A Letter to My Lover on His Birthday

“All I want is love eternally/with your heart facing me” –“To Travel & Trunks,” Hey Marseilles

Dear Darcy,

Today is your birthday. I just wanted to tell you how very happy I am that you were born and made your way into my life. I wondered if I’d ever meet you, my Mr. Wonderful AKA Mr. Darcy. And here you are, my dream come true.

I love you for so many reasons. Because you are genuine, sentimental, hilarious, handsome, and sweet. Because you work at our relationship with as much care and focus as you do those tiny little men you paint (nerd alert!). Because you make me laugh every day, and get my jokes, and tell me I’m beautiful even when I just woke up from surgery and have dried spittle around my mouth and eye crusties. Because you care about your friends, are close to your family, and love our cats even though two and a half years ago you proclaimed you weren’t really a cat person. Because you take out the trash in the rain, watch TV shows along with me that you hate just to spend time with me, and hold the cat so we can clean his poo-butt.

I love you and this little life we have created and the journey we are on, hand in hand. I can’t wait to marry you. I am grateful every day that Al Gore invented the internet so we could post on line profiles and find one another. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else- even when I’m mad at you, even when your farts stink up the place, even when the pungency of your morning breath almost makes me pass out.

Thank you for catching me when I fall, standing strong when I’m crumbling, cracking a joke to make me smile, holding my hand, looking at me with adoration, putting up with my flaws, and being my partner. Thank you for being you.

Happy birthday, my love.




A Letter to Myself on my 39th Birthday

Dear Self,

Today you turn 39. Can you believe it?

As a child you thought that number sounded ancient. You figured by this age you’d be a mom, already owning a home and a mini van. You didn’t realize that you wouldn’t FEEL 39. You didn’t know you’d still think the 1990’s happened 10 years ago nor did you believe that time really does speed up as you age. You didn’t believe people when they told you to embrace your youth. You had no idea back then that when people would tell you today that you look ten years younger than your actual age, you’d relish in it. (Luckily, you listened to advice to moisturize and wear sunblock.)

This is your last year in your 30’s and it’s going to be a huge year- moving from the only Seattle neighborhood you’ve known, leaving the apartment management gig, launching Jubilation Wedding & Event Management, owning a house with and getting married to an amazing man.

Take a deep breath.

Take another.

What I want you to remember is that: you deserve this. Every single good thing? You are worthy of it. You’ve worked so hard to get to this place- please do not discount that as you are wont to do. You have immersed yourself in years of therapy to grow emotionally stronger, worked two jobs for 4 years to pay off your debt and save money, dated a lot of not-it’s to find IT. You still work every day on yourself and on your relationship. You are always working to better yourself.

You’re relentless like that.

So can you please explain why you still beat yourself up when it comes to you looks? I happened upon a folder full of old photos the other day. The pictures spanned from college days to current and in every one, no matter if you were bigger or smaller than you are right this minute, you were pretty. I think about how many years (a lifetime!) you’ve spent not feeling good enough because your body does not fit some societal perfectionistic ideal of beauty and it breaks my heart. All that time! For what?! So what if you wore a size 22 once? Or for that matter, a size 9? So what if you are chubby? HOW DOES THAT DIMINISH YOUR WORTH? Whomever taught you this lesson was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Remember when you turned 30 and you gave yourself the gift of quitting smoking? How that internal resolve and commitment came from a place of self-love? It was the Best. Gift. Ever. Until now. Because now, today, on your 39th birthday, you’re giving up the body hatred and the self-loathing and the not-feeling-good-enough because you are not thin. You’re not going to berate yourself into submission. You’re not going to starve yourself or eat your feelings or wallow in guilt and shame. You’re going to exercise because you like it and it’s good for your health. You’re going to eat well because it tastes good and fuels your body. You’re going to BE NICE TO YOUR BODY because it will keep you around for a long time and you have a lot of living to do, so much to look forward to.

I know there will be days that you will screw up but just remember that in this life where time is fleeting, there is so much more to give your energy and attention to. You deserve to be happy, to be free from this negativity, to put all that freed up mind space to better use.

Let it go.

You don’t have to carry it. All the hurtful things people have said to you over the years? Leave it in the past. It does not serve you. All the times you succumbed to peer pressure and let yourself feel inadequate? Forgive yourself. You did the best that you could at the time.

Happy birthday, beautiful. Go live out loud.



To My Nephew on His 5th Birthday

I’m sitting here typing this in the building you were born in five years ago today. It was hot that day like it will be here later. The sun is bright and the fans are whirling in anticipation. In a few minutes I will wrap your presents and later your uncle and I will drive over to your Grandma’s house for the birthday party in your honor. You’ll probably already be in your swim trunks, ankle-deep in the little pool, laughing with your friends. We will have cupcakes and sing and you will open gifts and it will be a lot of fun. It’s always fun with you.

You are a great kid. You make friends easily – you have a sweet openness, a friendly smile and adventurous spirit. You’re happy and loving and funny. You’re incredibly smart and insightful and inquisitive. You make us all better people just by being you.

There is no such thing as a bad day when you are around.

You will start kindergarten this Fall. How is it possible? It was just the other day I could pick you up and carry you around easily. Now you’re tall and lean and when you run to me for a hug I have to brace my muscles for the effort it is to lift you. You love superheroes and ponies and sometimes you quote Scooby Doo. Animals are drawn to you- you even learned how to take Tweety out of the cage and hold her. She likes you. But then, who doesn’t?

1st birthday, AKA The Year of Balloon Fascination

2nd Birthday and your first bike

3rd birthday, already upgraded from a tricycle

Now you can ride a bike all by yourself, no training wheels, no one holding on. Sigh. You are growing up so fast.

Finn's 4th birthday, AKA The Year of Superheroes

Mr. Darcy and I gave you that costume on the morning we left for New Jersey to visit his family and attend Dumpling & Jersey Girl’s wedding. You apparently wore it all day, up until you and Grandma were at a store and some bigger kids were making fun of it. You took it off and handed it to Grandma saying, “Here Grandma, hold this.” When she told me that story my heart broke. I wanted to protect you from the jabs and jeers of other kids who might squash your joy, your imagination and your free spirit. Don’t let anyone take away your uniqueness, kiddo. I will always remind you to hold steadfast to your joy.

You are fearless and love the water.

I bought you that robot t-shirt years ago but they sent the wrong size. Now you actually fit in it. Time flies.

You love to do anything athletic or adventurous. (Though your Pops is holding onto your legs out of sight of this photo, shh!)

You have awesome parents who love you with everything they have and who always put you first and a Grandma who moved her whole life to make you her life. And you have an Aunt, your Tee Tee, who loves you more than she ever thought it was possible to love another person and who would get you the moon if that’s what you wanted.

Happiest of birthdays, little blue-eyed wonder!

I love you,

Your Tee Tee



Shine On

I want to tell you about my friend Rae Rae. Because tomorrow is her birthday. Because she is one of my favorite people.

We met through our mutual friend, the infamous Bird, probably over six years ago now. Bird used to rave about her to me. “Jonesy, you are going to LOVE Rae Rae! You two are going to be friends. I just know it!” * And she was so right. I immediately fell in girl crush love with Rae Rae.

Bird, Rae Rae & Me

Rae Rae is a rare gem. She’s one of the truest people I know- loyal and loving, fierce and tender, wicked smart, wildly inappropriate at times (like me!), hilarious, thoughtful and giving, and totally beautiful.I mean check out those eyes!

She is a fighter and a survivor even if sometimes she forgets that she is. She beat cancer. She works tirelessly to help at risk youth to succeed in college, often going above and beyond the call of duty. When Rae Rae cares, she CARES, and you know it. She probably beats herself up more than I do and we often commiserate on our hours of therapy, internal processing,the challenges of personal growth and reading of many self-help books. We’re both in recovery for people pleasing so we can call each other out. Can you imagine? Two people pleasers calling each other out?  It’s kind of comical but we try. She is one of those people I can completely be myself around. When I’m with her I laugh more, think deeper, and feel more settled into myself. I only wish she and her partner, Run Run, lived in Seattle.

If there was one thing in the whole wide world I could give her it’s this: the ability to look at herself and see what I see- a woman of beauty, truth, strength, and love. She really has no concept of how wonderful she is and I wish she did.

Every year around this time I come across a paragraph in The Book of Awakening that reminds me of her:

“Having an honest friend- one before whom you can dump all your heart’s pockets and still feel that you are worth something- is a form of wealth that will buy you nothing but will give you everything. And mysteriously and rightly, to find such a friend, we must be such a friend.” – Mark Nepo

Thank you, Rae Rae, for being that friend. I love you with all my heart. Happy Birthday.

*A lot of people call me Jonesy but Bird started it. And yes, Jones is my actual for serious last name. Original, eh?


Carving his place in the world. (Picture courtesy of Weiss Eubanks Photography)

Dear Tomato,

When you asked for gratitude letters* I had, quite literally, just stepped out of a therapy session wherein I realized something quite profound about you. Right timing, indeed.

What I realized is this: Besides my father, you are the most significant man in my life.

When I think about all the big moments since meeting you at 17, you are there. You’ve seen me through: My high school graduation. Prom. Countless birthdays. Losing our virginity together. Moving away from home. Finding love. Losing love. Lather, rinse, repeat. Mini-breakdowns. College graduation. My sister’s wedding. My mom moving out of my childhood home. My grandmother’s passing. Moving out of state.

I remember you reading me “Freddy the Leaf” while we waited for the call about my Dad. I hold that memory dear to me- your kindness and friendship through my grief was a testament to your heart. There were three people in the room when I got the news my Dad had died and yours were the arms I fell into.

You are always catching me.

Thank you for that and for being in my life through all the highs and lows, the belly laughs and tears. For truly seeing me even when I could not. For always being my lighthouse, my mirror, and my best friend.

Go with happiness,



*I am sharing this letter I wrote to Tomato with all of you in honor of his birthday (which is on Sunday!). Tomato does a really fantastic weekly show called The Baub Show. It focuses on what’s right in the world rather than what’s wrong. He rotates guests and co-hosts (sometimes I’m one of them!) and lately has been sharing letters of gratitude on the air. This letter was one I sent in even though he was definitely not requesting letters written to him. I couldn’t help it though. I had something to say. It’s hard for me to keep my trap shut.

Do yourself a favor and if you’re not already a listener, check it out on Mondays at 7pm PST or download previous podcasts. You won’t be sorry!

Hey Tomato- Here’s hoping this year is your best one yet. I’m so damn proud of you for so many reasons and love you to the moon and back. Happy birthday!

Birthday Wish For You

Dear Friend,

Today is your birthday.

If I could give you anything in the entire Universe it would be self-love. Not money. Not a trip to anywhere your heart desires. Not anything materialistic and fleeting. Just love. Just the love you seek outside of yourself that, if you looked, you’d realize is right inside your very own heart.

You are a good person. A warm, generous, loving, forgiving, funny, smart, creative, and sensitive soul. You deserve to be happy. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary or be anything but yourself to deserve it. I see you settle for less over and over again. I see you take the blame, beating yourself up, feeling like a failure. You wallow in that bad place. You try to be everything to everyone but you never feel like enough. I want to tell you: You don’t have to live there, in the darkness and in pain. Where is the light? It is in you. It is yours to shine, my friend. First we have to learn to be enough for ourselves and then we can give from that place to others. If we don’t know how to fill ourselves up, we’ll always feel depleted, running on empty. I wish for you fullness and happiness from a bottomless well inside you.

Look inside.

I wish for you, on your birthday, courage. To love yourself best and to know intrinsically that you are worthy of it. I promise you, it will make all the difference.

Be brave and know you are loved,



Dear Self,

You have lost your focus.

We said we weren’t going to start dating until we had reached our goal weight but then we hit the 30lbs loss marker and our confidence was boosted. So instead of keeping our eyes on the prize, we set up a distraction and put up an ad and started dating. And then instead of focusing on us, we started to get lost in the external validation of other people.

There’s a fine line between internal and external validation and, let’s face it, ours got blurry.

We haven’t really worked out in a month. A MONTH! It’s been a lame attempt when we have- one water aerobics class a week sometimes due to our crazy work load (excuse!) or a half-assed session of sit ups and push ups. We haven’t fallen off our changed eating habits- those are now a way of life- but we would not spit out a french fry if it just so happened to fall into our mouth (it’s raining fries! hallelujah!). Not to mention the alcohol consumption. In all this fun we’ve been having, we’ve been drinking a lot more than we should to see any sort of weight loss. Plus, it makes us look tired around the eyes.

We’re at the same weight the last time we reported in which is fine– it’s just not progress. And we want progress. When we’re not working out we feel more tired, less inspired, and not as confident. Don’t you want to be our best self!? I do!  You should too! Stop sabotaging us and keeping us from our own happiness. Let’s love ourself better than we ever have before. Let’s do this without excuses. Let’s be happy. Finally.



Tough Love

I’m pretty good at a pep talk. The rallying cry. The YOU CAN DO IT speech. Just be prepared- I don’t really beat around the bush. Like, ever.

I was thinking about all the “advice” I’ve dolled out recently and it struck me: I should heed my own words.

Such as:

“The longer you keep up this failure talk, the longer you are going to feel like you are alone and suffering.”


“Do you honestly believe that is how you deserved to be loved? To be left? To be emotionally cut off? To not be chosen? To not be fought for? To not have a person you have given everything to not return that in kind? To have a person NEED you but not actually ever make you feel wanted? . . . Love yourself better than that. Love you first! Love you best!”

Um, yeah.

So here is what I am telling myself today:

Dear Self,

Quit succumbing to your old pattern of pleasing everyone first and thinking about yourself second. Stop with the I-am-less-than and prove-it-to-me mentality. It’s boring and not useful. You’re always trying to be one step ahead of everything- knock it off. You’re too damn hard on yourself. Maybe if you’d just shut up for once and LISTEN, you’d finally get it.

You get to choose. YOU! Own that power and wield it wisely.



Open Letters

Dear Trader Joe’s Security Guard,

I sincerely appreciated you pointing out that my vehicle tags were two months expired. I honestly had no idea! I never received a notice and, besides, who actually looks at their license plates? Not me, that’s for sure. I looked it up immediately on line when I got home but then realized I had to get an emissions test which would require time. Time is not something I’ve had much of in the past week. Not that you would know this or care about my excuses as to why, when I returned to Trader Joes a few days later, my tags still said May.

Here’s some feedback: There is a line between helpfulness and badgering and you crossed it. When you came over to my car appearing to be “helping” me by retrieving my cart when really you want to give me a lecture on how if you were “on duty” I’d be getting a ticket and how you already told me and how come I haven’t done it and blahblahyaddablah- THAT IS BADGERING. I’m not sorry I was short with you because really? REALLY?! You have so much fucking free time you have to hassle me about my license tags? When people are being shot a few blocks away in drive by shootings? When cars are being broken into, women attacked on residential tree-lined streets and kids are homeless. REALLY!? So when I curtly replied “I’m on it” what I really meant was FUCK OFF.

Signed: Formerly Appreciative

P.S. I get it. You’re a cop. And guess what? I DO NOT CARE.


Dear Regence Blue Shield,

Your coverage is impossible to understand. Why are you sending me a check written to me AND my acupuncturist? I mean, he’s cute in a hippy way but we’re not an item. It’s not like that. Who is this check actually for?

Signed: What the fuck?

P.S. Why won’t you cover more than 12 visits of therapy a year? Do you actually think a person can be “healed” in 12 visits?!


Dear Zit,

While I can appreciate the irony, I’m not so stoked on your careful placement right where my third eye is. Is this some kind of sign? Is my chi blocked?!

Signed: Third Eye Blind


Dear Splenda,

Why do you make me fart?

Signed: Gassy

P.S. I am leaving you for Stevia.


Dear Tenants,

Thank you for not giving notice. For the first time in over over four months the building is full. You have given me my weekends back and my July thanks you.

Signed: Ready for the weekend.

P.S. While you are at it could you please not be noisy, smelly or stupid?

Love Letter (III)

Dear Love,

It’s been awhile since I wrote. I never said thank you for visiting me. Thank you! That year and a half taught me a lot and there were more high points than there were low, if I look at it without my heartbreak glasses on. Every time you visit me I think “maybe this is the one that will stay” because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right? I’m supposed to want a fanciful forever with the embodiment of you.

And I do.

But let’s not fool ourselves. You come. You go. You’re a powerful force to be reckoned with but that’s not news to you, is it? You pride yourself on that. While I generally enjoy roller coasters sometimes the ride you take me on makes my stomach jump into my throat. You make me nervous. And excited. Like all I can do is throw my hands up and scream. It feels exhilarating and terrifying.

I think that’s the point.

I’ve been proclaiming that I’m on a love sabbatical. I tell everyone I don’t want to date and it’s honestly true. Dating is exhausting. I’m trying to focus on myself and self-improvement. Not necessarily because I don’t think I’m a catch but because there are some parts of me that I am not comfortable with. Each time you come around and then leave, I am left in an introspective place, re-examining myself, dissecting the hows and whats and whys. The whys are the worst. I search for some sort of peace, some answer to mend the tear, some magic potion to restore my faith.

I don’t ever give up hope though. No matter what kind of defense I might throw up, the hope is strong. I’m an optimistic realist, remember? I know you’ll be back again. It’s just not knowing the time table that throws me. I like to have a plan. Should I chuck the whole needing-a-plan thing? Because it hasn’t really worked for me yet and I’m putting two and two together. I’m working on trust. Trusting myself and others. I might be gullible but I’ve got a serious alarm system for emotional intrusions. Makes it hard to really let a person in when you’ve got a siren sounding in your head. But don’t worry, I’m close to disarming it. And I’m not a quitter so you can bet I’ll follow through.

You are too important to me to not try.

Here’s what I’m asking because, let’s be frank, you owe me one. I’m want The Big One. Oh yeah, you heard me- The Big Love of My Life. I figured I’d just lay all my cards on the table. I’m not a gambler by nature but at the ripe age of thirty-six I’m feeling bold and saucy. Besides, what do I have to lose? Everything? Okay then.

Bring it.

Look, I’m not in a super big hurry but you know me, I tend to be impatient. I just want you to know that I’m preparing for it. And when he arrives, I will be ready. So make sure he’s up for it.

I appreciate you looking out for me.



“There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going.” -Beverly Sills