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ANOTHER USE FOR A SELFIE. Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©2019
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This summer I’ve been traveling a lot, and everywhere I go, I’ve seen 20-something young women who are obsessed with themselves and how they look. Whether they’re alone, or in groups, they’re taking selfies at breakfast, standing on the street corner, even getting out of an Uber. 

It’s almost as if they can’t be separated from looking at themselves for even a minute. How can they bear to go to sleep?

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Everyday I tell Annie she’s the most loved little dog in the world, and I would do anything to keep her well and safe, and as it turns out… That includes canceling two-weeks in England. Today I should be in the English countryside, strolling Prince Charles’s garden, visiting a large antique fair and the private estate of the producer of Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, not to mention spending five days in London, catching up with friends. 

But three hours before my plane left, I decided Annie needed me more than I needed to visit England.

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On the day we take our marriage vows it never occurs to us that another woman—with whom our husband promised “for better or worse… until death do us part”—may be the one who comes to our aide when he dies. Both of my late husband’s ex-wives were there for me the day they died. Perhaps this happens more often than I imagine, but what are the odds it’s happened to me twice?

I owe each of these women a debt of gratitude for being so kind to me.

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I had something else planned for today’s blog until I got stuck for a minute… okay it was 20 seconds, but it seemed like an eternity… in an elevator with three guys my age. Oy vey! Why is it men don’t clean their eyeglasses? Has it never occurred to them foggy lenses with big greasy thumbprints can be fixed, or do they just not notice? The dirty glasses on two of these guys could have classified them as legally blind. 

I wanted to tap one of them on the shoulder and say, “Dude! How many fingers am I holding up?”

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Last week a girlfriend told me about a group in San Antonio that’s looking for female mentors to help young women who are exotic dancers. Our conversation reminded me of a dancer I met in my 20’s. I wrote this piece soon after. Since most of us will never meet an exotic dancer, I thought you might find her story interesting, insightful… and sad… and because not all of us had ideal childhoods… It might make you think about how she wound up in this position but you didn’t?

The naked blonde undulating down the runway oozes with sexuality in a dance she does five times a night, six nights a week, and her skin looks smooth and creamy under the lights. The men who watch her are all alike. Cash registers who dispense twenty dollar bills.

The blonde stops in front of an overweight man in a plaid shirt and shakes her breasts in his face. His money clip is on the table. 

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Good, bad or outrageous, my life has been about as normal as picking blueberries on Mars. After reading my blog posts over the years, many of you have urged me to write a book. I took your suggestions to heart, and New Years Day, I began writing a memoir. Even though I’m a writer, and I have an outline, writing a memoir is difficult. We all have a story to tell, but writing a book can be overwhelming. What if you had a simple template that made writing easy and had places for photos? And when you’re done, you’d have a finished, printed book?

Would that encourage you to write your story?

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Good friends are like portals to the past and the hands that help move us into the future. In the last week I’ve gotten together with a number of good friends. One I don’t see often, but when we do, we pick up as though one of us just stepped out of the room for a few minutes. 

No “Tell me what you’ve been up to?” We talk in shorthand and enter the conversation in midstream.

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ANNIE WITHOUT LULU
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Instead of children I’ve always had dogs, sometimes three at a time. They’re my family. Annie and Lulu were eight weeks old when I adopted them from the animal shelter almost two years ago. From the beginning the “experts” told me someday I’d have to make a choice and give one of my darling girls away, but I didn’t believe them. “Litter Mate Syndrome,” they called it. I’d never heard of litter mate syndrome and never had problems with any of my dogs. What do the experts know anyway? 

In this case… Everything!

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We’ve all gotten songs stuck in our heads that play over and over until we want to go screaming into the night. That’s how I’ve felt this past week. I’ve been singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s 1963, Wives and Lovers. I have no clue where it came from, but I can’t get rid of it.

In 2013, HuffPost said Wives and Lovers “could be one of the most offensive songs, ever.”

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