie stuff the moment we became roomies, everything else was and will continue to be safely stored. Except for this gem; this one was too good to keep all to myself.


Autobiography of Jamie Lee Murdick

Written in Mrs. Dobt’s fourth grade class

Quail Run Elementary, Phoenix, Arizona

Grade earned = A+

Part I

Age 0:   

     My name is Jamie Murdick. I was born on Friday at 3:33 pm. The date was September 28th, 1984. I weighed 5 lbs. 8 oz. When I was born I had air bubbles around my heart and lungs. The doctors were afraid that if one of them popped it would put a hole in my heart or lungs. They put me on oxygen and air-vacked me to a hospital that cared for sick newborn babies. My parents were worried sick! They came to visit me every day, and stayed the whole time. Three days later the bubbles dissolved and my parents were able to take me home. I was very lucky!

Age 1:

     I weighed 22 lbs., because I was so tall. My family and I moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Littleton, Colorado. Six months later we moved to Tucson, Arizona.

Age 2:

     My family and I moved to Cave Creek, Arizona. We lived with my grandparents who had a three-story house and a nice pool. Over Christmas break my family and I drove to Michigan to see my dad’s parents.

Age 3:

     My parents bought a house in Phoenix, Arizona. I invited Cortney Schwartz to my birthday party. Cortney and I are really good friends, so are our moms.

Age 4:

     My dad got a job in Palm Springs, California. My mom and I did not go with him, but we visited every other week. We would sometimes go to Disneyland and Sea World. We had fun!

Age 5:

     My family and I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. My dad got a job to build a golf course there. We went to the Excalibur Hotel and Casino and I won a sword! My friend’s brother stepped in an ant pile. I felt sorry for him. 

Age 6:

     My family and I moved to Newport Beach, California. I went to kindergarten there. My dad was there building a golf course on the beach. It was a great year!

Part II

Age 7:

     We moved back to Phoenix and I entered the first grade at Quail Run Elementary School. My teacher was really nice, but my P.E teacher was the greatest! Her name was Miss Stone. Then she got married and her new name changed to Mrs. Dobt. My little brother was born!

Age 8:

     The summer before I entered second grade I flew back to Michigan to see my Grandma and Grandpa. I had a great time visiting everyone there. My second grade teacher was Mrs. Larson.

Age 9:

     Third grade was easy. My teacher was Mrs. McCutchan. She was very nice.

Age 10:

     In fourth grade my teacher was Mrs. Dobt, and she was really cool! She let us listen to music while we worked. Math got a little bit harder, but I managed to get good grades. Some of my favorite friends were in my class. Amber Fulbright, Tesa Fisher, and Cortney Schwartz just to name a few.

Age 11:

     My mom and I started doing some really heavy duty cleaning on the house. My dad worked on the front and back yards. Once again we were on the move. It will be my little brother A.J.’s first time.

Age 12:

     We ended up moving to Hawaii. We bought a house right on the beach. My dad got a job there, and he was making big bucks every week. For my sixth grade teacher, I had Mr. Robinson He was really mean! I always liked watching T.V. on the huge screen T.V., and playing basketball in an airconditioned room. You wouldn’t believe how big my house was!

Part III

Age 13:

     My mom signed me up for drama classes. I really enjoyed them. I missed my friends more and more, but I made many new ones.

Age 14:

     When I was in the eighth grade I worked at the beach after school. I wasn’t a lifeguard, but I worked in the lifeguard office. My mom got a job working with dolphins. She loved it!

Age 15:

     In the summer I flew back to Phoenix to visit all my friends. I was so happy to see them! I spent most of my time with relatives. I told all my friends I would see them soon. I flew back to Hawaii and started high school.

Age 16:

     On my sixteenth birthday I got a forest green convertible Porsche, with a black top. The car had a phone with two different lines. I loved it! It was really cool!

Age 17:

     In the eleventh grade I made cheer. Prom was coming and I didn’t have a date yet. There was nothing to worry about, because it was only Tuesday and Prom was on Saturday night. That Tuesday I was asked out by Steven Seford. I said yes! He was the most popular guy in the 11thgrade. Prom was great! A couple of weeks later his true personality came out, what a loser. I guess that the most popular guys aren’t always the best.

Age 18:

     Yes, I finally made it to being a senior! I was still a cheerleader, and have been in drama classes since I was 13. The only sad thing is I don’t have a boyfriend. My last prom in high school is coming up, and I have to get a date.  A guy named Johnathan Lesha asked me to go out. I said yes gladly. We had a great time at the prom. Johnathan was so sweet!

Part IV

Age 19:

     I decided that I wanted to go to Paris, France for college. I took French so I could communicate with others there. That summer, Cortney and Tesa flew to Paris to see me. Amber couldn’t come, but she promised she would next summer.

Age 20:

     My second year of college was a blast! Over Christmas break I traveled all around Europe. I brought back many souvenirs and antiques.

Age 21:

     In my third year in college I was rehearsing for a play when a woman named Louise Flesher asked me if I was ever interested in doing some professional acting or modeling. I told her that I’ve wanted to be a famous actress since I was a little girl. She handed me a card with her phone number on it and told me to call her soon.

Age 22:

     It was the year I was to graduate from college. I couldn’t wait to start acting professionally, so I called Louise Flesher. She was so happy to hear from me. Before I knew it I was in a commercial, a T.V. show, and I was going to star in my first movie. Later that year I graduated with a major in Performing Arts, and a minor in Education.

Age 23:

     I married a wonderful Frenchman who was an international lawyer. Later that year we had a baby boy named Ryan. We all moved to the United States and bought a house in Beverly Hills, California and another in New York City.

Age 24:

     It was the year 2008 and flying cars were invented. The best movie of the year was called “Deep Trouble.” I starred in the film as a mermaid. It was one creepy movie nobody ever forgot about.

Part V

Age 25:

     I switched to the William Moris Talent Agency. Our second child was born. A beautiful baby girl named Mara.

Age 26:

     We spent four months in our house in New York so I could star on Broadway in the musical “Freedom.” I was the leading lady.  I had to sing a lot, but I had no problem with it.

Age 27:

     My third child was born. Her name was Miranda. By this time, Ryan was 4 and Mara was 2-years-old.

Age 28:

     My husband, my children, and I all took a cruise ship to Hawaii to see my parents. The kids loved the beach and playing with the dolphins. We all had a blast! We stayed for four months, then we set sail for Hollywood.

Age 29:

     I starred in the movie of a lifetime called “Friends.” It was about two women who were completely different, but somehow they become the best of friends forever. Siskel and Ebert gave it 4 thumbs up.

Age 30:

     As I sit at a table with many people surrounding me, a man on a microphone speaks. He says, “the Academy Award for the year 2014 goes to the best actress of all time for her performance in the movie “Friends,” her name is JAMIE MURDICK!” I cried my way up onto the stage to collect my Oscar. I thanked everyone in every way who got me here today!   

Well, the good news is that, in reality, life went on beyond 30. Is Mrs. Dobt partially to blame for my complex with turning 30? Written when I was 10, two thirds of this is total fantasy. But I’m not sure which is funnier. The real life details I chose to feature: city-hopping, ant piles, and smartly sucking up to my teacher? Or that I thought we’d move to Hawaii, cars would fly, and I’d have the ability to sing well enough that it earned me income?

Thankfully, my real life outshines the fantasy above.  In reality, I’m not famous and I’m not that rich, but I am well traveled, educated, and happy. I married an All-American man of Belgian ancestry whom knows basic French – so my crystal ball wasn’t that cloudy after all. My Belgian great grandmother would be pleased. Plus, he takes me on much more posh vacays than cruises. In a way, I do have three kids. I get to enjoy and nurture my stepchildren, yet I didn’t have to dedicate my twenties to them. Talk about a win-win. Kid me was in fast forward; she wanted to do life too quickly. In real life, I deliberately waited until my thirties to marry and procreate. In my late teens, I somehow knew that taking the long route around the game board of life was what was best. Along the way, I’ve graduated college with an Emmy; chosen careers with unique small businesses that eventually and fatefully led me to Mark; ran in the rain down the streets of London; kissed under the Eiffel Tower; partied until noon in Vegas; met a U.S. President; taken koala selfies in Sydney, and witnessed the sunrising over The Bush while on safari. I’ve taken the time to enjoy my life.  And much to my relief – from the pink spaghetti strainer to the two pink lines on my first pregnancy test – it’s more fulfilling and amusing than I predicted it to be.

And so today, on my 34thbirthday, I’ll channel inventive 10-year-old me and gander a guess at what this year will bring:

Age 34:

            I’ve officially joined the mom club! Of all the (fashionable) hats I’ve worn, this one is my fave. My son, Bradley Phoenix, is healthy and makes us so happy. He likes to squeeze my fingers tightly and, thankfully, is a really good sleeper. He’s already quite the jet-setter. He doesn’t make a big fuss on planes and doesn’t mind all the selfies when sightseeing. Business is booming! I’m really proud of my husband, Mark. He’s working so hard and closing lots of deals. The kids all have straight A’s, and Tyler got his first girlfriend! But the best news of all: we’re expecting another baby! Baby Coppens Arriving December 2019!

What’s the saying? “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars?” Might as well go for it. Who knows, maybe my reality will, once again, be better than fantasy. Time will tell.

Becoming Bradley

What’s in a name? Shakespeare’s Juliet famously persuades “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” She was love sick, but she wasn’t wrong. Had the rose been named, say, pickle, it still would have been just as beautiful, and easy on the eyes, nose, and fingertips. Likewise, Romeo still would have been a looker had he been called Herbert. But let’s be real, a graceful name helps to make giving and receiving this ethereal flower – or dating a hunk – all the more romantic and extraordinary. Even pregnant and generally famished, I’d rather receive a bouquet of roses than pickles. I know several parents who proudly gave their daughters the middle name Rose. Bottom line, words are powerful and names matter.

When I was 28 weeks pregnant, you were the size of a butternut squash, and your father had exhausted more veto power than I ever could have imagined, we finally named you: Bradley Phoenix Coppens. Never Brad, always Bradley. Your friends and future girlfriends will challenge this – which will, admittedly, annoy me – but your parents will always honor your true name. Your initials are BPC, which I like because it rhymes, and I’m cheeky like that. One day, likely when you’re learning to write your name, you’ll wonder why we named you Bradley Phoenix. You may think: ordinary name, city in the desert, but it’s really so much more than that.  Sweet son, here’s the story of how you became you:

First things first, you needed a first name. As I’m sure you’ve gathered, your dad is particular and forward thinking. In the age of baby name lists saturated with exotic spellings of normal words, nicknames, unisex names, fruits – yes, fruits – and random adjectives, your dad appreciated tradition. He wanted to provide you with a strong name, one where the spelling and origin would never be pondered or judged. He had the foresight to consider that you may become President of the United States or the CEO of a fortune 500 company, which you likely launched, so not only should your name look stately on letterhead, but it needed to be respectable, too. Can citizens or a workforce really get behind a guy named Cloud, Kourage or Cabbage? Your dad thought not.

Shortly after my dentist diagnosed me with pregnancy gingivitis and swollen feet three times their usual size was my new normal, I finally got on your dad’s wavelength. It was like my entire body was oozing with you, yet you had no name other than “baby boy.” It was time to get serious, not to mention monogramming. I presented: Luke, Scott, and Brooks. To which he replied: “Luke Skywalker? No. Scott? Hate it. Brooks? As in Brooks Brothers? Nope.” Veto abuser.

In truth, your dad named you. When I finally urged him to be serious and tell me what names he’s always liked, he very easily offered Bradley, not Brad – reason number 633 that your dad and I were meant to be. He explained that he had wanted to name your brother Bradley, which I thought was particularly profound for such an unsentimental guy like your dad. It became quite evident to me that he’s been waiting to give you this name. He’s been waiting for you. I didn’t reveal it to him just then, but you became Bradley that instant.

On to Phoenix. If you ask me, middle names are of value. They add wholeness to a person’s identity, and if thoughtfully arranged, regality in this basic world. Plus, they’re handy when being disciplined and on marriage invitations, too. I see future me over enunciating your entire name when I’ve busted you sneaking snacks as a kid or out the back door as a teen. The beauty of it will help me cope with the reality that you’re acting like a young, fun me. Karma. Your dad’s a two-name man, and even he agrees that his monogrammed accessories fall short. He’s the type of dad who strives to give his children so much more than he ever had. Names included. But as you’ll learn, your mama is a clever girl and life is like a game of chess. You see, your dad chose your first name, so I automatically got to choose your middle name. Checkmate.

View More: http://briandersonphotos.pass.us/jamiecoppens

While your dad plans ahead for total domination in the corporate or political scene, I said to myself, “What if he becomes an actor or musician? His name has to sound strong, and be unique without being weird.” The hunt was on. I plucked ideas from my baby name list in the notes section of my iPhone. I clicked through baby name lists online. My eyes laser focused on scrolling TV and movie credits. I googled what famous people name their kids and what’s trending in other countries. I considered family names and charming southern ones, too. And then it hit me. I will not give you your first or last name; your middle name was my single shot at giving you a piece of me. A total narcissist would give you their own name, but like I said, initials matter. And while I do have my fair share of obsessions, myself is not one of them. Cancel the hunt. Inspiration was what I needed. Enter nostalgia – my favorite pastime.

Phoenix came to me in a dream. Just kidding. I was swimming with your Gigi and sisters, well, treading water – you’ll eventually accept this about me. But back to you, back to Phoenix. Gigi adored it, naturally. Your sisters thought it sounded cool and weren’t the least bit surprised because they know how much I love my roots. Bradley, when I fly home to Arizona, I cry. When I leave, I cry. Not necessarily because I’m sad, but because Phoenix is – in the cheesiest, yet most honest revelation – my heart. Like so many others who just simply exist where they reside, I didn’t truly realize my affection for Arizona until I left her.

For me, it’s the smell of the desert after the rains or in the dead of night; the sound of the wind rustling bits of desert floor across smooth asphalt; and the colors of the sunrise. Don’t even get me started on the sunsets. They’re the best in the world – and I’ve trotted this globe. When I was a kid, I would watch the sun set behind a mountain and was almost certain that if I just walked to the other side, I’d find it in jammies fast asleep. I’ve closed my eyes and swayed to a rain dance, played barefoot in monsoons, romped through the desert chasing dust storms, pool crashed most of the resorts, and never stopped marveling at the blooming palo verde trees – as yellow and green as brand new Crayola crayons. When a saguaro cactus blooms, you stop and pay attention. If you’re like me, you take a photo. Drive the Loop 101 with me and I’ll bet you I comment on how the mountains look today. Ask your Auntie Jennifer and she’ll tell you I’ve always been like that. Perhaps I’ve been enamored with the Valley of the Sun all along.

Phoenix is where the patriarch of my family, your Great Grandpa Bud, pretended to be your Great Grandma Connie’s date because his friend was too chicken to meet her parents. It might have been the universe’s grandest gesture of all time, because that friend never did get another date and Grandpa and Grandma went on to have a family of four children, 10 grandchildren, and 19 great grandchildren – you make 20. Yes, you have a big family. Here’s a tip from Mommy: Don’t be last in line for the gravy at Thanksgiving or you’re not getting any gravy on Thanksgiving. Sweetheart, it’s every man for himself.

Picturesque Arizona, a backdrop for the “Wild West,” is the backbone of who I am. Like the desert, I’m a tumbleweed of mystery, color, solitude, tranquility, and passion that’s – at once – calculated and reckless. Frankly, if it hadn’t been for your daddy wrangling my heart, I don’t think I would have ever left that place in the sun. My heart’s home has traveled from Phoenix to daddy, and now, with you, back to Phoenix. In me, Phoenix elicits pride, adoration, and heritage.  You already entice much of the same, and we haven’t even been formally introduced. Some say that over the span of your existence, I will give you “my everything,” and you will become “my world.” I have a feeling they’re right. So to begin, I will give you a middle name that means everything to me, a middle name that represents something special in this wide world. Phoenix. I hope you like it. Or can at least appreciate how much thought went into it. Your name is how you meet the world before it has the chance to get to know you. If nothing else, I’ve teed up a nice icebreaking conversation with future employers and girlfriends. Look at me, being a mom and a wingman. I’ve totally got this. You’ve totally got this.

Earlier, I said that words are powerful and names matter. Scratch that, names are meaningful. Your name is meaningful. But nice try, Juliet. You almost had me going there, Shakespeare. Romeo was a Montague, and you are a Coppens. Bradley Phoenix Coppens.

My Floridian Learning Curve Continues

They say it takes just 21 days to create a new habit. When you really consider how short that segment of time is, it seems entirely possible to not only reinvent your life, but to gracefully cope with its changes, too. Think about it, you could be a whole new you in less time than it takes for one month to pass the calendar. Continue reading

10 Life Lessons My Mama Taught Me

This year, not unlike last, I was out of town on Mother’s Day. At a global rate of $1.99 per minute, I phoned my mama from Istanbul, Turkey to show her the love that had been promised to her back in 1914. You see, thanks to a mother-loving American woman named Anna Jarvis and, according to The University of Virginia, a self-described mama’s boy, President Woodrow Wilson, Mother’s Day is a bona fide national holiday that we Americans celebrate on the second Sunday of May. But let’s be real here, with things like clashing calendars or procrastination in shipping her gift, Mother’s Day could just as easily be celebrated on the third Sunday as it could on a Tuesday. It could even be recognized in an extremely tardy blog post on June 25th. Simply put, the month of May (or June in my case) belongs to the moms. And I’m cool with that; after all, every other day of the year is (insert creepy voice) consumed by the children.

My mama and I rarely talk on the phone; we’re more into the “how have you been?” or “leaving the country again!” texts. Sometimes we FaceTime, which is really awesome now that I’m living on the opposite side of the country and Mexican food lunch dates just aren’t possible anymore. However, it was her holiday so I wanted to hear her voice, and she seemed grateful to hear mine, too. We chatted about my Istanbul sightseeing and how much room service I’d devoured, and her upcoming travel to the Philippines. I warned her of the typhoons and cyclones threatening her next destination and urged her to stay safe and dry – who was the mother here?

After our 20-minute and $40 USD phone call, I scrolled through my Facebook to see how everyone else in my world was honoring their mother. Nearly every single friend took time away from their usually political, travel, partying, or culinary posts to wish their mother a happy day and proudly proclaim that their mom is “the best;” “the kindest;” “the most amazing;” “the most beautiful.” And while that was very thoughtful of them to declare, if it were me and I had to pick just one attributing adjective to describe my mom, it wouldn’t be any of those ordinary words. She isn’t basic, so I’d never assign her a baseline descriptor. She’s complex and charming. She’s fun and funny. So instead, I’d tell you how inspiring she is.

Our relationship is unique. Looking back, I think she was my best and first friend. As a child, I mostly just remember my mom as a beautiful, young person who played and laughed. She had long hair and wore bold lipstick. Her teeth were perfect. Even at such a young age, I could see how persuasive her smile was – I’ve been faithfully brushed my teeth for as long as I can remember. She would put the cereal low so that I could make it myself while she got ready for her day or caught up on her beauty rest. She most definitely molded me into the anti-morning person that I am today. I think my desire to pay people compliments began with her, because whenever I told her how pretty she looked or how great her earrings were, I got to stay up later or she’d play a game with me. We watched soap operas and played hockey in the street. On rainy days, she played Barbies with me and taught me how to write my name in cursive. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that my mom was one of the cool moms.

Time ticks on…the very act of aging alters perceptions…reality rolls right over you. As an adult, we have this ability to look back and see things as they were, not as they seemed. It’s been recommended that I remove my parents from their pedestal. I’ve been informed that they’re just people, not super heroes. With a nose crinkle, I ponder the cool cloud I had her floating in all these years:

In the third grade, three grades beyond the rainy day cursive lesson, I discovered that I’d been doodling a cursive G instead of a J. I was, of course, teased for this error because I had been, of course, bragging about my cursive skills up until that point. I wondered if she hadn’t corrected me because she thought it was cute or because she wasn’t really paying attention. My mother has always been very interested in her own life. She wasn’t one of those moms who drove you all around town or took you to the mall everyday or prepared envied lunches or even baked a birthday cake of your liking – there was a span of a few years where she gave me chocolate with chocolate frosting because that’s what she liked. But, she was one of those moms who painted your nails and put curlers in your hair. She was trusted and well liked. I could tell her my secrets and was never embarrassed to have her around. In high school, my girlfriends and I would put on skits and my mom would video tape them for us. We were never shy of what she’d think because she’s never been a judgmental person. I also appreciated that I could shop in her closet whenever I pleased because she has never ever worn mom jeans.

Sure, I probably could have used more of a mom than a friend during those formative years. I mean, I don’t know how to sew or French braid my hair. And the only real meal I can cook with confidence are her tacos. But based on how damn delicious those are, I wouldn’t trade that one recipe for seventeen.

My mother – the friend, mama, college-graduate even with two children, talented TV producer, and the girl who still sometimes snorts when she laughs – isn’t a conventional parent. But somewhere along her wayward path of parenting, she managed to offer me snippets of unique support and advice that left me inspired enough to actually do what she said.

Of all the things she did and didn’t teach me, here’s what I have come to value most:


This wasn’t bestowed upon me until I was old enough to enter a bar, so kudos to that moral compass. She explained that if someone, particularly a friend amongst a group, wants to buy you a drink – let them. Note that creepy men are exempt from this party lesson. Roofies are bad – all moms know that. Right now, as I’m typing, I just paused to consider my financial commitment to one of most beloved hobbies, that being partying, and I can honestly say that I have invested very little in myself. I can also promise that I have smiled and said “thank you!” for every single beverage that my wallet didn’t pay for. No one likes an ungrateful bitch.


Keeping with the party theme here, this rule is really very simple. Why sit at one bar all night long when you could pick a few in the area and visit them all? Note that this is only recommended when you utilize something like Uber, a taxi, or your own two feet if you’re lucky enough to have a cozy bar scene in your neighborhood. And when the bar-merry-go-round has concluded, finish up where you began and see how different everyone looks there. They’re likely to be bellied-up to the bar telling the same story with a slur while you’ve just sashayed into the place with windblown hair and might even make a cameo on the bar top.


During my mom’s second marriage, she started filling our house with fresh flowers. Perhaps it was to appear more domesticated? Maybe she suddenly discovered that their mere presence made our house more of a home? Either way, it really impacted me. I enjoyed walking through her front door to be greeted by a colorful and fragrant bouquet. My college living arrangements always sort of had a scent of Taco Bell or beer, and I never really felt at home. As an adult, I take a lot of pride in setting flowers by my own front door. It seems silly, but I take a moment to look at them whenever I leave the house. They make where I live my life seem real and beautiful – and who wouldn’t appreciate that?


This was actually mandated. She didn’t care what I majored in so long as I went to and graduated from a university. When I moved into my dorm at Arizona State she mailed me a letter cheerleading me on, but also recommended this: “don’t let your education get into the way of your experience!” I saved that letter somewhere in some box, and even though I haven’t looked at it in years, I can see it perfectly. She wrote in all capital letters with a dull pencil on an ASU letterhead and personalized it with a lipstick kiss at the bottom. Throughout college, she helped me with math homework and laughed as I told her spring break stories. I think it was a healthy balance. And when I was all done, she toasted me with champagne.


This is pretty self-explanatory. But just in case it’s over your head, this is where resilience comes into play. Break-ups suck, but they’re a process. Just go through the motions. Be angry. Be sad. Be wild. Be open to new things and new people. And then, one day, you’ll be happy again without even having to focus on it. That’s the “ok” part. But I can always take solace in the fact that if my mama ever sees that one ex-boyfriend, she’ll “run him over” with her car. See, you’ll be laughing in no time at all.


This is referring to the generally uncomfortable shoes we women wear. Strutting your stuff isn’t easy when the balls of your feet are numb or your toes are pinched, but if you make that fashion commitment early in the night, you had better keep them on all night. There is nothing tackier than a shoeless chick zig-zagging her way through a casino at 4 am because her little feetsies just couldn’t take it anymore. Let’s be honest, we all know that you had them off inside the club too. You want to know how I know this? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been walking through a nightclub and literally tripped over a high-heeled shoe. No foot. No body. Just one shoe. Disgusting!
Didn’t your mama teach you better than that? Here, borrow mine.


I can’t even count how many times this phrase was declared in my house growing up. Whether it be some bully brat spreading a rumor about me one day and then getting benched from the team for poor grades the next, or my mom leaving a generous tip to our lunch server only to be rewarded with an even more generous tip during her next shift, or my failure to hold the front door for her and then immediately tripping over the dog, she always sang, “that’s karma for ya!” Big or small, what we do and how we treat each other matters. Karma’s only a bitch when you are.


This is fact. If you were to really magnify the problems, almost any problem, that arise between a man and a woman, you will see that a single indifference can run amuck because he’s an idiot and she’ll take it to crazy town. I wish this weren’t true, but I’ve also learned that it’s better to date a dumbass than a lunatic. Guys, leave the wickedness to the women.


Even if no one will ever see or know you made the effort – you will, and you’ll feel damn pretty for it. I’ve been matching my unmentionables since I was 16, and while I can’t say for certain if anyone has ever appreciated it, it’s always made me feel fashionably in control.


That’s it. She never elaborated beyond that. But what kind of a mother would she be if she hadn’t at least taught me that?

Proud Auntie

If the saying is true, that pets make great baby practice, then I appear to be “put me in, coach” ready – on most days.

On most days, I take care to cuddle, feed, and water my pets. They have toys and space. They are loved and looked after. But on other days, I’m pretty much flunking out: like the Monday I had to take the puppy to the vet because I gave him an ear infection from bathing his face too well, but not drying it enough; or the Saturday I had to confirm the death of our clown fish’s anemone and cringe as Mark netted him out to be unceremoniously tossed into the trash; or the Sunday I wept as Mark boxed our baby bunny for burial, somewhere pretty I implored. Mama had a rough week.

I’m rapidly learning that being a parent is really hard. There are highs and lows; challenges and joys; triumphs and tantrums. I’m just holding onto some promised hope that practice really does in fact make perfect. This is what everyone says, after all.

Fresh out of the practice zone is my best friend of 27 years, Jennifer. She recently had a human baby boy. He’s a soft-skinned babe whose fist is always fuzzy in the photos she sends me so I get the sense that he’s already enjoying life. I watch the videos she sends and stalk photos she posts. I still can’t believe that she made a person and that, from as far as I can see, she’s good at being his mom.

Female best friends have this longing to be very similar. We coordinate outfits; do the same diets; share makeup; borrow shoes; get matching tattoos; order the same cocktails; and even pose the same way in pics – better sides observed, of course. In my usual longing to bear a striking resemblance to my best gal, I started to think how special it’d be if I had a little human, too. She’s at a place I’m yet to be. But as far as I know, you can’t just borrow babies to match your bestie and overnight shipping does not apply here. I needed a new plan. Then I realized that it’s kind of great that she’s charting this new territory first. It’s like she’s voyaging to this dark, mysterious, likely exciting, but potentially scary and absolutely life-changing land and all I have to do is sit back and wait for her to give me the map, inviting me to follow.

Awaiting this treasure map of giggles and baby burps, I resolve to condition my parental skills – you know, put someone else first; exert an unbelievable amount of patience; be bursting with an inexplicable fierceness of love that no one else quite understands; etcetera; etcetera. I recall that back when I was wearing braces and writing poetry, my mama once joked that my twenty-something aged cousin and her new husband were getting a pet in an effort to thwart baby blues. Even then, I thought it was a smart idea; everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend, but I’ve encountered some real asshole-ish children over the years. Plus, actual little humans still sort of bewilder me – despite my years of education studies and babysitting like a boss – so the decision was clear: a furry fix was precisely what I needed. Consider it a four-legged bridge to a more selfless future.

So, ten days before Jennifer went into labor, I distracted that strange inner “I wanna be a mommy” desire with a dog. But not just any dog, an unbelievably adorable 2.6-pound designer dog that we named London. No bull shit, he looks so much like a teddy bear that his breed is actually called Teddy Bear. Go ahead, squeal with delight – I did. Cuddly sound effects aside though, getting London was a must. I  couldn’t be completely shut out from this mom experience – my FOMO (fear of missing out) pretty much dictated that. Besides, a puppy is the only cuteness contender that even begins to rival baby beauty. Bonus facts: I can dress him up, too. Football jerseys? Ugly Christmas sweater? Preppy button-up? Rain boots? You betcha.

One week and three days down the calendar, on October 30, 2014 to be exact, baby Dylan (Jennifer’s human) graced the planet with his endearing existence. And it was just as I suspected; the new mama peered back from the mystical motherland to reveal that this whole baby thing is downright awesome. In fact, she insists that it’s even better than we’d ever expected.

It’s still wild to realize that our conversations no longer revolve around what to wear or how some dude tried to pick us up. Now, our reality is consumed with furry puppy and bouncing baby pictures and our conversations are almost always interrupted with baby noises or barking. We can’t help it, we just go on and on about our little boys.


Despite our boys’ very different genetics, we’re discovering that raising them brings about very similar experiences and emotions. For instance, we’re both totally capable of functioning with one arm. In fact, most of this blog was written with one thumb because my little babe was napping on the other one. Pardon any typos associated with being his pillow. Now ssshhh, the baby is sleeping. We’ve both learned to time our outings with inclusion of all the “ooohs” and “aaaaahs” people slow us down with. Even the grumpiest of people have been brought to a smile in their presence – it’s like watching Christina Ricci’s character, Wednesday, from the Addams Family movie when she tries to smile with all the happy little blonde girls; beyond awkward yet hilarious. Suffice it to say, all the coos and awes have made us more patient women. Additionally, we’ve both admitted to being devilishly happy if our boy whines when we leave him. We think it means he needs us, and apparently we need that. Is that twisted? Good thing I’ve got more time to practice. We also spend quite a bit of time reconciling fears and phobias about how others interact with our boys. I’m constantly freaked out by how often total strangers want my dog to lick them. I imagine this sort of heebeegeebee to be similar to how some moms feel when strangers touch their pregnant bellies, or living offspring for that matter. “Look with your eyes, not your hands!” Huh, I do sound like a parent.

I’ve got to pump the brakes here; the delete button has been called off the bench. You see, I had this whole long list of more similarities, but let’s be honest, raising a human is a game changer. I can prep all I want; I can brush the dog’s teeth, give the bunny lettuce, talk to the fish so that they recognize me, blah, blah, blah, but when and if I actually do bring a human into this world I am going to be a collision of fear, gratitude, happiness, and pride – and that’s only what I can anticipate. Truthfully, I bet there will be a whole bunch of curveballs coming my way. Not to worry though, I’ll catch them with one arm while the baby rests in the other. Mom skills.

Baby Dylan will be 6 months this week. He just started eating solids and naps every couple of hours with the aid of my sleep machine gift. I didn’t realize it until right now, but he’s my best friend’s new best friend. He is bringing her newfound happiness she never knew existed. She is his entire world. They make a great pair.  And I have to admit, seeing her as a mother is certainly one of the coolest things I’ve seen her do – well besides that wet t-shirt contest freshman year, that was crazy cool. I won’t even be bashful about it; she was my party hero. But now, she’s my mama hero. At least Dylan scored an adventurous one!

I am a proud Auntie. I have been so humbled by my bestie turned mommy. Even Jennifer is committed to her new role as an “aunt.” She obliges my puppy stories and kindly asks how he is. It’s very thoughtful. I am obsessed with my puppy, but I am so looking forward to the day I can give her the sense of pride that only comes from seeing your best friend over the moon in love with a little human of her own. Until then, I’m going to go walk the dog – he’s potty trained now and that makes me damn proud.

The Single Girl is Getting Domesticated

Come spring, life is getting more dandy with Andy. That’s right, we have decided to take the next big step: we are going to co-habitat; move in together; shack up; share a roof. Either way you say it, at the end of day, what’s mine is his, and vice verse. I don’t mean to brag, but he says that “what we have is special, and this is just the next big step for us moving forward.” I could have melted.

In preparation for this life-changing leap, I am spending a little more time in my little, humble abode, that mind you, is just rock throwing distance from the stereo vibrations of Scottsdale’s finest clubs (I will always miss this proximity). I figure I need to spend some time here in my lonesome. Enjoy the silence and solitude, if you get my drift. Remember, I am accepting 3 new roomies into my life. I’ve also decided to host some girly gatherings. I think Andy thinks this sort of odd, but I consider it normal, and mandatory for that matter. I mean if all goes well, if I get all that I’ve been wishing for since I asked my Daddy when I could get married and was totally disappointed that he said I had to wait until I was 22 (guess I missed that boat), this will be the very last time I ever live alone. Com-plete-ly A-lone.

This realization gets me thinking about how coveted seclusion truly is. After all, I did just escape to my place to “clean.” And I will in fact clean, but there’s something blissful about the fact that all this mess is just mine; there’s no one trailing behind me to make a messy mockery of all my elbow grease. Besides, when you’re all by yourself, in your own “mess” of a life, cleaning can be quite entertaining: because in between dusting, folding and Good Willing, I am responding to Facebook posts, pouring a little more wine, admiring photos hung on my walls (I’ve lived a good life thus far), and sliding around on my spick-and-span, slick tile in my loud, knee-high Christmas socks; which I swear will make it into the holiday storage bin next wash. Amidst all this fun, Andy calls to see what I’m up to, and I’m literally panting when I answer the phone. This is because I’m doing what only truly single, alone girls can do when they “clean.” You see, “cleaning” is code for drinking and dancing while I do some cleaning. It really is one of life’s greatest joys.

I have loved and appreciated living by myself; the personal growth I’ve experienced is indescribable, even for my jabber jaw, but why not go out with a bang?! Why not party until the very end?! So I’ve decided to move forward with my girly gathering idea and have my former roommates, Jennifer & Shannon, over for a night of wine, apps, and girl talk. I think Andy is mainly curious what the “girl talk” entails, and if I’ll bring over leftovers. But if I know my college roomies and I, we will devour every last drop, and crumb. Speaking of last drops, I’ve decided to assess my bona-fide bachelorette pad’s refrigerator to properly welcome my guests. I swing the door open…. and there isn’t much to look at. It is sparse, and seriously lacking some basic comforts I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping the better part of my ZZZZs at Andy’s. For instance, my fridge’s shelves have the following items: 3 bottles of water; 1 bottle of wine, that I have already broken into because I am rationing my precious water; applesauce because it comes up as easily as it goes down; tuna fish because my physique is an ongoing obsession, and I make a mean tuna melt; Skinny Girl margarita mix because that stuff is delicious; pickles because I entered this world addicted to them; more condiments than I’ve ever had entrees; and lest not forget the oversized bottle of Grey Goose on the counter patiently awaiting the diet cranberry on the top shelf.

Don’t get me wrong; I used to shop and shelf nutritional things like eggs, yogurt and fresh fruit, but when a single girl’s little place morphs into a crash pad for when she wanders home from those stereo bumps I previously mentioned, the grocery store is just a waste of time, bc spoiled food is a waste of money. And that my friends, is a frugal mentality at its finest. Besides, Andy being the best Daddy, second to my Daddy, of course, always keeps a stocked fridge, and always makes sure we eat well. So although my stomach is a little vocal at the moment, I am kind of digging drinking my dinner tonight. I deem it a final farewell to the single, live alone me.
Thanks for everything Self; you were a great roomie.

For more tales from my even dandier shacked up & SMILFy life, please read my new blog all about my adventures in being a bonus mama: http://www.smilfy.com
Oh and in case it’s gone over your head, this means I am a stepmom in training. SMILF is like MILF, but better because I am younger, and cooler. And we throw the ‘y’ on at the end to make it a term of endearment. Bam. Super SMILFy.

In Vanna’s Shoes

Hello All,

Here’s what new in my world:

My family and friends, my mama is particular, encouraged me to enter the “Vanna for a Day” contest.  If I win I will do Vanna White’s job for one episode.  It’ll be glamorous, exciting and awesome!  You can see my entry video at:


I have to say that I had a lot of fun with this!  I regarded it as a school assignment.  And I seemed to have a lot of peers in my corner.  🙂

I wrote a Script and timed myself performing it.  I’d forgotten how difficult it is to squeeze something so exciting into 60 seconds.  My mama reviewed and approved it for me, which felt like a high-five.

Jamie for Vanna

I made a shot list.  I wanted to feature my town, my glam appeal and myself as best as possible. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Wheel of Fortune you know that Vanna features the city they are broadcasting from – so I decided to feature my town, Scottsdale.  I recalled a great fact about it that I learned while on a tour of the Scottsdale Historic Museum with my dad back in May. Scottsdale was almost named Orangedale because the city was founded to farm oranges.  I share this fact often; I always impress my friends.

My little brother willingly climbed into the attic to retrieve my Prom dresses; it’s still so cool to me that he is big and strong and no longer afraid of the dark.  I steamed my dresses in the shower and felt quite pleased that Mama and I were getting some more bang for our Prom-buck, even if it was 7 plus years later.  My boss even offered the company HD camera, but I knew that my little camera would be just fine – plus, I already knew how to work it. Phew!

I wrote, produced and starred in my production – my attempt to be deemed a “triple threat.” But I still needed more help.  Lucky for me, enlisting a crew was no sweat.  I had lots of offers! My mama’s college buddy, Justin, offered his time.  Even my co-producer from my documentary, Stjepan, extended a creative hand.  But I decided on people I knew I would laugh with – Jennifer and Andy.

Jennifer is my bestie for a solid 23 years now.  Her and I shot countless hours of music videos, school projects, vacations, sleep overs and skits back in high school and college.  This would be just like that – minus the braces in high school and the alcohol in…well, let’s not formally address that.  Jennifer also served as my hair stylist and makeup artist.  Andy is my boyfriend. And yes, I said “boyfriend” aloud in a schoolyard, teasing-type accent as I typed it.  Call me smitten, I don’t care.  😉  He took his puzzle-making task seriously.  He used a ruler and everything.

Jennifer was my camera woman.  Mainly because I was too nervous to have Andy do it.  But once we got rolling, I wasn’t shy at all.  It’s so wonderful to feel comfortable with people.  I also felt really touched that I had two amazing people devoting their sunny Saturday afternoon to me and my project.  I gave Andy the PA (Production Assistant) and props manager titles at the start of the shoot, but quickly promoted him to AD, Assistant Director, as soon as he began suggesting shots and checking Jennifer’s compositions over her shoulder. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew!

Winning this contest would be incredible!  But more importantly, I have realized that participating in it has been an eye-opener.  I may no longer work in TV and it may never cut me another paycheck, but I sure do have fun pretending like I do.  And I can’t deny the fact that I’m pretty skilled in it.  I’ve now made a Video To Do List and decided to edit my countless hours of memories stored on tape into movies that can be more readily enjoyed.  So stay tuned!

Striving to be in Vanna’s shoes has been a positive experience.  And I can’t lie to you, I dug strutting my stuff in my Prom dresses.

Thank you for your continued support.  I hope that you are treating 2011 well.

And the Beat Goes On

Music has always rocked my world.

I find it inspiring and comforting.  Its ability to bring me back in time to a single moment or instill excitement about moments to come perpetually pleases me.  There are few things in life that prompt this type of spontaneous stroll down memory lane.  Consider this: you can stumble upon a memory, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with something as simple as cruising to FM radio, looking through a jukebox or giving your iPod the reigns with Shuffle mode.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard a strum of a guitar, a DJ mixing beats, the keys of a piano or a hum of an artist and unlocked the past to moments and events like: the dance routine I choreographed with my girlfriend Amber in the 5th grade; when I told my high school sweetheart that I was going to the Prom with someone else; the time I spilt an entire bottle of coke in my lap and had to air dry my skirt out Jennifer’s car window on our way to a party; the trip to Mexico when I danced poolside for hours on end with my mama and her girlfriends; that wild college party (I say that loosely, there were many.  And certain songs are the only real evidence that those nights ever happened!!); my college graduation; my trip to Italy with my nonna and mama; dancing in Vegas with thousands of my closest friends; crying in bed all by myself; feeling in love and hoping it lasts; breaking up yet again and eventually letting go.

I also depend on music to do the things that I can’t do by myself.  When I need to be strong, I feel as though I can pluck the lyrics right out of a song and wield a shield out of them.  I’ll admit it, when words evade me I use lyrics to text or facebook how I feel.  And when I’m unable to provide myself the support that I need, it’s like the lyrics flow right out of my iPod and swirl all around me, touching my heart and embracing my pain; they give me the strength that I can’t find in myself.

I suppose that music has also cradled my world.

That being said, here is my musical journey:

I am an 80s baby in every sense of the term. According to my blunt mother, I was conceived to Van Halen’s Jump. I knew every word to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet album; and never hesitated to belt out the lyrics every time my mama popped in the cassette. Now can you imagine a toddler singing, with absolute conviction, “working for her man, she brings home her pay for love – for love?” (Well believe it, and love the fact that I just did the very same thing in the backseat of my boss’s car on our way to a business trip earlier this week!)  I recall most kids my age wearing Nickelodeon t-shirts, but I rocked my t-shirt from Aerosmith’s Get a Grip Tour on a regular basis. Some kids hummed nursery rhymes; I jammed rock ballads.

In the 5th grade I rocked my parents’ world when I fell in love with hip-hop. I played my Gangsta’s Paradise soundtrack on repeat every day after school until it became riddled with scratches and refused to bump out of my boombox. I wanted to name my dog Tupac, but my parents thought it absurd. That dance that Amber and I choreographed was to Whoop!  There it is!  by Tag Team.  Over the years, I’ve swayed my hips and bobbed my head at numerous concerts and even finagled my way to the stage to dance alongside Dem Franchise Boys, Ray J and Chris Brown – pre his Rihanna outrage, of course. Juicy J once complimented my flashy style after I charmed a bouncer into letting my girlfriends and I roam around backstage.  And I’ve been to more Snoop Dogg concerts than I care to admit.

I think I developed an addiction to country music when I experienced my first break-up in middle school, because I’ve been faithful to its allure ever sense.  I have two preset buttons dedicated to country stations in the event of heartbreak.  But I’ve also come to appreciate the genre’s genuine way of expressing love. Every female singer says what I’ve always wanted to say and every male singer is like my Ken doll; I just want what he’s saying to be true and to happen to me.  My girlfriend Sara and I have even contemplated moving to Nashville to marry cowboys.  This idea seems like the ultimate fix – so we’re not ruling it out just yet.


I’ve recently become obsessed with dance and house music.  This is probably because I’ve frequented more clubs and partied harder in the last 9 months than I ever have in 25 years.  I’ve also taken a new approach to heartache.  I like to call it Dance it off.  There is something inexplicably liberating about dancing to music that’s louder than my thoughts.  The lyrics are occasionally foreign, always heartfelt and sometimes even ridiculous, but the music never ceases to engulf me.  Even in a room full of people, I can close my eyes and lose myself.

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, particular songs will always resonate with me.  Here is my love affair with music:

When my parents split up, I played Wonderful Now by Everclear on repeat for hours on end for nearly two years.  And still to this day, whenever I hear Journey’s Faithfully I recall the better days of my childhood.

When I need to break it off with someone or get out from under someone’s thumb, I jam Mariah Carey’s Shake it Off through my Corolla speakers on full blast.  I find it subliminal is a way.  I’m hoping to convince myself that moving on is best and that it won’t be all that painful.  At the very least, it’s a fun song to sing along to.

When I started regularly listening to Nelly Furtado’s All Good Things Come to an End and humming along to Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry, I realized that my college sweetheart just wasn’t “the one.”  Only now do I see that I threw a quality catch back into waters that are seriously lacking tens.  And I’m reminded of this every single time my iPod finds these songs.  Shuffle is, without a doubt, a love/hate relationship.

Since then, I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s Take a Bow every time some new heart-throb tricks me like it’s Halloween.  The lyrics somehow seem to sting more when you know that you only have yourself to blame.  So in an effort to take some responsibility for my tears and triumphantly forge ahead to my next ex, I blare Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson.  Talk about empowerment sister!

I adopted the Dance it Off approach when the most beautiful person I’d ever laid my lips on or began a life with changed his mind.  Even months later, I hated that I still wondered what it would have felt like to see his perfect nose on top of a baby’s face, so I sought refuge in David Guetta’s Gettin Over You and Calvin Harris’s You Used to Hold MeThey helped me lose my mind when my memories were driving me mad.  And all the Just Jamie dancing wasn’t bad for my bod either.  But true to my country junkie self, I woke each morning with sore thighs and a raging headache and depended on Jaron and the Long Road to Love to help me find humor in my humiliating heartache with Pray for You.  Call it my version of Sunday School.

When I broke the man’s heart, whom I genuinely hoped would still love me when my teeth are no longer mine, my wrinkled hands shake all the time and I need help remembering my memories, even with a musical aide, broke my heart right back, I felt like literally every single song was speaking to me. I sobbed in tune to Third Eye Blind’s How’s it Going to Be.  I never anticipated there being a day when we no longer knew each other.  So in an effort to outrun my heartbreak, I slipped into my running kicks and ran 4 miles to Leona Lewis’s Better in Time on repeat.  I’ve never once ran that far.  If I ever meet Leona, I won’t hesitate to hug her, even if I’m sweaty.  When I wonder how long I’ll be running for, I listen to Martina McBride’s Wrong Baby Wrong; I long to sit down with her in hopes of absorbing just an ounce of her courage and practicality.  It really isn’t the end of the world.  I am going to be just fine.  Eventually.  I’m resilient if nothing else.  And I always taste my tears through a smile whenever La Roux encourages me to be Bulletproof, next time that is.

As my 26th birthday approaches, I can’t help but wonder what the next year will bring.  I foresee champagne, dancing, laughter, tears, love, joy, hurt, travel, success and happiness.  Memories to cherish.  Memories to forget.  But I know for certain that music will touch me, move me and cure me. And years from now I know that it’ll also bring me back to 26.

Music makes my world go round.


Isn’t it odd how one thing can change everything? One day, one choice, one idea, one declaration, one stop light, one smile, one drink, one missed call. This list could go on forever. You probably even have a few one whatevers to add to the mix. The fact remains that the one thing, could be anything. For me, it was a text message.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer texting over traditional phone conversation any day of the week. Written communication allows you to be truthful and bold, not to mention witty. Add spell-check and it’s borderline orgasmic. But I think it’s the way it can make a person the mystery in someone’s inbox that I am most attracted to. Texting bares no true tone, emotion or delivery. What someone is “really saying” is anyone’s guess. The down side of this ambiguous communication is that it’s often manifested fantasies and false-truths in my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a text and screeched, “eeee!” Especially if it was a message from the heart, and/or the vj.

I am a dreamer in every sense of the word. I blame it on gender stereotyping we were all victims of as children. Sure, I played GI Joe and cops and robbers, but that’s only because my very first friend was a boy. My true love was the Barbie doll. I had several blonde beauties and only one Ken doll. You can imagine how 90210-style my make-believe was. I just never imagined my real life panning out in virtually the same way. Even though my Ken doll was always a womanizing piece of shit, I always hoped that as an adult, I would find my diamond in the rough.

I received a text message on a Friday morning. I was late for a shoot and weaving in and out of traffic like Paul Walker, only I didn’t look confused. I am always late and I prefer to speed. My ‘04 corolla and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was jamming to Britney Spears, getting into character and running my lines. My sidekick vibrated in my lap. “Hey, slow down girl!” I looked around, but realized I’d already left him in the cluster of people who were apparently not late for work. I’ve always loathed those people. Part of me wishes I was them, but deep-down, I secretly dig the way my heart pounds when I’m late, the way my mind scrolls through believable excuses like a rolodex as I blare my music for inspiration and the proud feeling that races over me when I arrive exactly on time. No, I’m never early, but who the hell has time for that?

If you assumed his text was “the” text, you thought wrong. I should have never responded. I should have scrolled to the discard button. But that’s precisely the problem with text messaging. Had he called me, I wouldn’t have answered, nor would I have returned the missed call. I somehow feel like calls are easier to avoid and if questioned, easier to say you never saw. But there it was – the mystery in my inbox. My mind wondered and my heart fluttered. How did he say it in his head? Was he laughing? What is he wearing? Was he nervous to initiate communication after all we’d been through? Is he thinking of me now?

I’m a bright girl, I’ve always prided myself on that. Hell, I was graduating from the Walter Cronkite School with an award-winning documentary in a week, but the mystery flooded all logic and memory of heartache. I scrolled to the reply button. “Hey, you know me, late for work. ☺”

And just like that, one thing changed everything. I’d opened a ticking bomb.
And with all the sincerity I can muster after a year of mystery, fantasy and false-truths, I can whole-heartedly say that there’s nothing like regret to remind you you’re alive.


I take a moment to appreciate my lacey Honeydew panties, and all my glory below them, before pulling my shorts back up on my hips.  It’s petit and pretty.  I once had a boyfriend tell me that it would earn the blue ribbon in a field day for vaginas.  This one still makes me grin in a tilted head, sense of wonderment sort of way.  Too bad his clever compliments were his single strong suit. 

My nostalgia is suddenly popped like a schoolgirl’s bazooka bubble when the woman in the stall next to me starts making monstrous sounds that can only mean she’s hovering over the toilet.  I sneak a peek at her feet.  Her flip-flops are hot pink and her toenails are polished a canary yellow with white polka dots; I bet she wishes that she felt even half that bright.   I wonder if she just saw a baby being born too?  Or maybe it’s the combination of a few too many Russian cocktails the night prior and the reality that babies really do squeeze out of a small slit that most twenty-something women use for imports only?  I nod my head and purse my lips in agreement.  If she could see me, I’d give her that, “Hey, I feel ya sister,” look.

I exit my stall to face my humbled disposition.  I wipe a cluster of sweat beads from my upper lip and can’t help but notice the lack of glimmer on my left hand.   The foamy soap and water droplets flow around my naked fingers as I fight back useless tears.  I stare at myself in the mirror, and I swear that it’s staring right back at me.  Sick polka dot girl better stay in that export cubicle as long as she can, lighting has never been so unforgiving. 

It’s like the mirror is interrogating my soul.  It sees that my smile is because I am proud my cousin brought her baby girl into this world.  My expression slides into a smirk when I imagine how much hell that little girl is going to give her. 

It studies my deep breaths and long sighs, and recognizes them as the acceptance of defeat.  I had been delusional to think that he and I would share this one-day.  Furthermore, I’d be a fool to hope that my current crush was “the one.”  This too will end just as passionately and abruptly as it began.  I can’t depend on much, but some things are a guarantee.  The mirror seems to sense my bandaged, yet ever-hopeful heart.  It watches my memory flip through my relationship highs and lows like a late-night channel surfer, and realizes that there’s nothing worth cherishing, so I just keep flipping.  Then like the masochist that I am, it captures a slight twinkle in my eyes and helps me see the faith that I will be blessed with a family, eventually, even if I don’t feel it. 

The soul-searching mirror senses my now peaceful heart.  Just moments earlier it had been flowing with emotions and pounding like a celebratory tribal beat as I watched a new family’s hearts burst, and then sink, when one new heartbeat could not only be heard, but also seen.  Bewildered by my sweat sprinkled face and fleshed cheeks, the mirror takes curious inspection of my raised arm hair and plump goose bumps.  I know that these linger from being the bearer of amazing news. 

“She’s here!  She’s here.  She was here at 1:26 and she has the most endearing whine.” I burst out, exasperated, with not nearly as much articulation as I would have preferred.  I instantly wish that I’d properly prepared myself to deliver this memory.  But I don’t think it mattered how I said it, because when I did, it was like watching the sunrise for the very first time. 

His expression brightened.  Pure joy and true love spilt from his smile as the corners of his lips curled up into his cheeks revealing a spirit that oozed of pride and curiosity.  My uncle has always had the most inspiring smile.  It’s the kind that sweeps an entire face, makes one’s eyes glisten with gladness and beckons others to take delight in the moment.  You’d be a miserable fool to resist its charm.

The mirror is patient while I squeeze my eyes tight and hope and beg that that very moment never fades from my memory.  I open them to find my gaze upon my flat stomach.  I turn to the side, take in a deep breath and push my tummy out as far as I can.  I rest one hand on my air-filled belly, the other on my strained lower back. I’ve always been a pro at make-believe.  I consider what it might feel like to have life blossoming inside me, but even my wildest imagination can’t do it justice.  The mirror seems to look upon me with compassion this time.  We gaze into one another, and sigh. 

A toilet unexpectedly roars like a rushing river crushing my belly back to size.   And in an instant I recognize that the glass is more than half-full; a single girl never goes hungry, polka dot toes are only a salon away, my vagina is still collecting compliments and a baby girl really is the most beautiful thing in the world.