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Life

— Life —

6,000 feet above sea level, Mexico. Photograph ©Brenda Coffee
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Not everyone decides to follow the same path in life, and that’s okay. When many of my high school and college friends were having children and climbing the corporate ladder, I chose to explore the jungles in Mexico and crawl through abandoned silver mines in the Sierra Madre mountains. While I have no regrets, the road I chose made it difficult to make new friends: I had no parent-teacher meetings or soccer games to compare notes, and my potential gal pals couldn’t identify with being an adrenaline junkie. 

Last week I saw a list on Facebook, and the instructions were to put a check mark beside the things you’ve done like had kids, been to Disneyland and sung in a choir. The list underscored how different my life has been from almost everyone I know. It also prompted me to put together a list of my own. 

My list may give you an insight into why I’ve written a memoir.

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— Life —

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It’s that time of year, again, when we deck the halls and raise a toast to family and friends and to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, which means it’s not a moment too soon to order our Holiday gifts. I’ve curated a tantalizing array of luxury and budget friendly items and subscriptions to food boxes that will make your mouth drool.

Come take a peek because there may be something that has your name on it.

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— Life —

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After chemotherapy for breast cancer, one drink of alcohol was about all I could handle. One drink of anything gave me the talkies and made me the happiest person in the room, but any more than one, and I was fried. I discovered this when James and I stopped for a drink at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco on our way to the airport. 

I ordered a Cosmopolitan, and it was love at first sip.

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— Life —

Brenda Coffee and Dr. Susan Love on the set of Girlfriends of a Certain Age
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This year Breast Cancer Awareness Month has taken a backseat to the senseless murder of Gabby Petito and whether we need a Covid booster shot, so think of me as the little voice in your ear: When was the last time you had a mammogram? Are you doing regular self-breast exams? If you don’t remember the answer to the first question, and you answered no to the second, then may I make a suggestion?

Your life and your family’s life is in your hands. What are you waiting for?

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— Life —

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Seldom have I opened a book and been gob smacked by goosebumps, but Debra Shriver’s exquisite The French Leave: From Paris to Orleans Parish has me squealing with delight. Debra’s new book is filled with lush photographs she took with her cellphone. It’s the story of why she bought a one-way ticket to Paris and spent almost a year there. A “sabbatical” as she called it. A much needed intermission in the midst of her busy life. A chance to reset and begin again.

Her new book is a Francophile’s view of Paris and her version of Paris along the Mississippi, her adopted hometown of New Orleans.

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— Life —

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My earliest skincare memories are of my mother’s blue facial mask that morphed into a Halloween fright mask when it dried and paralyzed the skin around her mouth and eyes. At ten years of age, I thought this was hysterical. Other than washing my face with soap and water and using OJ’s Beauty Lotion, I don’t remember having a skincare regime until I was in my early twenties and started using Clinique’s toner, day cream and night cream. It wasn’t long before I made friends with the women behind the beauty counter, and I moved on to Orlane. 

Perhaps the best thing I’ve done to take care of my skin was when I started wearing wide brim hats in my mid-twenties.

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— Life —

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Lesley Wolman is an actress, a singer, a songwriter and a blogger. She’s a woman who has a zest for life and like many of us, it took her a while to settle into her groove. Her mother was an opera singer, her father a cardiologist, and Lesley inherited the best of both parents. Growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, Lesley wanted to be a doctor, but she also wanted to sing and perform.

She spent years with one foot in medicine and the other in music.

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— Life —

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Today’s culture is obsessed with youth and physical beauty. We monitor our crow’s-feet and the vertical eleven lines that etch themselves in-between our eyebrows as well as the marionette lines that sometimes look like they’ve been chiseled from our nose to our chin. We fret about whether our lips and our brows are full enough and whether our teeth are too yellow. But when we go back and look at women who didn’t have Botox and fillers, when facelifts weren’t as common, do we hold them to our same standards? 

What is today’s definition of beauty?

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— Life —

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Remember the old I Love Lucy episodes where she tries to sell Vitameatavegamin on television, or the one where she wraps chocolates on an out of control assembly line? It seemed like everything Lucy tried was fraught with problems from the get-go. Yes, she was a bit of a dingbat, but her biggest problem was she never thought about doing things that were suited to her abilities or her needs. I’m involved with something that could have helped Lucy.

I’m part of an impressive group of women over 50 who are breaking the stereotype of what it means to grow older and create the next phase of our lives.

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