The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Forty-nine

Becky found this appropriate and festive door above at Penn Skate, a skating rink in State College, Pennsylvania.

And this one at Nana Taco in Durham, North Carolina.

Here’s the bathroom sign at the Virginia Discovery Museum on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. We visit there with grandson Maze.

Maze especially loves the pretend store at the museum.

I found this sign at Bar Louie in Durham, North Carolina.

I like the elegance of the bar’ s actual ladies room door.

I hit it big at the Mebane Steakhouse in Mebane, North Carolina. Here’s the ladies room sign.

And inside I found the coolest sink ever. A strip of light at the back of the sink changes color.


This is the unisex door at Gocciolina in Durham. Sadly, I can’t remember who sent this to me.

James send these funky doors from the Dinghy Dock restaurant in Culebra, Puerto Rico.


My friend Alicia’s friend sent these. Talk about a clever use of circles!

And it’s a wrap.

Number Fifty in our series coming up soon! Hard to believe…


No More Letters: How Sad Are We?

For 34 years, our mail was delivered on our back porch. Talk about convenient. Small town living at its best. The garden club ladies filled the basket with greenery in December for the HIllsborough Candlelight Tour. A fitting farewell to a faithful mailbox.

At the new house, we have to walk half a block to get our mail. More exercise for us, but it certainly feels odd not to open the door and chance upon a letter or two.

Wait a minute. A letter or two? Who gets letters anymore?

I receive lovely thank you notes, but I haven’t gotten a real letter in years. What about you?

I’m constantly communicating with people in writing. I just don’t have to use my big, fat, sloppy handwriting anymore. In fact, I write so little using a pen that composing a longer note now feels physically laborious.

Sure, I think it’s sad we don’t get letters anymore. In fact, I hadn’t realized it completely until I wrote this post. But a really fun email can brighten my day.

What about you? Are you in mourning over the loss of letters in your mailbox?



Downsizing: The Final Goodbye

One of the big bad snags in life is that things don’t always go as we expect them to go.

Wait a minute. Is that really a problem?

Cases in Point: The death of my mother and my diagnosis with cancer. You’d think they would be two of the very worst things that can happen to a girl. And they were. But also they weren’t. Happy shocks.

And so for two years, as we slowly moved, I dreaded my last time in our old house.

Cliff and I said goodbye to the house together, in the middle of final cleanup before the buyers took over. But the next day, I went back alone. This was it. My last chance.

And so as tears streamed down my face, I went, as I have done many times in the last few months, from room to room. But after a few rooms, the tears stopped, and I whipped out my phone.

I know, I know, phone addict here. But I began to take pictures. I’ve taken hundreds of the house, but during that last visit, I took some shots and some angles I’ve never taken before. A detailing (above) of the curlicue carved into the stairs.

Gazing right into the original bathtub.

The view down the front walk from Kath’s room.

Looking out from a bedroom we never used. Note the part of the shed they say once housed a horse named Corbit.

The mirror in Laura’s room, where she stood to check outfit after outfit, including a beaded red prom dress I still feel guilty about giving into. I used that mirror too. Best mirror in the house!

I took photos of all eight mantels.

I not only snapped a picture of the kitchen drain, but I picked out every last piece of gunk. Drain dignity!

I took this photo of the doorbell my girls rang and rang when they got home from school in the afternoons. Then I rang it myself one last time.

I touched and then photographed all five red doors on our back porch. Boy did people get confused about where to go when they came to visit.

Here’s the shed, living proof that Clifford Younger really does know how to clean one out.

I walked the yard and then sat in the old well house. I took in one of my favorite views of the house. It looks smaller here and more cozy.

Then it was time.

As I pulled my car keys from my pocket, an enormous flock of black birds flew high across the back hedge. In a long formation, they went over me and then over the house.

I’m not really sure what kind of birds they were. Geese maybe, although they made no noise. But for me, they were a magnificent salute. Joy for the years. Gratitude for the days. And relief that a moment I thought would be so sad, felt wonderfully mystical


The Ladies Room FLOOR Art Series!

A few months ago, I stumbled on three interesting ladies room floors, and so the idea was born.

First, note the  floor of the ladies room at the Carolina Cafe above. The touches of Carolina blue honor the UNC Tarheels.

Below, the floor at Liberty Oak Restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina.

I found this one in December in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was helping Laura, Matt, and Emerson with their move from Brooklyn.

And right when I began thinking about ladies room floors, a friend posted this one. It’s from the Abandoned World Facebook page. Yikes! That would make one scary time in the potty.

I’m really not starting a series on bathroom floors. I like the idea, but just don’t think I can find enough of them.

But I will continue this quest and post a few from time to time. If you find a floor you think is fun, do send it my way. Thanks!



Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication-A Giveaway

To continue on with the ideas in last week’s post, I am pleased to tell you about Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer.

I loved this book, really loved it.

Here’s what the publisher writes:

Say What You Mean is a step-by-step guide for meaningful conversations that bring people together. In this groundbreaking synthesis of mindfulness, somatics, and Nonviolent Communication, Sofer offers simple yet powerful practices for healthier, more effective conversation. The practices are simple yet deep, helping people develop healthy, effective, and satisfying ways of communicating in all walks of life.

The techniques in Say What You Mean will help you to:

  • Feel confident during conversation
  • Stay focused on what really matters in an interaction
  • Listen for the authentic concerns behind what others say
  • Reduce anxiety before and during difficult conversations
  • Find nourishment in day-to-day interactions

Me again: I highlighted passage after passage as I read. But these takeaways are the most important to me:

  • You won’t fix all your communication troubles at once. Just like the fitness program that finally kicks in, it may take many attempts until you figure out how to be a mindful communicator.
  • Learn to work out conflict in a relationship by beginning with the smaller, simpler issues. Once your skills are honed, you can move on to the dicier topics.
  • As soon as you see a downward trend in the conversation, calmly pause it with the sincere promise that you will resume again when ready. If you’re NOT willing to discuss something again, don’t make a false promise.
  • Keep difficult conversations to one topic and one topic only.
  • Use as few words as you can to say clearly and calmly what you mean.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of Say What you Mean, please enter a comment by March 1. U.S. only. Thanks!

Oren Jay Sofer is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication. He leads retreats and workshops on mindful communication at meditation centers and educational settings around the United States.
A graduate of the IMS-Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program, he holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University, teaches in the Insight Meditation community, and is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication. Oren creates mindfulness training programs for a number of organizations, including Mindful Schools, Kaiser Permanente, and 10% Happier. He lives in Richmond, California.

Fighting: Yes or No?

I’ve been painting up a storm in 2019. Above is my rendition of Bird Arguing with the Moon. I have no clue what they are arguing about.  Any ideas?

And as I paint, I have lots of time to think. Sometimes I get immersed in the world of my painting, but other times, I ponder different things.

I read lots of self-help. A few years ago, I wrote a post about the glory of the fight. A big old blow out can bring up issues and hostilities that need solving.

But lately I’ve been reading that fighting is NOT how to solve these things. Once tempers rise, it’s best to stop or pause the fight. Wow. Cliff will tell you  that’s not my style. Or didn’t used to be.

But I am slowly understanding that stopping a fight gives each person time to think and to choose more carefully what they want to say. Like toothpaste from a tube, you can’t take those words spoken in fury back again.  Ever.

Besides,  learning to stop or pause the fight, to resist the temptation to say one more word, builds character and strength. It’s like walking away from the bowl of m&m’s. (Another skill I need to focus on.)

I don’t know if Bird is going to call a cease fire to his argument with the moon. I hope they can pause for now and return to resolve their differences peacefully another night.

What about you?

Can you, should you, do you, stop fighting? Do you find this gets easier as you age?

BirdPS:  I post my art on Facebook and have been encouraged and touched by the response of my FB friends. If you’d like to see more of my art, send me a friend request at Barbara Younger.

PPS: I’ve since repaired the pencil lines you see above. I somehow forgot about them and went ahead and varnished the painting, so I couldn’t erase them. I asked my FB friends if the lines needed to go, and the resounding reply was, “Yes.”


The Breast Archives: The Film Is out!

Could you do it? Bare your breasts for the camera and talk about them? Not sure I could, especially now that the droop is settling in.

I’m delighted to announce that the groundbreaking film, The Breast Archives, has been released. And these women could and did. Here’s the official description of the film:

Real women reveal their breasts and uncover personal truths in this gently provocative documentary exploring embodiment, womanhood, and the power of being seen.

The Breast Archives uncovers nine women’s personal stories of empowerment. Baring their breasts and their hearts, the women share the unique journeys they’ve made with their bodies, from their formative years of hiding, shame, and disconnection to adulthood and the discovery of what it means to be a powerful woman. As the women slowly reconnect with their body-based stories they find a reservoir of strength and wisdom that lies within their breasts.

Read this post on Friend for the Ride to learn lots more about the film, its purpose, its participants, and its insightful and talented director, Meagan Murphy.

And here’s an article in the New York Post.

These are two options for viewing the film:

ITunes Link

The Breast Archives Official Trailer (November 2018) from The Breast Archives on Vimeo.