Photograph by Jennifer Denton
The late fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy said, “Life has different stages. You must realize that in life what you want more and more is simplicity: a simple room, a perfect bed, one nice table, a few objects that you really like, and a good book.
Givenchy’s comment has me thinking about not just what happens when we downsize after our children leave home, but when we’re forced to downsize even further if we move into an assisted living or memory care facility.
In 2006, while at Disney World with her four children, including five-year-old twins, Lee Woodruff got a phone call no spouse wants to receive. Her husband, Bob Woodruff, journalist, and co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight, had been critically injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Shrapnel to the brain. In their 2007, #1 New York Times Bestseller, In An Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing, Lee and Bob write with raw honesty about his injuries and the healing and recovery process for all of them.
This week I interviewed Lee. Their story is a powerful reminder that families can heal and thrive after life-altering moments.
Who else, but your dog, watches you with utter love and devotion while you floss your teeth? Even when I was in the “pair bonding phase” with the two most important men in my life, those first couple of years when we couldn’t take our hands off of one another, other than showering together, I drew the line at watching my activities in the bathroom. For the last two months, Annie’s been confined to her condominium as she recuperates from ACL surgery to repair a torn muscle in her knee. Day after day, she’s watched me do everything.
She’s spent so much time watching me, I’m convinced if she had opposable thumbs, she could blow-dry her own hair.
This is the time of year we look forward to being with friends and family, but in this second year of Covid, many of our reunions have yet to materialize. It’s also the time of year some of us feel the longing and loss of loved ones who are no longer with us. On the bright side, because of what we’ve collectively been through, I think we’ve come to know ourselves better, and we’re stronger than we were before this virus.
We’ve separated the things that matter from the ones that shouldn’t have counted in the first place.
6,000 feet above sea level, Mexico. Photograph ©Brenda Coffee
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.
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.
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.
Brenda Coffee and Dr. Susan Love on the set of Girlfriends of a Certain Age
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?
Photographs by Jennifer Denton
This week’s outfit is something I never would have thought about wearing when I was younger. Back then I took my style so seriously: Tailored suits with neutral colored heels for business and on my off-time, I liked black velvet, straight leg jeans, a crisp white shirt with the cuffs folded back, black ballet slippers and no jewelry except for a Movado watch. While it’s still one of my favorite casual looks, for the most part, my style is more playful now.
Are combat boots too casual?
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.