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Essentials

— Essentials —

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According to Webster’s Dictionary, separate is a verb. We separate our lights from darks when doing laundry, our refrigerated goods from non-perishable items when shopping, and we separate our bills from our receipts for tax-time. Separate can also be an adjective meaning different, distinct, unrelated, set apart. Using the laundry example, who hasn’t turned a “white” load pink because of an overlooked item of red clothing? Thus, the important need for separation.

I began obsessing over this the other day when I reached under my sink for eye makeup remover (which is pink) and instead grabbed the nail polish remover (coincidentally also pink) beside it. Oops! That was a close call.

It may be time to overhaul my under sink cabinet situation.

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After paying $5.00 for a tiny basket of tasteless, organic cherry tomatoes at a farmers market earlier this summer, I got it into my head to grow my own. Bah, humbug. I didn’t need to pay that much for something as simple-to-grow as tomatoes. I imagined myself admiring my tomato plant, picturing it heavily laden with little red fruit as I sat, enjoying my morning coffee. I was sure it wouldn’t be long before I was feasting on gazpacho at lunchtime every day. 

 It was a grand delusion, this idea of mine. 

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The Cookbooks I Kept When I Moved From the Ranch to Town. All photographs ©Brenda Coffee, 2019.
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When I was a little girl my parents had a hard time getting me to eat anything, especially foods that were yellow. Eggs, bananas, squash, cornbread… I turned up my nose at all of them until my father got the idea to use food coloring to dye them blue. While that took care of the yellow foods, he was at a loss about what to do with green foods like beans, spinach and peas. My father would be surprised to learn I grew up to be a gourmet cook, but now I’m the one who’s surprised. More liked shocked…

Am I the only one who’s lost interest in cooking?

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Some of the Mayan artifacts Philip and I found in the Yucatan. Can you tell which ones are real and which ones I bought?
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I have a friend who changed jobs, moved to a new city on the other side of the country and put almost everything she owns in storage. I understand she doesn’t know whether her new job will work out, but I couldn’t leave my things behind. Almost, without exception, everything in my home is linked to family, friends and events in my life. Some remind me of tragedies while others represent happy times and great blessings.

They’re as much a part of who I am as my smile and my blue eyes.

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Francois-Xavier’s and Claude Lalanne’s Sheep Chairs
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Last week’s blog about the “invisible man” sitting in the Spanish chair in my living room got me thinking about “my thing” for chairs. Whether they’re French, Spanish, Bauhaus or the chairs Mary Steenburgen hung on the wall in the 1979 film, Goin’ South with Jack Nicholson, I love chairs. Every few years I fall in love with a different style, but the chairs I really want don’t look anything like chairs.

They look like sheep.

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Isn’t it funny how things like smells and music can jog our memory and remind us of places we’ve been or experiences we’ve long since forgotten? Like every time I open the dresser drawers in the guest room, I’m reminded of my grandmother. Even after all these years the rose pattern on her drawer liners still smell like her favorite perfume, Elsa Schiaparelli’s “Shocking.” And today an online photograph of a room I’d never seen before struck a familiar chord. 

I knew it was related to a fabric I’d been seeking for over 10 years.

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People laugh when I refer to my cardboard box money, but they always understand what I mean. They may call it a retirement fund or their 401(k), but we’ve all been saving so we won’t have to live in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere. 

Most of the time I’m good at managing my money, but sometimes I’m not.

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