Charlie and the Monkeys



When our dear friend Charlie was diagnosed with a fast-moving brain tumor, a friend and I planned to send a meal to the hospital for his wife and daughters. They spent many hours there, and homemade food gave them a break from hospital fare.

I went into Dollar General to pick up a few candy bars to include and met the above monkeys. Right away, their expressions won me over.

Charlie was dying. Should I send along a whimsical gift? Charlie and his family were just the types to appreciate four monkeys with endearing expressions, but is it okay to be silly when things are so sad?

Something told me to send the monkeys. So I did.


The next day, Charlie’s daughter Cheryl emailed me this photo. Charlie was pulling on tubes. The monkeys gave him something to hold, a good distraction. A few days later, Charlie was moved to hospice. When Cliff and I visited him there, I saw the monkeys again. They swung from the bed.  Charlie was now too sick to hold anything.

But the lesson for me is that it’s okay to give green and yellow and brown monkeys with velcro paws to a seventy-year-old man. And when you’re not sure what choice to make, trust your whimsical side.

Here’s Charlie Morgan, in the yellow shirt, at the beach this summer. We’ll miss you, friend. Thanks for your smart, calm, assuring, and witty presence in our lives for the past thirty years.

Periods! WOW!! The Full Moon Party Ad


Check out this ad from Hello Flo, a subscription service that delivers tampons and other supplies. An interesting idea but definitely not cheap.

My favorite line: “Periods don’t have glitter in them.”

Yuckiest moment: The red marshmallows!

Best reaction: The scream when her dad shows up.

What I like: Of course the First Moon party is over-the-top, but what I like is the openness about periods. Love that the men in this child’s life are allowed to talk about a taboo subject.

My childhoods would have been a lot easier if this were so for me. Periods were never discussed, and I frequently made up excuses as to why I didn’t want to go swimming, sometimes even getting in trouble for my spoil sport attitude.

How sad that I didn’t feel comfortable telling my mom and dad why I didn’t want to go to the pool.

Hooray for changes for the better!


And I should add, that Mom got lots better. I take great joy that she loved my blog and even did the art for this post.


Read more about the ad on Ad Week

Getting Serious at the State Fair: Hands-on Only CPR



Love the state fair! The onion rings, the quilt and cake exhibits, the swings, the freebies.



But I never want to do anything serious there like have my blood pressure taken or the vision tests. Who wants to think about medical stuff when you are stuffing yourself?

But when I walked by the CPR booth and a guy said, “Let me show you the new hands-only CPR,” something told me to say, “Yes.” Above is the model I practiced on.

The new thinking is that all one needs to do is pump, hard, on the victim’s chest, fast, about one hundred pumps a minute.

The guy told me no more blowing into the mouth. They’ve found more people are willing to jump in if they only have to pump on the chest, and in lots of cases, this is all that’s needed. I’m pleased because the new technique is way  less complicated. I’m not good in medical emergencies. This seems like something I could do in a panicked state, or at least I hope so.


To really learn the technique, the American Heart Association wants you to take a CPR class, available in most communities. I’m glad to have gotten a running start though. Maybe this is the state fair that will help me save a life someday!


P.S. I asked about younger kids. The process is more complicated–another reason to take a class.

The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Sixteen



Now this is cool. I’m at 21C, a funky hotel in Durham, North Carolina. When you look into the bathroom, you can see the potty and sink. When you’re inside, you can look out. Freaky when one then thinks of using the potty.


You read a notice on the inside that says:


You click the door and voila! No one can see you! Cliff took the picture. Note the reflection of a woman waiting her turn.


A bit more down home, here’s the door at the Pizza Inn in Durham. Cliff loves the buffet!


The outside door of this unisex bathroom is pretty generic, but here’s the back of that door at the Learning Express in  Durham, North Carolina. Thomas! Now that Mazen knows how to use the potty, I should bring him to see this one.

Thomas Door

From reader Renee, the door of the Red Robin in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Renees Door

From reader Lisa, Charlie Brown and Hello Kitty at the Barbetta Restaurant, 321 W. 46th St., NYC. The characters over the men’s and women’s room surprised Lisa because the restaurant is fancy and formal.



Candace, while on vacation in San Diego, took the door at the Ocean Pacific Grille.


One of my finds after a writer’s conference this summer: The Switzerland Cafe in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.


And the bookstore next door, Books and Beans. This door is one of my all time favorites. Classy and fun.


Every time I go in a restaurant now, I  make a beeline for the ladies room to check out the door.Even if the food is fab, I rate the place down a notch for not having a creative door. But, I suppose if every restaurant had a creative door, the joy of the hunt would lose its intensity.

Keep hunting! Thanks to all of you who sent doors for this post.