Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Potty Trip of Potty Trips! Part One


From writer and blogger Carol Baldwin:

“My husband Creighton’s bucket-list dream was to drive out West and see the Northwestern states. Now that he is semi-retired, we had the time to do that. On the 7,579 mile trip (over 3 weeks) I enjoyed riding a variety of bike trails, admiring new landscapes, eating at local restaurants, and finding unique bathroom doors for Barbara’s blog. In fact, discovering these doors became like a treasure hunt. Where would I find the next one to send back East? But I’m afraid it’s become an obsession now. I can’t go into a new bathroom without bringing my phone….Help!”

Thank you, Carol for your wonderful contributions to our Ladies Room Door Art Series. I jumped every time I received an email, hoping it was another photo from you. Here are Carol’s doors, signs, and a few interior shots, all adding  up to the Potty Trip of Potty Trips!

From the Canon Brew Pub in Columbus, Georgia.

Canon Brew Pub

Colton’s Steakhouse in Springfield, Missouri.

“Sort of plain, ” Carol wrote, “but classic too:” The ladies room at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.

And look at the fun wallpaper inside!


On the exterior at Villa Park alongside the Arkansas River in Wichita.

Villa Park

In Broken Bow, Nebraska: Trotter’s Whoa and Go.

WhoaAnd the actual door.

FullSizeRender (5)

Carol found this cool table in the ladies room at the visitors center at the approach to the Black Hills. A sign on top reads: “Blue Stained Ponderosa Pine. Recovered and Crafted from a Mountain PIne Beetle Infested Tree. Black Hills National Forest.”


Montana Brewing Company in Billings, Montana.

Montana Brewing Company

Yellowstone National Park.


Stay Tuned for Part Two!

Carol Baldwin’s most recent book is Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008). She is writing her first young adult novel, a multi-racial book set in Charlotte, NC in 1950, and has taught writing to teens and adults. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing or reading books to her grandchildren, or working on her golf game. Read her book reviews and writing tips a at
Carol in the West

 Photo: Carol smiles in front of one of the geysers in Yellowstone National Park.

Thirty Lessons for Loving: A Giveaway!


Shortly before my mom died, she revisited the early years of her marriage. Turns out my grandmother wanted my parents to move in with her. “I knew our marriage wouldn’t last if we did,” Mom told me.

Whoa! Mom had never before implied that her marriage of 64 years could have been threatened.

So many times, kids know very little about the inner workings of their parents’ marriage, the real truth. So many times, we think the generation above us is different. Our issues couldn’t have been their issues.

Not true! In 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage (Hudson Street Press, 2015), you’ll learn plenty from older Americans. I wish I’d had this book to read when I was dating, as a bride, a newlywed, and every year from then on. Holy Matrimony, did I learn some stuff!

One revelation is that it’s okay to walk away, politely, from a fight and pick it up later when emotions are calmer.That has never suited my solve everything right now mentality. In fact, on some issues, the “experts” (as the author calls the men and women he interviewed) advise us to give it a year. A whole year.They say many issues resolve themselves.

Not only is 30 Lessons for Loving an insightful and encouraging read for all of us (be we married, evaluating a failed relationship, or searching for a new one), but it makes a fabulous shower, wedding, or anniversary gift.

30 Lessons for Loving jacket

The publisher writes: Karl Pillemer’s 30 Lessons for Living first became a hit and then became a classic. Readers loved the sage advice and great stories from extraordinary older Americans who shared what they wish they had known when they were starting out. Now, Pillemer returns with lessons on one of the most talked- about parts of that book — love, relationships, and marriage.

Based on the most detailed survey of long married people ever conducted, 30 Lessons forLoving shows the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. The author, an internationally renowned gerontologist at Cornell University, offers sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together.

Along the way, the book answers questions like these: How do you know if the person you love is the right one? What are the secrets for improving communication and reducing conflict? What gets you through the major stresses of marriage, such as child-rearing, work, money issues, and in laws? From interviews with 700 elders, 30 Lessons for Loving offers unique wisdom that will enrich anyone’s relationship life, from people searching for the right partner to those working to keep the spark alive after decades together.

Filled with great stories, wise observations, and useful advice, 30 Lessons for Loving is destined to become another classic.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of 30 Lessons for Loving, simply enter a comment by July 10 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Pillemer author photo cr Dede Hatch

Karl Pillemer, PhD, author of 30 Lessons for Loving, is an internationally renowned gerontologist whose research examines how people develop and change throughout their lives. Dr. Pillemer is professor of human development at Cornell University and founder of the Cornell Institute forTranslational Research on Aging. He has authored five books, including 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, and more than a hundred scientific publications, and has spoken widely throughout the world on issues of successful aging, family relationships, and elder care. He lives in upstate New York.

Learn more about Karl Pillemer and the book in this video:

To share your lesson for loving, visit the book’s site here.

Follow the author on Facebook and Twitter. Find links to great articles both places!

The bride and groom at the top of the post graced my mom and dad’s wedding cake in 1946. When my turn came, Mom took a bit of paint and changed the hair color, turning the bride and groom into Cliff and me. My girls, sadly, refused the plaster of Paris couple and opted for a more modern look atop their cakes.

Grandma Update: Peppa Pig!


The Pigs Eat Breakfast

My grandson Maze, who will be three in September, introduced me to Peppa Pig. I’m nuts over Peppa! She’s British, and she’s just the sort of friendly, inquisitive, upbeat pig you’d love to have move in next door. Learn more about Peppa on her official website and in this Wiki article.


Peppa’s family includes a little brother named George, Mommy and Daddy Pig, and Granny and Grandpa Pig. Peppa’s got loads of friends and a splendid teacher, Madame Gazelle. (You can see Madame Gazelle below, arms stretched wide.) Wiki tells me Madame Gazelle once played in a rock group called “The Rocking Gazelles.” That I didn’t know!

But I do know plenty about Peppa and her world, mostly in the creative and fun ways it intersects with Mazen’s world.

At Firehouse

I love watching him play with the figures. I’m allowed to make them move and talk too, but woe to anyone who messes with the figurines once Maze decides they are set.

A few weeks ago, we visited Charlottesville for more playing with Peppa AND a trip to Toys R Us, our first together. Maze got to choose one toy. He picked the Peppa Pig Camper Van, which, BTW, was a chunk cheaper at Toys R Us than Amazon.


Toys R Us

We were as happy as Peppa on holiday until the next morning, when Maze, a cough and cold setting in, couldn’t get the Peppa figures to sit how he wanted them to in the camper van. I jumped up to assist.


That stung.

I was tempted to remind Mazen who paid for the the camper van, but decided to take higher ground. I did remind myself that I’m many times his senior, and therefore know that tempers sometimes flare and loved ones get hurt.

But it still stung, especially since Cliff and I needed to hit the road a few minutes later. I wondered what Peppa’s Granny would say if Peppa treated her that way. I suspect she’d take it calmly as the English seem to do.

I’m learning that I’m not always going to be Grammy the Rescuer or Grammy the Adored. That’s not my job. My job is to love that little boy with all I’ve got, even if he pushes me away with a firm voice.

But I hope Maze lets me play with his Peppa figurines on my next visit. I want to ask Madame Gazelle what it’s like to sing in a rock band.

Madame Gazelle

Outside the Lines: A Marylou Falstreau Giveaway!


Color Outside the LinesA post by artist Marylou Falstreau:

People think of me as a “coloring outside of the lines” kind of girl because of the way I paint.

I’ve led workshops that encourage participants to break rules, push through creative boundaries and question their ideas about perfection. I splatter, scrape, tear off and glue things on. It doesn’t bother me a bit. I love it and feel strangely powerful and juicy at the same time.

On the other hand, if you asked me to drive in L.A. traffic, eat non-vegetarian sushi or go to a high school reunion, I would probably say, “no thank you”.

Over the years, I have drawn invisible lines around the idea of who I am. I have drawn lines in the shape of a girl and stepped in.

Statements like “I am an introvert, sensitive, I enjoy simplicity and a quiet life” have kept me from saying ‘Yes’ to a Lemon Drop Martini and a girl’s trip to Las Vegas. The truth is; fear, lack of confidence and bad habits slipped in to my self- imposed box while I wasn’t looking, and have used up more than their share of oxygen.

So today, I banish the tight little lines that hold and contain me. I will be an adventurer who wears a funny hat and colors that don’t match and I won’t think of myself at all. I won’t even wear make-up. I will take risks. I will say Yes!

Will you join me and break free from the lines that have defined and contained you?

I hope you will say yes…

Giveaway! Marylou is offering a “Color Outside the Lines” print, card, and magnet to a lucky Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by July 1 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Read Marylou’s menopause post on Friend for the Ride.

To learn more about Marylou and her empowering art check out her website.

Mary Lou

The Women and the Hourglass Series: See the first Friend for the Ride post on Marylou’s art and watch her video on the series.