Lionel Richie & Brenda Coffee. Photograph courtesy of Lionel Richie, 2019.
Dear Friends, This will be my last regular blog post for a while because I’m stepping away to work on my memoir. Writing a blog and a memoir requires different writing muscles and voices, and I can’t do both at the same time. This hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact I’ve put it off for several months, but the time has come.
Did you know you are the ones who’ve encouraged me to write my story?
My friend, Pat, uses the term “elderly” when referring to the current state of our high school graduating class. It makes me want to strap him to a walker with nonskid rubber tips and send him flying off of a skateboard ramp. I don’t mind the term “over 65.” I can handle the word “senior” and I will admit to my age, 70, but I’m not keen on telling anyone I’ve had cataract surgery. For the most part, it’s old people who have cataract surgery, and I don’t see myself as old… certainly not elderly… plus cataracts are one of those age-related things that go along with having kidney stones, your gallbladder removed and needing a hearing aid.
What’s that you say? Tuesday?
David Dangle at home in Pennsylvania. Photograph courtesy of David Dangle
For those of you who shop QVC you probably already know David Dangle, CEO of Joan Rivers Worldwide. You may also know Gus, his whip smart, Smooth Fox Terrier, but did you know David Dangle had already made a name for himself before he and Joan started their phenomenally successful brand or that they pioneered television home shopping? For years David Dangle and I have talked (behind the scenes) on Instagram.
His legions of fans will be glad to know in-person, he’s the same great guy you see on television.
Yesterday I called a friend whose husband died two months ago after years of numerous and serious medical problems. When I asked how she was doing, she said, “I’m going to be candid with you. I’m relieved.” I understood, all too well, what she meant. I also wondered if there are those who might judge her and find her truthful admission to be shocking and inappropriate? If so perhaps it’s because they haven’t been there… or maybe they’re not allowing themselves to be honest.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love and miss them. Just that we’re relieved… for both of us… that it is over.
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.