Six of the eight places on my April in Tuscany, an “Invitation to the Rest of Your Life” trip are sold, and I can’t wait to meet the women who are coming with me. They’re from all over the US and Canada: big cities and small towns, East Coast, West Coast, and the last house at the end of a country road. I’ve wanted to get to know all of you and spend time together, and now it’s happening, but this isn’t just any old trip to Italy.
This trip has the power to change your life.
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the world has lost one of the few remaining members of the “Greatest Generation,” as journalist Tom Brokaw called them. People who were born between 1900 through the 1920s, who lived through the Great Depression, and many who fought during World War II. They were a generation that understood sacrifice and honor; their word was their bond, and they were as interested in the wellbeing of others as much, and sometimes more than their own.
Queen Elizabeth II was a member of this generation, and she had a big hand in shaping our world.
Photo ©Brenda Coffee, 2022.
There are a lot of things in life we need to be afraid of, but our pharmacy shouldn’t be one of them. Last week I picked up a prescription for a heart medication. Later, at home, I reached for a glass of water and paused a few seconds before swallowing it.
And in that moment, I realized the capsule in my hand was not my usual medication.
Have you ever bought a piece of clothing you knew was all wrong for you? I did that recently, and I don’t know what I was thinking other than the dress reminded me of another time and place. Before my life plunged off the rails, and my first husband became someone I didn’t know. My recent purchase was a full-length, burgundy sequin dress with a cowl neckline.
It reminded me of a bronze, sequined, spaghetti strap dress with a cowl neckline I wore in my 20s.
This week’s post is a mixture of things I thought you might enjoy, including a fun summer dress; an easy dessert recipe; and an update about the FABULOUS TRIP FOR WOMEN OVER 50 I’ve invited you to take with me this coming spring.
And because I’m a breast cancer thriver/survivor, I want to share a few words about Olivia Newton-John, the amazing woman so many of us admired.
On the Back Wall of My Courtyard You Can See Annie.
My yard has been invaded by a family called the Bufonidaes. I don’t mean to be unkind, but they’re ugly, with faces only a mother could love. Their skin is dry and leathery, their legs short and fat, and they have large bumps that run up and down both sides of their bodies that look like warts. I get along with all of my neighbors. I’m even on the board of our homeowners’ association, but I draw the line with the Bufonidaes.
Short of going nuclear, I don’t know how to get them to move.
If it seems like I’m dissing women on the natural decrepitude of aging, first let me say the same things happen to men. It happens less often to men because of the natural differences between us. Women have less muscle mass, and we have fatty deposits in different places. We get osteoporosis earlier than men. We are different, and therefore, we age differently, but there is another difference. Men just don’t seem to care as much. You’re more likely to see women having face lifts, tummy tucks, and liposuction than men, although these statistics are changing as men are becoming more obsessed with the maintenance of a youthful appearance.
But since 1010 Park Place is all about us gals, let’s talk about women over 50 and preventing a slumped spine.
Whether you call them batwings, jiggly arms, or you remind yourself not to “wave like that,” our arms will eventually be a problem for most of us. It’s fine to strengthen your triceps, but just so you know, those batwings won’t go away. But you say you know someone who did 200 dips a day, and their batwings went away? Okay, then have at it, but for every one of those people, I can tell you about 25 who injured their rotator cuffs and triceps tendons doing the same dips. Instead, let’s think about exercising for the purpose of maintaining our strength, not to fill up sagging flesh with bulging muscles.
Because that doesn’t work.
Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen
Not long ago I watched the 1985 film, Out of Africa, and found myself crying in the exact same place I cried the last time I watched it. I didn’t cry after Karen Blixen’s lover, Denys Finch Hatton, was killed, or when she says goodbye to her longtime Somali headman, Farah, before she boards the train for Denmark and leaves her beloved farm and Africa forever. I cried when the all-male members of the exclusive Muthaiga Club ask to “stand with Karen for a drink.“ It was the only way the aristocratic, British Colonial men of 1931 knew of expressing their admiration for her strength and resolve of character. The very qualities she’d been forced to develop when the same men had turned a deaf ear to her requests for help.
I cry each time I watch this part of Out of Africa because it reminds me of how few men have helped me along the way or acknowledged my strengths, and I believe the majority of women can say the same thing.