PHOTOGRAPH ©BRENDA COFFEE, 2018
If you’re new to my blog this is not the kind of thing I usually write about. I’m more interested in writing Promise Yourself These Six Things, Does Someone Need Your Help to Heal or Fifi’s Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, Did Retirement. I’m writing this because of the number of emails I received about the serial killer I mentioned in last week’s blog. It’s also a reminder there are people like this in the world. Here’s a small snippet of a true story I’ve never published.
While I can’t tell you how or where I met him, I can tell you the last time I saw “Felix,” he’d killed 43 people. That was 15 years ago.
Instead of taking advantage of the holiday sales, I spent my “Christmas money” on a trip to the cardiologist for a nuclear stress test. As the treadmill speeded up and the incline became steeper, the goal was to see how long it took my heart to reach 129 beats a minutes. It took 9.8 minutes, which statistically speaking, means I have the stats of a 28-year-old female. That’s incredible because statistically women my age—68—reach a heart rate of 129 beats a minute in only 3.2 minutes.
While that’s great news, I still don’t know what caused me to almost pass out in Neiman Marcus.
Don’t hold me to this, but I’m thinking about signing up with one of those online dating sites. From time to time a good friend urges me to just go ahead and do it. He doesn’t like the thought of me being alone and wants me to meet a nice guy. While dating isn’t high on my priority list, I did go out a few months ago with a guy I met at the airport bus stop.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised when he “wasn’t the one.”
Do you remember the television commercial, “Cotton… The fabric of our lives?” Sometimes I think the real thread running through our lives is stress. Just when we think we’ve mastered one stressful part of our lives, we slide seamlessly into another. In this chapter of my life I’m learning to be Alpha dog to two puppies and to surrender my need for a clean house. At the moment the courtyard and the outside of three sets of French doors look like Jackson Pollock paintings done in mud.
Perhaps I should tape canvas to the doors and see if I can get a gallery showing for the girls and their “work.”
IT'S DIFFICULT GETTING ANYTHING DONE WITH ANNIE AND LULU IN MY LAP.
Annie and Lulu are growing into fine young ladies, especially after I sent them to finishing school while I was in Italy this fall. For three weeks the girls learned the finer points of sit, stay, heel, come, inside and place.
Now the biggest challenge they face is me.
Before Thanksgiving a girlfriend’s significant other (SO) had a devastating stroke. He’s been in ICU for much of that time but was moved to a regular hospital room less than a week ago. Yesterday a woman from the hospital called and told her he wouldn’t get any better than he is now, and the hospital wants him gone by Monday. The woman from the hospital suggested my girlfriend’s options were to put him in an assisted living facility, or take him home with 24-hour care and diapers for the rest of his life. He’s in his 50’s.
This is the same hospital that wouldn’t let her into ICU or confer with her about his medical condition because they weren’t married.
PHOTOGRAPH ©BRENDA COFFEE
The other night I reread the beginning of Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life. Keith grew up listening to everything from Mozart and Bach to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. When he was 13, Keith used to walk around his bedroom, holding a tiny radio up to his ear, twisting the antennae just so until he could get an intermittent signal from Radio Luxembourg. He said the night he heard Elvis Presley, singing “Heartbreak Hotel,” was “like an explosion.” The next day he “was a different guy.” Whether he knew it or not, Keith Richards had just found his passion, that thing that gave meaning to his life.
One of the greatest gifts we’ll ever receive is discovering who we are and finding our passion.
BRENDA COFFEE REFLECTED IN HER POWDER ROOM MIRROR. PHOTOGRAPHS © JENNIFER DENTON, 2017.
This time last year I took you on a video tour of the house I bought. That was the “Before.” Now I’m going to show you some of the “After.” Even though the house had been “flipped” before I bought it, the bathrooms were a disaster. On my first walk thru, the instant I saw the master bath and the powder room, I visualized what I wanted to change, and that’s never wavered.
Except for things like flooring, most of the pieces in my new bathrooms, I already owned, and each piece has a special story.
If you’ve read Doreen McGettigan’s blogs on 1010ParkPlace then you know her life hasn’t been easy. She was sexually abused by a priest when she was eight; raped at 13 by her mother’s boyfriend; her house burned down when she was 14; she married and had her first baby in her teens, and her youngest brother was brutally beaten—by an angry mob—in a random road rage incident. He was left for dead, suffered severe brain damage and died a few days later. It was an unspeakable act that divided a town as well as Doreen’s family.
Instead of succumbing to what could have taken down the strongest of warriors, Doreen became an outspoken advocate for victim’s rights and the homeless.
FACING CALENDAR PAGES. CALENDAR, NAME, CONCEPT AND PHOTOGRAPHS ©BRENDA RAY COFFEE, 2004
Writer and poet, Robert Louis Stevenson, referred to Napa Valley as “bottled poetry.” In 1880, Robert and his bride, Fanny, spent a two-month honeymoon in the Napa Valley area and fell in love with it. They would be heartbroken to learn of the raging inferno that rained destruction on their beloved valley. I, too, am devastated for everyone who loves Napa and who lives there.
My love for Napa Valley has nothing to do with the $100,000 bottle of cabernet the late, Robert Mondavi, opened for me… Although I drank $50,000 worth!