Jenny Kiss'd Me & Other Selected Poetry

Sometimes you come across a little ditty that changes poetry forever for you....  This was one of them.  Thank you to P.M. for introducing it to me.  

Leigh Hunt was inspired to write this in 1838 during an apparent flu-epidemic where he recovered and was greeted by a "Jenny" with a kiss.  

Maybe love is survival.  

I claim to not be a romantic however I have been writing and ready poetry since I was 5 so maybe I should stop living in romantic denial....  :)   See poem below.  

My last wedding shoot in San Diego.  The beautiful Muirragui family who are expecting their first darling baby girl "Topaz" in a week or so.  

Jenny kiss'd me when we met,

Jumping from the chair she sat in;

Time, you thief, who love to get

Sweets into your list, put that in!

Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,

Say that health and wealth have missed me,

Say I'm growing old, but add

Jenny kiss'd me.

Christmas Letter 2012

It's that time of year which involves warming and informing about the cool and collected.  Pillow fights and movie nights have turned into surfing trips and alone time.  These are the days....

Cole is now 14 going on 23.  Most of his "posse" is also older, some joining AARP.  As a freshman at the oldest and most lenient high school in America, he DISCOVERED the two-step secret to a ridiculously high GPA: 1. Complete your assignment.  2. Turn it in some time before your sophomore year.  I’m not sure what prompted this spurt of recent academic brilliance - maybe it’s his healthy island diet of bananas and beef jerky. 

My Golden Boy's golden locks have now morphed into something he calls "Jew curls” - a tangled mop that makes dreadlocks look hygienic. I tried to do his hair once and the brush exploded in flames.  I do believe a litter of kittens may be living behind an ear.

Cole had his first real skateboarding injury, breaking his ankle attempting a double back floppy fakey backside kick-flip.  His ankle’s new shape was so amusing we almost wanted to keep it that way but he kept passing out in pain so we got a cast.

 Although I miss him every day and pretty much every hour, I take comfort that, for over a year now, my young man has been getting the father time and attention he needs to become a good man himself. 

My first baby.  Love you Son. 

Right next to Cole, emotionally, if not also physically, is this Angel Baby (emoji of an angel baby) we named Demi Lynn. She’s taken well to Maui (emoji of island and a heart) and after a full year has happily rebounded with her cousins and many friends (emoji of happy children) she knew from her younger elementary school days.  She’s a 6th grader at Lahaina intermediate (emoji of school and beach) where kids take playground recess on one of America's best beaches and the crossing guards do double duty as shark patrol (emoji of shark eating child).

Far right girl, shoes half off.

Based on the number of times she’s told me, “I Knooooowwwww Mom!” I concluded that she’s able to learn faster than she’s being taught. I grew concerned that she was outgrowing the education she was receiving so the principal and I met over at the shave ice shack where he works three days a week and he assured me that all the teachers either have or are working toward their GED.  Unsatisfied with this assurance, we’ve turned to online schooling and googling for her edumacation.  

Shoes half off, smile half on.

Enrolling her in the swim team was expensive but I figured, “so is drowning and a funeral” so we did it.  She loved being on the squad and won a medal for the 50 meter butterfly (emoji) all while holding her phone and texting (emoji of any kind). The Doctor  (emoji of a fireman) said that the excessive use was the cause of her pediatric arthritis (emoji of old person) and encouraged us to either confiscate the phone or delete the emojis but we backed off once she threatened to call CPS. (emoji of nazis, sad face emoji) :(

Lips.  Closed.  Braces.  Tight.

In other wallet draining news her set of "California braces" were apparently not in line with the Hawaii style, (something about time zones, teeth growing in three hours later than planned)  so we've opted to just have our entire paycheck sent to the ortho on Maui.  Demi’s head isn’t the only body part requiring vigilance. Because she slips her slippahs to go “au naturel” as soon as my back is turned I did the practical thing and duct-taped her feet.  

Sulu didn’t die. More on her next year.

Between my many trips to Maui to enforce my role as “Thug Mom" and committing random acts of commerce I crashed my black Kia Soul and replaced it with…. another black Kia Soul!  RIP Shaniqua, Helllooooo LaQuisha!   

Accepting a position as VP of specialty deposits means I have a fancy title and a lot of learning.  (Mostly on my handicap.)  

"What is it that I do," you ask?  Good question!  

It probably means something important.  CFPB?  CRM?  OMG!  LOL!  IDK!  

I said I was a "baker” and they must have misheard me. Three years later I'm still banking on the fact that I can make a killer pie!   

My reality show, "The Romance" is airing every Friday and if all goes well, I should replace Omarosa as the most hated woman in reality television.

Wish me luck!  

My former Husband and I (mostly me) have decided that after a lifetime of wrestling over who is boss (mostly me) it's best we work together and compromise.  Who knew the key to a happy divorce was the "C" word???!!!  I highly recommend forgiveness with a splash of ADHD-induced forgetfulness for a truly happy life.   Some call it denial, I call it my happy place.  

Ignorance truly IS bliss.  (For me.) 

2016 I am ready for you.  



And now for the Top 10 Photos of 2015!!

If you are upset you didn't make this year's blog post, it's okay.  There's always next year.

Special thanks to my editor, KC.  Without him I would just be a speck of dust in the blog world.  




Why I loved my Former Husband

We hear it all too often.  Especially in Southern California, land of the sunshine, palm trees and botox.

"I hate my ex husband."


"My ex wife took all my money."

Instead of being negative, I decided to go the OPPOSITE way.  Never mind that our marriage didn't "last."  We still had a decent 13 year run at it and laughed a lot along the way.  (Reasons for divorce?  Another blog post.)

7 Reasons Why I loved my Former Husband

1.  He knew what he wanted.

From the moment I met him at 17 (yikes) he knew he wanted to get married and have a family and own his own businesses.  He was clear from the get go.  There was no, "well, let's just hang out and cruise."  He knew where he was going (even if his internal GPS threw him off the trail!) and no on was going to stop him.  SEXY.

2.  He was funny.

I have never laughed so hard then when I was with Brad.  Crying, laughing, stomach splitting laughing.  He was so self-deprecating and would so easily admit his faults that I couldn't not laugh.  I'm positive not everyone else agrees with me, but make me laugh and I'm yours forever...........

3.  He owned stuff.

And not just an xbox.  He had grownup stuff.  Furniture.  Appliances.  Not fancy stuff but stuff that showed commitment.

4.  He was kind to animals

On Cinco de Mayo 1999, a day after his 33rd birthday I ran into him at Gold's Gym in Lahaina and he told me a story.  The previous day he came home from work and his cat was so excited to see him and she ran across the street,  got hit by a car right in front of him and died in his arms.  But not before she took a serious bite out of his hand while she looked in his eyes.  He cried in the middle of the gym with his swollen cat bite hand.  He had feelings.  He CARED. 

5.  He had houseplants

He had a knack for green things (hahahaha hence all the comedy) and was able to keep them alive.  I cannot keep anything green alive, just small human beings and I'm not great at that.  His plants were not dead.

6.  He was passionate

Our first year of marriage was SUPER hard.  We barely knew each other, were having a baby and I might as well have been 12.  Christmas morning 2000, I phone my Grandpa who goes off on some tangent about how I should have gone to college and blah blah blah.  I hang up and can't stop crying.  I'm 20, pregnant and super excited for my first Christmas as a married woman.  What does my husband do?

Calls the Grandpa.

Tells him off in a kick ass respectful way.

"How dare you ruin my beautiful wife's Christmas morning?!"

By the end of the conversation they are friends and my Grandpa agrees and recants.  This is crazy town.  My Grandpa NEVER recants.  A man that is wiling to stand up for his bride, or in this case WHAT IS RIGHT is a man I want by my side.  

7.  He was handy

Not all men are handy and that's fine.  However, if you can fix my flat tire, change my oil, tell me the ins and outs of a diesel engine or what the molecular structure of an atom is... YOU ARE WINNING.  Brad was handy.  He was loaded with common sense.  WAY more than I.  I'm loaded with artsy fartsy stuff no one cares about.  Logic?  Have no clue what that is.  This guy though was full of it.  He had a knack for common sense and never let the fact that he dropped out of high school get in his way.  One of my favorite lines from him was "if people just used their mirrors in cars they would be much better drivers."  Hehehehehe

What do all of these things have in common?

Vulnerability.  Compassion.  Care.

Show me a vulnerable human being and I'll show you an amazing person.  If I can show vulnerability in a person thru a photograph, then the image becomes ten times better.  

Don't be afraid to be yourself.  Put your masks away.

I'm happy I can look back and smile when I think of all the wonderful things he brought to me.

 It's a pretty good place to be.

(And I know he NEVER reads this blog.)   

(Handy also qualifies you to be in my post-zombie-apocalyptic-caravan) 

Sonoma NYE

New friends 

Old pals

New year

Wonderful treats 

Intelligence abound 

Warm hearts unite 


Thank you to hosts with the mosts Stephen & Douglas. 

I highly recommend visiting Healdsburg and doing some wine tasting and basic chilling out.  A great vibe.  

Great food and wine at Diavola.  

Boots by Frye Sweater Victorias Secret Tee Kit and Ace 


This blog post is dedicated to the sweet muppet "Bello" the Airdale featured in this post.  Sadly he passed away not long after I visited him.  He will be missed greatly!  


Reality Television

The time has come!!

AIR DATE for 'The Romance' in San Diego on Cox/Time Warner (Channel 4) is Friday January 15 at 10pm. OC (Channel 3) same date/time. LA on Time Warner/AT&T/Dish Tuesday February 9 at 9pm. 

I have no idea what to expect.  I could be the villain.  Or I could be the villain.  Ha!!

Join me and some fun singles in San Diego as we run around town yachting, mansion'ing, and of course....."drama'ing."

Do I fall in love?  Do I fall in like?   Stay tuned every Friday. 

Autographs upon request.  


In Hawaii, we say, "Aloha" for “Hello” AND “Goodbye.” 

During my latest visit it was apparent that the kids are growing and changing at light speed.  (Note to the curious: I did not lose custody.)

Transformations include shifting bone structures, growing muscles, rolling eyes and changing attitudes.  Wait… the last two have been going on for about a decade now, I think..

Be still my heart.  

Life consists of phases – each of which has its own Aloha.

 I've always preferred a more raw, genuine look vs. a posed, "happy" face.  If you take your kids' photos for enough years you, too, can achieve this grumpy-cat face.  :) 

The 2nd 40 Days Without Kids

Last blog post was tragic instead of funny and sprinkled with gold and sparkles.  For that I am sorry. Actually I'm not.  I won't pretend.  It's hard with the kids so far away. No sense in pretending life is perfect.  

It's perfectly flawed.  

Because I like bullet points and lists, here is a list of things I accomplished over the last 80 days.  From least exciting to most thrilling.

Totaled my car.  (NEVER look for lipstick in a moving car around other moving cars.) 

Concussion?  Check.  Whiplash?  Check.  Did the gecko from Geico help me out?  No.  

  • Hung out with my cat.  Alone.  Considered having her made into a rug.
  • Decided starting the day at the gym at the crack of dawn is STILL and ALWAYS a good idea.
  • Cried.  
  • Learned that I am color blind and what is pink to me is not to other people.  (This whole time white has been pink to me and maybe my entire life in color has been fraudulent.) 
  • Bummed my Beaver fur hat from Park City is not pink but in fact white.  (WTF) 
  • Laughed.
  • Shocked.  Dismayed.  My faux fur jacket isn't pink either.  Faux pink.  Ugh.
  • (Maybe I'm perfect and the rest of y'all just don't see life in shades of rose like me...) 
  • Attended my first baseball game!!!!  (Did not eat peanuts.  Nobu sufficed.  Thank you John & Antony.) 

How on earth did the entire franchise of this team know I was coming AND paint my initials on the wall of a fancy box?  Amazing.

  • Heard someone making fun of people whose LinkedIn profile photos are car selfies.  Ran straight for a blazer and journalist haircut and threw my camera at one of our personal bankers at the bank.  Yay for professionalism via peer pressure!  (And no, I refuse to dress like Janet Reno to be good at my job.) 
Blonde AND red hot nails.  Snapppppppp!  Zero retouching folks..... those wrinkles are real!  

Blonde AND red hot nails.  Snapppppppp!  Zero retouching folks..... those wrinkles are real!  

  • Taught a 4th grade class about Entrepreneurship.  The only true way to a captive a dentist or a teacher.  Preferably dentist.  More money, less backtalk.
Can you imagine me as a teacher?  I have as much patience as a child on Christmas morning. 

Can you imagine me as a teacher?  I have as much patience as a child on Christmas morning. 

  • Baked an enormous amount.  Gave it all away. 
  • Started my own teen girl mentor group, yet to be named.  (I am a great public speaker and am confident and comfortable.  Speaking in front of 10 teen girls?  Terrifying.) 
  • Remembered teens have the attention span of a toddler.  (Less Confucius, more T-Swift.  Namaste!) 
  • Realized that helping others is the true way to happiness and fulfillment.  
  • Became an ambassador for the San Diego Film Festival.  (Please become a VIP Member so you can enjoy all the benefits namely hanging with people like me.) 
  • Accepted that milk sometimes spills.  The time spent making sure it doesn't spill doesn't prevent it.  It spilled.  No use crying over it.
  • Decided I'm kind of awesome.  You wanna hang out?  Better bring your A-game......

The First 40 Days Without Kids

The First Forty Days

Get out of bed.  Feel chest heave with each shallow breath. Wonder, “How will I make it through the day?”

Get back in bed. Repeat.

Read the news.  World suffering cheers me up.

Go to Work. Feel terrible.  Act normal. Talk myself out of panic attacks.

Put on happy face and avoid breaking the tear dam at work. “My kids are great!  Getting big!”

Offer bitter advice to friends having kid issues, “Your kids drive you crazy? Send them away.”

Say to self, “I did not abandon my children.  I did not abandon my children.  I did not abandon my children.” Did I?

Suspect that a long term relationship with my wonderful boyfriend is hopeless.

I end December by breaking up with my boyfriend and making a 10,000 mile round trip to surprise my kids for Christmas. I come home accompanied by fear and regret (for kids, not boyfriend).  

The Back Forty:

Start the new year strong:  Don’t think about kids! What kids?? See?  Breathe Stephanie.

Go to Sundance Film Festival and act like I'm a big deal.

Big Deal.

Big Deal.

Record and send my daily “Happy mommy videos” to my kids via their father. Hope he will not delete. Will they like it? Will they care?

Sigh at 10 minute intervals.

Breathe normally when not sighing.

Pay undue attention to my undeserving cat.

Sulu hard at work.

Sulu hard at work.

Daydream: “What if I could raise my children all over again but without the same mistakes?” Eat my heart out again.

I end this 40th day interval by making another 10,000 mile round trip to celebrate my 35th with my babies.  Friday is terrible. Saturday, we go to counseling. Sunday, I celebrate and leave.

A cheerful moment.  

A cheerful moment.  

Next 40 days?  I’m coming to get you.

Christmas Letter and Update 2014

2014 has been the best (and most unusual) year of my life.

For all you who love true gossip, here are the juicy parts:

Our Golden Boy Cole has been busy as an eighth grader at Oakcrest Middle school in Encinitas.  His skateboarding skills outshine his ability to do school assignments but that's okay, we love him so much and appreciate the leadership role he has taken in the family which includes daily clogging of toilets, gargantuan efforts to stall chores, soapless showers and the hoarding of Arizona iced tea in his bedroom.   (Perhaps he’s auditioning for “Hoarders:  Teen Edition.)  His biggest accomplishments this year were parting (no pun intended) with his trademark golden long locks and honing in on the use of an alarm clock.  In other Cole news, there was a three minute interval this summer wherein he grew four feet.  

No shortage of good looks here....he hates the camera.

When you eat Hot Tamales or drink a Pepsi think of me. I have forsaken those venal pleasures in an effort to become more fit than many women twice my age!  My first contest ended up in a paltry 9th place out of 8 or so competitors and a fake tan that any Oompa Loompa would envy.  Banking and the world of other people's money is my day to day life but I haven't given up on sewing unsuccessfully (hey the machine looks good on the table though), baking, writing, photography, talking and anything that takes me away from housework.  The reality show I was on was a bust as I realized it was anything but real. (You mean it's not a show about ME?  I'm out!)

Cole can't just smile pretty......

Cole can't just smile pretty......

Demi has been a very busy little fifth grader at some school in (Oakpark?  Park Tree?  I dunno.)  whose hobbies include countless selfies, video games, singing, smiling, being cute, and building a linear accelerator in her room.   When she's not brushing her teeth or combing her hair,  she has a twinkle in her eye and a slight professional head tilt for the camera.  She recently gave up the hobby of eating corn thru picket fences and decided enough was enough!  Braces were put on along with a four thousand dollar "thanks for doing business with us" receipt.  Ouch.  If my math is right, we paid somewhere close to eight hundred dollars per tooth. Let’s hope this works or we’re going straight to dentures.  Cheers to your new smile, Darling!  

Token Mouth Closed Shot

Sulu, our faithful furry critter, lies motionless. The only way we know she’s not dead is that she moves when the cupboard opens.  Her fur layers the apartment like volcanic ash and yet we love her still and the abusive relationship that her disdain makes possible. 

Poignantly pointless.  

And just like life likes to do, a curve ball came our way in the form of a family coup-  the children's desire to live with their Father full time.  After endless begging, moaning and groaning, I finally conceded realizing having them with me was doing more harm than good.   I'm sure their father appreciates my sentiment and will enjoy making school lunches, enforcing bed times and being the tooth fairy.  

Vaya con dios mis lovelies!  

I love you and miss you.  But I know this is good for everyone.  


So that's all the excitement for one year.  Here's hoping for another amazing, thrilling, healthy year!  Like Hans Christian Anderson once said,


Since every fairy tale abounds in heart ache and happiness, I must concur.  I hope your tale and mine end in happily ever after.


Love and Aloha,

Stephanie, Cole, Demi and that furry thing we call “Sulu.”