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Brenda’s Blog

— Essentials —

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Considering my rocky start, it’s a wonder I’ve developed anything that could be considered style. In college my decor was Early Affordable which included bookshelves and an “entertainment center” made from bricks and boards found in an alley. My dining table was a giant wooden spool that once held telephone cables, and the dining chairs were smaller versions of the same spool.

Least you think I’m too matchy-matchy, the smaller spools just happened to be in the same alley.

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— Relationships —

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February 19th kicks off the Fierce 50 Campaign, a group of 50 top women bloggers–over 50–who are collaborating with brands to crush stereotypes about women and age. I’m excited to be part of this amazing group and want to introduce one of my fellow Fierce 50 women, Annette Findling.

Annette helps women create personalized wealth management strategies that give them financial independence. More than anything, Annette wants women to have choices.

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— Life —

How Much Botox Will You Need?
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Everytime I consider having some “work done,” I learn something that makes me pause. Last month Anna, my aesthetician, gave me a facial. We’ve been friends for 20 years. I love visiting Anna because she’s a voracious reader and researches organic versus non organic foods, vitamins and skin care. She’s a walking encyclopedia concerning anything you put on the skin and into the body.

As I’m going on about how with each passing day I look more like my mother, and I’m thinking about Botox, Anna stops working on my face and says, “Uh huh… “ Not the kind of “Uh huh” that reconfirms she’s listening, but the kind of “Uh huh” Sherlock Holmes might have uttered as he processed a new clue. I love it when she does that, because I know she’s about to give me a kernel of well-researched information.

“Like everything else we put on our skin, did you know Botox is processed by our liver?” Anna makes it sound like more of a statement than a question.

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— Life —

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The United States of America was built on Freedom: Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom to cast our votes for leaders and laws that align with our beliefs. When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution, they didn’t list every possible “inalienable right,” but Americans have always believed those rights included the right to think freely.

We cannot sanctify violence and rioting against people and property because there’s a conservative—or a liberal—speaking at the podium or living next door.

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— Relationships —

Me and Molly a month ago.
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This evening, Molly went to live with God. Before the vet administered the final medication, I laid on the floor and cradled her and told her how much I loved her; how blessed I was to have her in my life and that she was a lucky girl… She was going to live with God… and Goldie and James. I tried to keep my voice light and positive.

I didn’t want to scare or alarm her, but when I said “James,” her head whipped around, and she looked me in the eyes and held my gaze. I know she understood. It took my breath away.

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— Relationships —

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The night before my first mastectomy I stood naked in front of my dressing room mirror, hoping to remember my breasts. They weren’t big, but they were well-shaped. I was slim and fit, the poster girl for exercise and eating right. Even so, it didn’t keep me from getting breast cancer. That night I wasn’t scared as much as I was anxious to have the cancer out of my body.

Even though my husband changed my bandages and cleared my drainage tubes, after my surgery, I was nervous the first time we had sex.

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— Essentials —

'Before'
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I don’t want to sound like some wacko who says, “God talks to me,” but over a year ago, I heard… let’s call it an “idea”… that I should sell the ranch. It was as clear as if someone were standing in the room, talking to me. Although this had never happened before, it wasn’t scary or alarming, and in my heart, I knew it was what I needed to do. A few days later, I put the ranch up for sale; the place James and I so loved and the place where he died.

The same day I went online, looking for an old buffet to hold mother’s crystal and china; things in storage I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Of all the things to search for… That was the weird part.

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— Relationships —

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While unpacking the last wave of boxes from my storage units, I found a letter from my friend, Marjorie. She printed it on thick card stock and brought it to my house when it was my turn to host our girlfriends’ group for dinner. At that point, Marjorie and I had been friends for 20 years.

Marjorie’s been there through the death of my first husband and my second. When she gave me this letter, 14 years ago, I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer the day before.

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— Life —

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Over the holidays I read Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the movie version, Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly character opens the door, wearing a sleep mask perched above her eyebrows. As unusual as this may sound, I’ve been a sleep mask connoisseur since my 20s.

Without going into details—yes, I know… that’s where the juicy parts are—my first marriage led to chronic sleep problems. Short of a sleeping pill and a sleep mask, or Vegas blackout drapes, it’s still hard for me to get to sleep.

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— Life —

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This afternoon I found myself thinking that the bronze beads in my new shower are a lot like life. If each major life event we encounter stands for one bronze bead, and each bead threads itself alongside the last hard formed, hard-earned bead, by the time we’re a certain age, we’ve created—within us—a chain of strength and endurance that helps us do anything.

The hardest part of life isn’t finding ourselves at the downward slope of a bead, but climbing up to create the next bead in our chain.

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