PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENDA COFFEE ©2019
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.
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.
Photographs courtesy of Serena Crawford
Serena Crawford is one of my favorite people because her curiosity and interests knows no bounds. I could tell you she’s an award-winning, international interior designer, but she’s more than a designer. There’s no part of a home she’s not involved in researching and creating from the bare bones of the architecture to the landscape and the interiors. Her travels take her around the world; she’s lived in several countries, and she shares all of it with her almost 48,000 Instagram followers.
Serena is a philosopher and a teacher who’s engaged with the people and life around her.
ANOTHER USE FOR A SELFIE. Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©2019
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?
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.
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.
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?”
“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.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixaabay
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.”
Rene Lalique, Firebird Luminaire, @1922
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.