— Life —


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Somehow all the trips I took last year, the wonderful people I met and the pretty pink tulle skirt and my silver shoes don’t feel important anymore, but my grandmother’s pin I wore will always be one of my most cherished possessions. The last few days I’ve been aware of my mother and my grandmother, my father’s mother, surrounding me.

All I have to do is look around my house. Their things are with me everywhere like my grandmother’s big chair in my living room.

When I was a little girl it was upholstered in blue brocade. It was where I sat at her house with my books and my stuffed rabbit. I recovered it in cream velvet, an impractical choice for someone with dogs, but it’s the same beloved chair. Then there is the black and gold lacquered tray my grandmother gave me when I was in my 20’s. Now I use it to hold my dinner plate on my lap while I eat and watch the evening news. The news that, today, made me cry uncontrollably.

I know life must go on, and it will go on, but for now I’m thinking about life and death and the brave healthcare workers and first responders who are putting their lives on the line for all of us. For the last 11 days a friend I admire in New York City has been struggling with what sounds like Covid-19. For days I resisted the urge to text her. Instead, every hour I’ve monitored her Instagram account like it was a lifeline. Hers. I visited the Instagram accounts of her close NY friends and two days ago found comfort that she’d “liked” something I’d said a week ago. It meant she was still alive!

Today she posted the details of how sick she’s been… Scary!

On the flip side I’m disappointed in stories I hear about people in my own city of San Antonio (San Antonio, the surrounding county and many counties in Texas have shelter in place orders) who don’t have the same views about what’s important. For them nothing has changed, like the parents who threw their five-year-old a birthday party. Thirty parents came with kids and gifts and wine in tow and stayed to party. Then there are the parents who let their teenagers throw a prom party; the other parents whose teenagers gather daily on the streets and in the parks, the yoga class that’s still going on, and the grandparents who think nothing of driving back and forth across Texas to see family, all during a time when their zip code has the largest number of Covid-19 cases in the seventh largest city in the United States! May I suggest their thoughtless actions are why their zip code is the most infected in the city? Don’t they know Texas is predicted to be the next Covid-19 hotspot?

What part of shelter in place do they not understand? What happened to common sense?

Then there’s my dear friend and his wife who are worrying about going to a hospital to bring their first child into the world two months from now… when Covid-19 may be peaking here.

Priorities people! We must shift our priorities for the sake of the greater good… which may turn out to be yours and your family’s greater good. Snap out of it!



  • Taste of France April 4, 2020 at 5:45 am

    Wishing your friend a speedy recovery.
    I was listening to an interview (New Yorker Radio Hour) with Danny Kahneman, the Nobel-winning economist, who is 86 and who predicted that the world will get back to normal in a few years but for older people like him, it’s like a life sentence of confinement, because he’s unlikely to live long enough to see the day when the world is normal again. He said that even he has a hard time getting his head around exponential growth. Things are going to get worse before they get better. And when the curve is flattened, we won’t go back to normal again. It will just be the new normal until there’s a vaccine or a cure, which could take years. It means learning to cope instead of just waiting for it to pass.

    • Brenda Coffee April 4, 2020 at 11:16 am

      I’ve already thought that because I’m 70 and have asthma “my world” will be one of confinement until there is a foolproof vaccine or a cure. It’s an overwhelming realization. I’ve spent a lifetime surviving the worst situations, but somehow this one feels different. All of our survivorship skill will be tested, and we’ll be required to add new ones. Take care in France! xoxox, Brenda

  • Donna Nance April 4, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Brenda, I am sorry to hear about your friend and pray for her complete recovery. I’m not sure (I know) people don’t realize and respect (and don’t care about) the seriousness of this nasty, cruel virus. It won’t slow down until folks cooperate and stay home. Selfish and clueless are two words that come to mind. Folks like this do as they please and then whine the loudest when they are personally affected. The Urban Farmer aka husband and I would love to go to the nurseries and wander around, buying plants for the gardens. Our Shipt delivery folks do a fine job and we certainly appreciate them. However, the Farmer and I enjoy going to the market and selecting fresh produce. These activities are not possible at this time, and we settle for seeing our youngest daughter through the front door when she picks up the eggs we leave for her on the porch. (Backyard chickens) We will celebrate her birthday someday, who knows when. Facetime keeps us in touch with our Texas daughter and her family. Be safe, Brenda. .

    • Brenda Coffee April 4, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Donna, I so agree. At least you’re getting fresh produce… something I can’t bring myself to do. I’m stocked up with canned and frozen food for what I hope will be two months… just about the time the virus peaks where I live. Like you, I’d love to go to the nursery and bring home pretty plants. It’s the perfect time to work in my yard, but I’ll just have to imagine them. Take care, Donna!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Donna April 4, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Dear Brenda – It seems that crises bring out the best… and the worst in people.
    I’m shocked, too, that people aren’t smart enough or considerate enough to pay attention and cooperate. If not for the health of the rest of society, then at least for their own immediate family.
    I look forward to the day when I can visit with my son, rather than leaving him care-packages on his porch and saying “Hi” through his door.
    Your Grandmother’s lacquered tray sounds beautiful! Enjoy!

    • Brenda Coffee April 4, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Hi Sweet Friend, I saw the flowering tea your neighbor brought you. Thanks for sharing on IG. It brightened my day. Love, Brenda

  • Barbara April 4, 2020 at 10:59 am

    We are in a completely insane time, in this country. I remember, many moons ago, we lived in a 2nd floor apt. and my uncle was staying with us during a tornado. As it got darker and darker he stepped out onto the 2nd fl. landing and yelled, “Hit me, baby!” He made us more frightened than the actual tornado. It’s a certain ‘type’ of fool who does these crazy things. We all survived that tornado but, this virus is much more dangerous than that was. I want to grab the fool in the Whitehouse by his fake flying saucer hairdo and shake some sense into him but, obviously, we’re too late for that!
    Stay safe, my friend! xob

    • Brenda Coffee April 4, 2020 at 11:37 am

      Barbara, “Hit me, baby?” Woah! That seems to be the spoken or unspoken dare from all fools. The fools I’m writing about are supposed to be educated and well informed, but they’re showing the rest of us that common sense and selflessness is income and education agnostic. Grrrr…. Keep your hands washed and take care, my friend. xoxox, Brenda

  • Donna Robinson April 4, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Brenda, Often when I read your posts I say Bravo! – for hitting the nail on the head, for truth with sincerity, and for the feeling that you are reading my mind. Thank you for doing it again.
    Sometimes I feel those of us that live alone (and are of a certain age….) think and see more clearly. We see and absorb the world around us undistracted with constant chatter and outside opinions. We ask why – or now we ask how ignorant and unthoughtful can people be? Are they blind to what is happening? I live in Oregon, less two miles from where the first case hit here on February 28. Can it really be a little over a month ago? It seems like a lifetime. Have my priorities changed? A resounding yes! Travel to visit family and abroad is cancelled, clothes with tags still hanging on them that now seem frivolous have been sent back, I talk to my sons daily and check on friends routinely, and like you I look for posts to find a hint that someone is alive and well. And I get angry. Angry with friends that complain their house is too full with a husband around all the time and kids home from college, or that they’re bored and everything is being cancelled and they have nothing to do. Don’t they see that their life could be cancelled?
    I’m finding I love the slower pace of my life. I have time to finish a painting on my easel, dive into reading a stack of books, find a perfect recipe to cook for one, and finally start that online yoga class – or to do nothing. That’s all after finishing my new work from home routine. Thank you Skype, Zoom and a good internet connection.
    Yes I cry when I watch the news and look at my photos from Italy and wonder if returning there or anywhere will ever be the same. My new adventures aren’t travel but discovering what can be ordered online instead of running to the store. Joy is knowing my sons, family and friends are safe and healthy. My hope Is for a future where not only do priorities change, but that after this ends, that priorities remain unchanged.
    Take care and stay healthy.
    PS – I want to be in your lifeboat when the ship goes down. You have your priorities straight.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Donna, I don’t think I could have written a better post! I love and appreciate and agree with everything you said. Our perspective does change when we’re alone and of a certain age. That’s just the course of events, but like you, I’m good with it. It’s a mutual admiration society, Donna, because I want you in my life boat as well. I’ll save you a seat! xoxox, Brenda

  • Beckye April 4, 2020 at 11:31 am

    These times definitely help bring our eyes into focus on the most important things. Lovely that you have those things of family and security there as a comfort! I, too, am shocked that people are not taking this more seriously and considering others. I think they are still thinking it’s like getting the flu and only serious for the elderly. Still to have had a birthday party and all the parents stayed! Oh my word! You’d have to be belligerently ignorant to do something like that. I do have hope with some of the studies on meds being used that we can have some help battling this virus so our healthcare system isn’t totally overwhelmed and many die needlessly. I have friends and acquaintances going through cancer treatment now. Knowing how petrifying that can be without covid-19, I can’t imagine what they are thinking and feeling. Also those having babies whose husbands are not allowed in the hospital. Grateful God is bigger than all of this, and is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. He is our Protector and all of our days were written in His book before there was even one of them. He doesn’t have to change anything in there because of this virus! Praying He uses all of this to help people refocus to see what really is important and true. Praying you stay safe in this storm under the shadow of His wing, healthy and secure in Him.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Hi Beckye, I love your comments. So eloquent and true. I hope we all refocus our priorities after this is over. Last night I learned a friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and like you… I can’t imagine what this will be like for her. Her initial appointment has been online!! Yikes! I know at some point that will change, but she is terrified, and I can’t blame her. Be well. Be safe and stay under His Wing as well my friend. Love, Brenda

  • patricia a gale April 4, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Once upon a time I was very resentful of the European idea/spoken opinion of ‘self-centered, arrogant Americans”. However, do I ever see the European perspective exposed in all it’s ugly aspects during this pandemic.
    It is unbelievable to me what people are doing or perhaps more appropriately NOT doing even tho thousands are being sickened and thousands are dying EVERY day!
    I would add not only totally self centered and arrogant but STUPID and IGNORANT, fully displayed in such selfish. self serving actions.
    Unfortunately, America being a country of Laws and Rules and individual rights given by the Constitution we can not hold a gun to their head (as other countries do). Too Bad…

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      Patricia… I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry at your comment, but your observations are right on. I’ve got more firsthand observations of stupid and arrogant people, but I think I will keep them to myself although they’re struggling to come out of my mouth. Stay safe!! Take care! You are valued and appreciated! xoxox, Brenda

  • Janelle April 4, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, bravo Donna! And I agree with Barbara about the person in the Whitehouse. He has undeniably put this country behind the eight ball. It is troubling to me how intelligent and educated people can support this administration. I continue to wonder every day how people are going about their day without any regard of the seriousness of this deadly virus.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Janelle, Somehow we will make it through to the other side of this life changing crisis. We always do and hopefully wiser and more compassionate for everyone in the world. Loved your comment! Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  • LA CONTESSA April 4, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    The ITALIAN LAUGHED and said ,”HE told the PEOPLE that they should wear masks when they GO outside BUT HE WILL NOT BE WEARING ONE!”
    SELF CENTERED MAN and maybe NOW someone will find out his GRADES in college since HE DIDNOT ALLOW THOSE TO BE EXPOSED!MAY find out he has NO BRAIN!HIS WHOLE BEHAVIOR IS SHOCKING, JUST SHOCKING!!!!!!!!
    JUST to watch his mannerisms and his GREAT USE OF VOCABULARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HA its about a third GRADE LEVEL.
    PS. YES, I’m from that CRAZY CALIFORNIA STATE where we have ONLY LOST 200 and some People to this VIRUS Because OUR STATE REACTED BEFORE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!NONE of these people should have DIED!

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      Elizabeth! LOL! I understand and I hope you feel better! I’ve had a longstanding policy that I won’t talk politics, but you are free to say whatever you’d like. I decided that after one of my favorite, longtime readers unsubscribed because she misinterpreted a post I wrote. It left me broken hearted, so no more. I will say Texas is like every other state politically. We’re a mixed bag. It’s hard to know what to do with our emotions. In these times of Corona, we are being pushed to our limit. Loving the Italians homemade bread you posted on IG. My love to both of you, Banksy and Winston! xoxox, Brenda

  • Joanna April 4, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    These are scary times! So many people have died/will die from this terrible virus. Everyone must do their part in Flattening the Curve by staying home and only venturing out for necessities, for fresh air and exercise, or to work in their gardens. Wash your hands well & often. And please, cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Physical distancing is of utmost importance.

    Many young people believe they will not be affected by the coronavirus. Wrong! They continue to socially interact. They might not be visibly sick but are carriers of the virus. Some will even die, needlessly.

    I’m Canadian and so hesitate to voice my opinion on the handling of the virus in the US but having read some of the above comments, I feel it is safe. The US now tops any other country in the number of cases of Covid19. This is due to the mishandling and dismissing of the severity of the situation, from the Top (Trump). It is good to see some Governors taking the stance of My state, My rules. Stay home!

    Stay home, Stay safe, Stay healthy!

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Joanna, I just spoke to a 20-something friend on the phone who’s just recently realized the rules apply to her. She was almost apologetic that three weeks ago she went to Mexico City with some friends from Spain. She’s the only one of her group who hasn’t tested positive for Covid. She said she just didn’t take it seriously until her friends were hospitalized. Sad it has to come to this before she understood, but she’s onboard now. Stay home! Yes m’am! Stay home and stay well. Let’s continue to be vigilant. Thanks so much for weighing in on this conversation. I appreciate you! xoxox, Brenda

  • TJ April 4, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Brenda from Brisbane Qld where we are in stage one of lockdown and social distancing. This means we can only go out for necessities. Stage 2 is due to be announced soon and that will mean police will be stopping you on the street unless you have a pass to be out. We are all hoping it doesn’t come to that. Police already have the power to disperse groups and move individuals on, enforcing it with on the spot fines, which they are doing. These policies are showing signs of ‘flattening the curve’ here. The human race will have no chance of surviving long term if America just allows the country to fall while we wait for vaccines and antidotes. It will find it’s way to our countries, the ones who have worked and spent their entire economic future in protecting their population and economic viability.
    Suddenly I see there is a bigger geo political schema at play here. This will change the way the world views other countries and their place in world politics forever. America could be seen as a the equivalent of a leper colony. Your governments need to act as one and act fast. I watch the news and shake my head as I see queues of Americans waiting to buy guns and ammunition. We currently have a total ban on the sale of firearms in the State of Victoria. I fear for all of you, but I also fear for what your country’s actions mean for the rest of the human race. America has always prided herself on going her own way – the right to freedom it seems, may become her undoing.
    TJ Xxxxx

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm

      Hi TJ!! So happy to see you again!! Americans know how to pull together in a crisis. We always have and this will be no different. There will always be the few who make their own rules, especially the extremists… in every area! Be well my friend. xoxox, Brenda

  • Sheila-Merle Johnson April 4, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Hi, Brenda, from Novato, CA. My ‘some people are dangerous idiots’ story is that I posted on nextdoor.com that if someone was going to a market and could bring me a couple of things, I would appreciate it. A woman answered and came the next day with the items. I opened the door and she was 2 feet away from me and she was older than I (I am 75). She walked right in, came close to me and handed me the bag. I grabbed it stepped way back. She had not a clue! However, I have had a good time being home, happy that so many generous people are doing online groups and classes. I’ve been able to participate with people around the world in psychological and spiritual groups, and continue to do Pilates, improv, Italian and more. I can at least offer positive energy to those I come in contact with online. Thank you for sharing your life.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      Hello Sheila!! Great to see you again, and I’m glad to know you’re weathering Covid with such joy and positivity. A girlfriend has started taking beginners Spanish classes on Zoom and is having a wonderful time meeting new people. One door closes… Another door opens! Interesting about the woman who walked into your house. Friends in Florida FedExed me two bottles of fabulous wine and when the driver knocked on my door and held out the clipboard for me to sign, I said, “I’m not signing, and please leave the box on the porch.” He was so grateful!! The delivery people and those in the grocery stores are up their with our first responders. So brave! Stay well, sweet lady! xoxox, Brenda

  • Rena April 5, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I couldn’t agree more! We’ve been self quarantining for weeks while everyone else around us goes around like this isn’t really happening. For 5 years my husband and I have planned a 6 week trip to Alaska. We’re supposed to leave on May 28th and every day that seems less likely to happen. Had we done this earlier thing would probably be better by now, but when you have poor leadership this is what happens. It’s heartbreaking to see so many ill and so many who are helping have to work like they are. I hope our country survives intact.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Rena, I’m sorry to hear your trip to Alaska may not happen, but I know you’re glad you’re home, doing all the right things. America has weathered terrible diseases, another pandemic, wars, violent protests and political discourse, and we will get through this as well. Like our ancestors, we’re made of tough stuff. So happy to hear from you! Be well, friend! xoxox, Brenda

  • Linda L Floyd April 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    WOW another winning commentary on your part. You are so right…where has common sense and respect gone. The entitled, those who don’t think it means “Them”! I’m upset with some of my relatives and my very close friends who think it’s overblown and the the administration is doing a “great” job.
    I’m so outraged at the states that haven’t even considered a “Shelter in Place” I hope my state, California, implements a no travel into, or fly into our state from the states that don’t have a “Shelter in Place” mandate! How dare these people think they can jeopardize the lives of my loved ones!
    Our lives and how we live them may be forever altered by this pandemic. Some of it good. Do you think you will ever stop washing your hands knowing it is a first line defense, not just for COVID-19, but for all diseases? Working from home will be a way of life for many.
    I have had a real sense of caring and understanding for our ancestors and what they went through. I hope the small part our family is doing will be remembered by my grandchildren and theirs!
    God Bless the 1st responders, doctors and nurses on the front lines… and our military!
    Stay safe everyone!
    Linda Floyd

    • 1010ParkPlace April 9, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      I’m glad to see you, again, Linda! Thanks for weighing in on our conversation. Isn’t it interesting that our list of first responders has broadened to include grocery store and pharmacy workers and delivery people? They are the cogs in the wheels that keep America running while the rest of us are staying home, and I give thanks and say “Bravo” to all of them! It seems as though every generation has a hardship to endure. This is one I hope our young people will come to appreciate and remember as well. Blessings to you and stay safe, friend! xoxox, Brenda

  • Jennifer Connolly April 16, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Very poignant Brenda. What’s important now is so very different. Stay well my friend. Xx

    • 1010ParkPlace April 23, 2020 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Jennifer, Just found this. Thanks so much for your comment. Stay well in quarantine! xoxox, Brenda

  • Doreen McGettigan April 17, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    It is mind blowing, how stupid and irresponsible people can be. Me and mine are following the rules. My teenage grandson has a friend that was bugging him to come out. That kids mother and grandmother are emergency nurses. Ugh. Guess what? That entire family is sick now, 2 members critically ill.

    • 1010ParkPlace April 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      Doreen, So happy to hear from you! Most of my friends here are like me, sheltering in place and being very careful about everything, but a few of them are not. One thinks I’m being too careful. She wanted to pick me up and take me to a house she’s having remodeled. Workmen are in and out of her house every day and her husband’s job deals with sick people everyday. I don’t think she really understands that for a number of reasons I’m in a high risk group and I will follow the rules as long as needed. Am I happy about that? No, but neither am I depressed about it. They’re the cards that have been dealt me, and I’m playing to win. Your grandson… nurses… WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? I certainly don’t want them at my bedside. Stay well sweet friend. Love, Brenda

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