The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Twenty-six



More doors! Thank you, one and all!

From Candace, unisex door above at Z Burger in Washington, DC.

Below, from Susan E, who found this lovely door at the Palo Verde National Park in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.


From Beth’s recent trip to Prague, this pretty golden girl.

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Beth found this in Amsterdam.

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From Gail, the Rodeo Shop in Eaton, Ohio.


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From the nicest McDonalds I’ve ever visited, near Clinton, NC. Love the simple silver W.


I snapped this door at Provisions on the Cape Fear River in Southport, North Carolina.


and on this one at the Yacht Basin Eatery.



This is Fishy Fishy, another favorite restaurant in Southport.


I found this door  the KM 38 BaJa Grill in Wilmington, North Carolina. Cliff used to get annoyed if the second we entered a restaurant, I headed to the ladies room. I think he’s resigned to it now. I used to pretend I NEEDED to find the ladies room. “Oh, I had too much tea,” I’d say or some such story. Finally, I just spoke the truth: “I can’t relax until I know if they’ve got a good door or not.”


Judi  found this great door at Joe’s Crab Shack in San Francisco.13138789_10207676829052505_6455821965049233120_n

And that sums up another edition of our Ladies Room Door Series!

Keep up your summer searches. Thanks one and all.

Downsizing (and Upsizing): Painting Happy!




Cliff and I will move into our new house within the next six months. As you can read in these posts, I’ve been downsizing for a while now. But in the midst of downsizing, we’re upsizing too!

We bought the painting above through Mike’s Art Truck, a traveling art gallery created by Karen and Greg Mack to promote the work of folk artists.  Read their fascinating story here. I love the mission!

Mike’s Art Truck brought the work of Bob Hart to the Hillsborough Visitor’s Center in late April. We loved meeting Bob, whose credo is to “paint happy.” Lonesome Balloons was our favorite painting, so we bought it for our new house. 

A few weeks later, Bob wrote to thank us. I couldn’t resist asking him to put together a few words for Friend for the Ride. I knew I wanted to post his wonderful painting.

Bob’s credo touches me since I strive to be an upbeat writer. I don’t sugarcoat life, and I suspect Bob doesn’t either. I just give life the most positive slant I can. But back to Bob. Here’s what he wrote for Friend for the Ride:

I paint Happy.  I’m happy when I paint.

The year after I retired, I entered one of my paintings in a local contest called “Art in the Air.”  Winners would have their paintings put up on billboards around town for a year. It was the first time I submitted any of my work, anywhere.  I didn’t expect to win.  My painting, “Young Girls Pick Them Every One,” was one of six selected. When I was called and told I was one of the winners, I was like a kid at Christmas.

Winners were treated to a nice reception and asked to speak about their painting. Four of the six artists talked about the angst they experience when they paint, and I know throughout history this is how many artists feel when they paint.

When it was my turn to speak, I told the group that I paint happy and that I am happy when I paint… angst, no anxiety, no despair,  just smiles and laughter.

Later that year, I attended my niece’s wedding in Columbia, South Carolina. Everyone was happy, and I took a lot of pictures, including many of the wedding party.  Emma, my niece, and her bridesmaids were beautiful, giddy, and happy. Their colors and their flowers and their smiles made for happy pictures, so I started painting pictures of make-believe wedding parties.

This painting, “Lonesome Balloons,” and others like it, was my next series of paintings, combining elements of  “Young Girls Pick Them Everyone” and the wedding parties. I started adding balloons to give some movement to my work.

I hope my paintings make you smile and laugh…..and make you happy.


Take a look at Bob’s website.


Thank you, Bob! 

Marriage: Fighting and Mending after All These Years


Walter and Antonia

A post by writer Doreen Frick

My neighbor, no young man, ran out of his house after his wife. His wife was in their car, backing it out into the road, he chasing after her, crying. I don’t think either of them saw me; they were in their own private drama, and now I’d become part of it. I seriously did not know old people had arguments that led to stuff like this. As she drove off, I watched him trudge back to the house, head down, and heart on his sleeve.

This was none of my business. I only knew these folks because he walked his dog and talked to us when we passed on the sidewalk walking ours, or when we chatted small-talk as the two of them sat on their porch on a summer afternoon. Their age I would guess was late seventies. I never asked what he did for a living. I think they had a son. She wore a lot of makeup and seemed the boss. That was my opinion but judging by the tiff I watched from my driveway, it was pretty obvious she wore the pants. He looked like a broken man and my heart ached for him.

I wasn’t about to go over and see what I could do for the poor guy, and I assume she made her way home and there was hell to pay, but that’s conjecture. Looking back on it these thirty-something years later, maybe she had a legitimate beef and maybe they worked on it, but the way their private matters played out in public has left a searing image in my mind.

Old people fight. Old women drive off in a huff. Old men sometimes run after them in tears. I’d never considered such a thing before.

Thinking back on this couple I seem to remember they had a son, and he died when he was a grown man. I know the old man took a liking to our youngest boy and nicknamed him Jo-Jo. I think he was the only one who called Joey that after age five and by age ten, Joey preferred being called Joe even though his given name was Joel. But whenever our dog-walking neighbor saw Joey and friends outside playing football, his old eyes would light up, and he’d call out a grand hello to his buddy, Jo-Jo.

My son Joe grew up and so did his parents, and eventually we all moved away one by one to college and other adventures on the far corners of the country, leaving our neighbors with the dog and the porch they used to sit on far behind. Joey got married, and so did his sisters and brother. Once in a while we all congregated back in the general vicinity of the old homestead, but it never occurred to any of us, I guess, to ask about the old neighbors we used to see when we played outside or walked our dogs.

I could google them, but they’re long gone I’m sure. I could ask their next-door neighbor what became of them; she kept in contact with the whole Avenue no doubt and could fill me in, but then I’d have to tell her why I’m asking, and in perfect honesty, I’m not sure why I would be.

Maybe I want to know if they were happy. Was old age kind to them? Was that little incident in the driveway an anomaly? Was she given to outbursts? What did he do for a living?

But the questions aren’t as important as the memory they gave me: this picture of older people struggling just like young marrieds do, like a movie in my mind that keeps playing that one scene and then stops there with the sad man walking back to the house and the mad woman racing off to God knows where.

Somewhere in that scene I see myself. And sometimes when emotions get the better of me; it’s not the prettiest of pictures. When the smoke clears and my logic returns, there’s a very real part of me that’s thankful for that scene that played out on my watch one summer afternoon.

I don’t know how their story ended, but perhaps that’s just part of the cycle. We live together, breathe the same air, come to a crossroads, let it out in the open, learn to listen after it’s all been said ten times over, agree to disagree.

And sometimes the beauty of this cycle is the aftermath, the time put in to the marriage weaves its magic like the clicking of Dorothy’s heels in the land of Oz, and we truly believe There’s No Place Like Home (with him).


Mark and Doreen

Photos: Doreen didn’t have a photo of the old couple she watched argue that day, so she sent two lovely family wedding photos. At the top are husband Wes’s grandparents, Walter and Antonia, married in Nebraska in 1916. The photo directly above shows Doreen and Wes on their wedding day in Pennsylvania in 1972.

Doreen Frick is a 61-year-old writer from Philadelphia, who has lived in Washington State, New Mexico, and finally, half-settled in Ord, Nebraska, where her husband’s people homesteaded over one hundred years ago. She first began to write when she journaled in a tablet during her days raising four children, some dairy cows, and a horse, chickens, and the welcome stray cats that found their way to her place.
Doreen Frick

Grandma Update: Bunny and More Bunnies



That’s me with my beloved bunny oh so many years ago. Bunny, in my mom’s words, “disintegrated.” A sad ending. Not sure what he was stuffed with, but he just kind of fell apart and we ended up not saving him. To honor Bunny, Mom painted us together in the watercolor below.


And here is my grandson Maze this spring on Bald Head Island, holding a bunny I bought him. I had named the bunny “Hubert,” but Maze thought I said “Q-bert,” so that became bunny’s name. I like it!


Although he is deep into trains and trucks and most recently, the Star Wars characters, Maze still loves his toy animals. (I’ve always hated the term “stuffed animals.”) I hope he never stops loving them. We have Cliff’s childhood rabbits here, so hopefully Maze will be loyal to Q-bert for a long time.


Nothing thrills me more than playing with Maze, but in October, I’ll have someone else to play with. Daughter Laura is expecting her first child in October.


Check out the icing color on their sex reveal cake! I’m hoping this baby girl likes rabbits too. To push the idea along, the very first dress I bought her has a rabbit peeking among the tulips.


And back to my bunny. He’s been gone for years, but our yard is graced each summer but at least one real bunny. Maybe, just maybe, that’s my bunny, now oh so real.

What about you? Any bunny memories or stories?