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Voices

— Life —

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENDA COFFEE ©2019
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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Incase the universe thought it might have slipped my mind that 15 years ago I was diagnosed with this terrible disease, since then five of my girlfriends have been diagnosed with breast cancer as well. I understand their fears. I know how hard it is to think about anything other than cancer because we’re wondering if we’ll be here this time next year or five years from now. 

I also know when treatment is over, it’s sometimes difficult to get on with the business of living. 

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— 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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— Life —

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Over two hundred of Anthony Bourdain’s most cherished belongings are being sold this month—October 9-30, 2019—in an online auction that’s open to everyone who wants to bid. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing some of Anthony (Tony) Bourdain’s personal treasures and visiting with my friend, Lark Mason, the auctioneer for Bourdain’s estate. You may know Lark as the Asian art and antiquities expert on Antiques Roadshow, but Lark is also the owner of one of the premier auction houses in the world, Lark Mason Associates, CEO of iGavel Auctions and President of the Appraiser’s Association of America.

I also spoke with Laurie Woolever, Tony Bourdain’s assistant, gatekeeper, lieutenant, recipe tester, writer, co-author and friend for almost a decade. 

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— Relationships —

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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— Relationships —

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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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— Life —

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“When people ask me why I seem so happy and find it so easy to laugh, I tell them my INNER CHILD is working overtime. That belief has been with me my entire adult life. Many times throughout the years different friends and relatives have remarked, ‘Lee, you’re the biggest kid I know. Aren’t you ever going to grow up?’”

They’re all dead now.

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— Life —

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixaabay
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I’ve always been comfortable being alone. Perhaps that’s because I was an only child and I’m good at entertaining myself, but I know a lot of single women and men over 50 who hate being alone. It reminds me of Susan Sarandon’s comment in the film, Shall We Dance, about why people get married. 

“Because we need a witness to our lives.”

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— Life —

Rene Lalique, Firebird Luminaire, @1922
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I was never one of those kids who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Even now I’m not sure how to answer the question, “And what do you do?” If resumes were based on how we spend our time, mine would probably read, “Doggie Doorman.” Part of me wants to add “versatile, resilient and I plan for worst-case” and be done with it. You fill in the blanks. I do know life shouldn’t be about what we do for a living, or the label we give ourselves or the labels we drive and wear or where we went to school. 

Life is about how we raise our children and treat one another and how we cope with change, especially when it’s unexpected, and it all starts with how we feel about ourselves.

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— Life —

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It’s no secret that I love music. My earliest musical memories are of my father, playing clarinet with a Dixieland Jazz band. When I was old enough he taught me how to set the needle down on a vinyl LP so I could listen to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on my parents’s record player. Then came six years of piano lessons—with music that didn’t interest me—until rock ’n’ roll and Motown rescued me and liberated my soul. Fast forward to the ’70’s, when my husband and I helped finance a string of rock concerts.

Recently I caught up with Don Perry, Hollywood concert promoter, recording engineer and record producer.

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— Essentials —

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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