As far back as I can remember, my mother referred to me as “poor little thing” as though it were my first, middle and last name. “Poor little thing, she has such a long horsey face,” or “poor little thing, her glasses look like Coke bottles.” It’s not surprising I grew up wishing I looked like Sandra Dee, the 60’s, blonde beach babe with the perfect features.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand the truly magnificent faces are often the ones that are imperfect.
Photograph by Brenda Coffee
Like most of us I’ve faced a lot of tough times in my life. I’ve given up my power and my voice more than once. I loved a man I should have left—he almost killed me—but instead of learning from my mistake, I did it again. I loved another man I should have left sooner. And just when I thought I’d let go of the toxic patterns I seemed destined to repeat, I was taken, at gunpoint, in Guatemala.
There are some things you think you’ll never survive, and when you do, you’re certain you’ll never heal, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true.
One of the best ways to become good friends with someone is to let your guard down and share some of your inner most thoughts and feelings. Things that have been rumbling around inside of you for a long time. I didn’t expect to love five strangers, in five days, by doing this or to bond with them in such a profound way, but I did, and our connection with one another is deep and real.
We have become trusted friends.
Today was going to be a fun blog post, but I decided it was more important to tell you about two phone calls I received, allegedly from Spectrum, and a recording that gave me two options: “Press ‘one’ to hear about Spectrum’s new internet packages that could lower your monthly rates. Press ‘two’ if you don’t want to receive any further calls.” I always hang up on calls like these, but this time I thought I’d hear them out.
It was convincing. I’ll give them that…. Until the guy on the phone got creepy.
I'm 22 years old in this photo and sitting on a vintage Porsche RSK Spyder race car in need of a paint job.
This week my friend, Lee Moczygemba, called to tell me I’d been on her mind, a lot, and she apologized for not calling sooner. I haven’t stopped thinking about our conversation or that she will be 97 in a couple of months.
Her phone call made me feel good, and I thought it was worth sharing with you.
If you’re in the market for something to watch on television I have the ultimate hold your breath, edge-of-your-seat thriller about a man who meets a maiden under the sea. The man is Cape Town, South Africa filmmaker, Craig Foster, and the maiden is not a mermaid, but a female octopus Foster forged a relationship with over the period of a year. In many ways this Academy Award-winning documentary is an unexpected love story, a tale of survival and a meaningful bond between two different, but highly intelligent species.
I watched My Octopus Teacher the same day I rescued a baby bird who’d wound-up in the mouth of my dog, Annie. Like Craig Foster, I was struck by the resiliency and the fragility of nature, but it also gave me another pause for thought.
Hi Friends. I finished the memoir I’ve been writing, and it has been the experience of a lifetime. One I wouldn’t have missed for anything, and I have you to thank, because you are the ones who asked me to write it. I am grateful to all of you for reading what I write and leaving me such supportive comments, and in the prologue of my book I have given you the credit.
When it comes time for you to read it you may find it shocking––it will be something you didn’t expect––but it is my truth, and I needed to get it out on the page.
Christmas Cactus by Brad Braune, 1981
This year has taken many of us down the rabbit hole, and we are wondering when it will be safe to poke our heads above ground and get our lives back. I wave to neighbors, text and zoom with friends and attend church online, but the only living being I see face-to-face is Annie, and she can be a handful. Adorable but a handful.
I have missed all of you. Every day I work on my memoir, and it leaves little time for anything else, but I wanted to touch base, today, and wish all of you love and good health this holiday season.
I have also included a passage from my memoir and some holiday gifts you might enjoy.
Photograph by Jennifer Denton
I don’t know about you, but I have been taking self-quarantine seriously: I get together with friends on Zoom, have my groceries delivered, and I haven’t seen the inside of a hair salon since February. While I have adjusted to visiting with friends online, and I’ve never been crazy about grocery shopping… My long, thin grey hair had to go, so a couple of weeks ago I studied some YouTube videos and decided to cut and color my own hair.
If it didn’t turn out well I was going to say my hair had been gnawed off by woodchucks.