Author Archives: Barbara Younger

About Barbara Younger

Check out my blog about menopause and all things related to women and life: Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster

Rhythms: A Doctor’s Journey to Care for Her Dying Mother–a Novel Giveaway



Dr. Francine Kaufman writes about her novel:

Rhythms is a family drama centered around the death of the protagonist’s elderly, frail mother. It takes place over three days, but toggles back and forth in time to introduce the reader to the characters and their lives.The three days in the present show how all-consuming caring for an elderly parent can be, particularly when that parent resides in your home.

I was motivated by the power of families keeping secrets. I was also moved to write to come to terms with the death of my own mother. I did care for my own mother when she was dying in my home. I tried to reveal the fear, disgust, and rawness of realizing you have become your mother’s mother. I also tried to show how this intermingles with the realization that many of us don’t really know all there is to know about our own mothers. 

Rhythms is the story of the woman raised in a time when the world wanted her to believe she could do anything and everything. Only Rebecca could determine for herself at what sacrifice that had to be done – and cope with the angst of never feeling she could do enough. Perhaps it’s a feminist story about an empowered, effective woman who is a doctor and scientist, but it also shows the emotional ties that a woman needs to thrive as a mother and wife.

Amazon: You can buy Rhythms here.

Giveaway: The publisher is giving us a copy! For a chance, to win, please enter a comment by October 20.Francine-Kaufman

Dr. Francine Kaufman is perhaps best known for her critically-acclaimed nonfiction book Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic That Threatens America – And What We Must Do to Stop It; (Bantam; 2005).  She has a long list of technical writing as well as books and more than 200 peer-reviewed publications.

Downsizing: The Paint-by-number Clown (and a Life-changing Giveaway!)



Things are only things.

Nope. Don’t believe it. Not for an instant.

If things are only things, why do we collect? Why do we spend hours pondering fabric for a sofa? Why do we save baby dresses? Why do we cherish Grandma’s bracelet?

But that said, we only need/have space for so many things. As the daughter of a collecting mom, who loved to bring me presents, and as the mom to grownup daughters, who left lots of stuff behind, I had to figure out how to let go of things I liked, things that brought back lovely memories, and things that have been in the family for several generations. What goes? What stays?

Bring on The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up!  Linsdley Bowen, who owns Carlisle and Linny Vintage Jewelery here in Hillsborough, first told me about this neat (pun somewhat intended) little book. As the title promises, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up changed my life. Seriously

Author Marie Kondo writes, “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

Magical Art of Tidying Up

Some of Kondo’s methods seem over the top. She gives instructions on clothing storage that made my eyes glaze over, and she believes in saving NO paper, including cards or letters.  I’m not planning on giving up Cliff’s love letters or Laura’s last Mother’s Day card, at least not anytime soon.

But I LOVE that Kondo personifies objects because I do too. That’s been part of my troubles all along. I believe at least some of my things have feelings (nutty, I know) and that makes it harder to give them away. But Kondo says if our things are stuffed in the back of a closet, they aren’t happy anymore. Send them on to a new life!

But the real magic of this book is this simple advice: “Take each item in one’s hand and ask, ‘Does this spark joy?”‘

My next downsizing project was a box of things sent by Mom ten years ago. The clown above would be a heart-wrenching decision. I created him with paint-by-number when I was seven. Mom framed him for my grandpa, who kept the clown in his apartment for the rest of his life.

I’m not deep into clown art. Couldn’t he go? Shouldn’t he go?

I studied the clown. My grandpa adored me -that undeserved, no strings attached kind of love- and so he loved my clown. Joy sparked!

The clown stays. In fact, he’s now grinning at me from my kitchen wall, where I promptly tacked him up.

Giveaway: I’ve got an extra copy of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m happy to share. Please enter a comment by October 30 if you’d like to win the book.

Paint by Number: Here’s a fun article and video on the history of paint-by-number kits.  They’re now considered vintage, and some collectors are after them. Who knew?

Grandma Update: Dressing for a Man



“I like your zebras!” a guy called out as I strolled down the sidewalk a few weeks ago. Men don’t usually shout out compliments on my clothes, so this put some spring in my step, especially since I had just purchased my zebra top.

But actually, I don’t dress for men these days. Nope. I dress for one man, a small one, my grandson Mazen.

At age one, Maze was intrigued with chickens. “Buck, buck!” (for “cluck, cluck”) was one of his first words. He knew a chicken when he saw one, and one day spotted two of them on my Friend for the Ride t-shirt ( which features Cliff’s childhood egg cups).


That spurred me on. I’ve added bumblebees, zebras,  lion, and giraffes to my wardrobe. I never knew dressing for a man could be this fun.

And since I have daughters (and because Cliff refuses to let me pick out his clothes), I never knew shopping for a man could be this fun! I look for animals and trucks/cars/trackers in 4 T. The shark shirt below was the hit of the summer.


Speaking of dressing for men, my gut says I’ve mostly dressed for other women over the  years. Women seem to be the ones to notice clothes and compliment them. But I must say, when a man says something pleasant about my outfit, I take extra note. What about you? Do you dress for yourself? Other women?  Men?

Check out this article, which says that few women really dress for men, since to a man, the less clothes on a woman the better. Any men out there? Agree?

The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Fourteen



More doors!

Above, a faux chalk door at La Place, a restaurant not far from my house.

Below, a lovely silhouette in the lobby of The Queechee Inn in Queechee Vermont. We traveled to green and beautiful Vermont in June for the wedding of a family friend.


And this sign at the Burlington Town Center in Vermont gets the prize for prettiest mall bathroom door.


A carved wooden sign at the Queechee Gorge Village, a series of antique and other shops.


The Circle K where we stopped for gas in Ossipee, New Hampshire.


The Ice House in New Castle, New Hampshire.


This gentle giant gazes at you when you sit on the pot at the Ice House.


The very elegant door at Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, New Hampshire.


From my friend Justin, who teaches English in China. This unisex sign hangs outside the art museum in Ningbo.


From reader Candace, who found this sign at a dive bar in Charlestown, South Carolina. Neither she nor her husband can remember the name of the bar. Sounds like they had a pretty good time!

Seafood dive bar Georgetown SC


Candace snapped this a way cool fish made of liquor labels.

dive bar Georgetown SC fish made from liquor bottle labels

And she found this door at Jalapenos in Annapolis, Maryland.

Jalapeno's Annapolis MD

Brand new friend and blog reader Greta poses outside a ladies room in Amsterdam.


From Lilly, a photo snapped at The Strand in Galveston, Texas.


And I found this one at Old Town, San Diego.


As I stood in front of the ladies room at Maggiano’s at Southpoint Mall in Durham, North Carolina, a woman said, “You must being doing something arty.” I explained that I photograph interesting ladies room doors for my blog. “I like this bumpy glass,” I told her.


On the way out she said, “Why don’t you take the back of the door too?” So I did!


What an amazing world! Art abounds, even in bathrooms, if you keep your eyes open for it. May you find today the ladies room door of your dreams (and snap a photo for me). Thanks!

Giveaway Winners: Here’s the latest list:

Sue won Dr. Paul Lam’s Born Strong: From Surviving the Great Famine to Teaching Tai Chi to Millions.

Stephanie won Carol E. Wyer’s Grumpy Old Menopause.

Barbara won Uno, a celebration of games on George Schalter’s post.

Shirley, Beth, Vickie, and Sandy won a trio of Lubrigyn products.