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Brenda’s Blog

— Life —

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Today I transferred the contents of my safety deposit box to another bank. The contents contained things you might expect to find in a safety deposit box, but it was my diaries and old passport photos that reminded me of one of the scariest, yet most exhilarating times of my life. A lot for a 20-something to endure, much less to write about so matter-of-factly.

“7/2/82: Guido and Little Louie [my names for the men who steal our garbage and override our alarm system] are still with us.”

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— Life —

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When I was unpacking my dishes and cookbooks that had been in storage for 10 years, I took a break to watch Rick Bayless’s PBS series, “Mexico One Plate at a Time.” A chef and restaurateur, Rick specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine. As he talked about the subtle, but complex dishes of Oaxaca, I was reminded of the many meals I’ve eaten in Mexico and Central America over the years.

One meal, in particular, I’ll never forget.

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— Life —

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This week I had jury duty. I know… A lot of people roll their eyes at this often dreaded “penance,” but it’s one of the highest services entitled us as Americans: the right to a jury of our peers. “Our peers… “ Now that’s the scary part. Out of 500 people selected at random for the jury pool—who were pulled from a list of voter and driver registrations—I saw a handful of what I would consider my “peers.” The rest… ?

If I answered honestly, you’d think I was being ugly or exaggerating.

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— Relationships —

Sam at the vet the week before he died. Doesn't he have a beautiful face? When people would ask me what kind of dog he was I would say, 'He's part Beagle and part Walt Disney.' He looked like he could have been in 'Lady and the Tramp.'
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This week I had to put my precious Sam to sleep. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Like me and Molly, Sam survived abuse and unspeakable heartbreak. Each of us were lost until James found us, and together, we became a family.

Sam was with me through breast cancer; losing James; Goldie’s stroke; mother’s death and Molly’s death last month.

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— 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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