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My life is stuck in the black and white half of an infomercial. I’m the doofus who is fumbling with the spaghetti strainer — the one that, even though designed to perform the task at hand, can’t successfully drain boiling hot water without making a steamy, starchy, hot mess all over the counter and the floor. There must be a better, streamlined, singular approach that effortlessly serves up a pasta dinner in minutes. If only!

Sigh. I wish it were that simple. If my biggest concern right now was the inability to strain spaghetti without burning my fingers, I’d just stop eating it and call it a day. No, instead of simply being incapable of making a flawless Italian meal without the proper implement in hand, I’m clumsily making a life for myself without an ideal partner by my side. After a heart-breaking divorce and two years of badly navigating the dating scene, I can’t help but feel like the “before” for single women in their late 30s who haven’t yet found the perfect match with whom to settle down and raise a family. …


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Every hip, progressive city seems to have one — the neighborhood co-op laden with trendy local produce options like kohlrabi and a plethora of perfectly trimmed beards attached to equally perfectly formed man buns. It’s the kind of place where I can scan for potential gentleman suitors while I carefully peruse the selection of fine Vermont cheeses.

I apply lipstick before I walk through the doors regardless of the fact I’m wearing gym shorts.

My city’s market makes or breaks me on a regular basis. On my best days, I’m all smiles — perhaps catching the eye of a tan, tattooed fella as we wait in line for our chance at the gourmet olive bar. On my worst days, it takes every ounce of energy to not dunk my head into the organic soup du jour and finally put myself out of my own misery. …


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I met JL on a warm summer day in June. He was almost four years old then — still wearing diapers and mostly non-verbal, speaking only a handful of words, including “Hi”, “NO-da,” and “Bubba” (for bottle). Nervous about being introduced to my boyfriend’s son for the first time, I was told not to worry. JL would like me instantly because I smiled a lot. This is true. I do smile a lot. My dad used to call me apple cheeks. JL called me “Missbeena” because he couldn’t say my name correctly.

I immediately adored him.

This was 2005. That summer was to shape up to be the second most challenging I’ve experienced in my entire life. The first most difficult being this past one, ten years later when I went through my divorce and had to say goodbye to my life, my love, and being a full-time stepparent. …

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