Patience: Letting the Paint Dry

I’ve always thought of myself as someone with a good amount of patience. I’d watch Cliff get upset when we hit a stoplight, and I’d think, Why does he care so much?

I’ve waited months for a child to get the hang of potty training. I’ve waited even more months for responses from agents and editors. All the while, I was calm and plugged on with life and its many projects and pleasures and obligations.

But lately? Now that I’m approaching those golden years, not so much.

I’ve noticed it most specifically since I started painting. Acrylics are forgiving, upbeat paints. You can straighten a crooked edge or put two brilliant colors next to each other or add layers to create texture.

But you’ve got to let the paint dry first. And it dries fast.

So why do I continue to mess up a section of a painting by not letting it dry? Is it that hard to turn to another chore or project for a while?

Sometimes, I think it’s my exuberance for the painting. I can’t wait any longer to see how two colors will look together or if I’ve successfully captured the expression on a seagull’s face.

But sometimes, I think it’s my age. I’ve read that women get less patient as the years add on.

Patience has boded me pretty well in life, so I don’t want to lose it now.

I’m getting stricter about letting the paint dry. “No,” I’ll say to myself. “Go do the dishes. Go upload some bathroom doors.”

Time will tell if I am successful.

How about you? Do you find yourself becoming more or less patient as you age? Any tips to share?

Click here for a great Wiki How article link on how to be more patient.

The two paintings in this post were done for an antique toy exhibit that opens April 26 at the Orange Country Historical Museum. Below you’ll see Snuggle Bunny Escapes the Nursery and Watercolor Set Decorates the Sky on a Gray, Gloomy Day.


Dreams: A Post in Which I Share a Realization


I’m finally willing to admit it:


Other people’s dreams, that is.

I’m a big dreamer. Over the years, Cliff has been tolerant and listened to my dreams. I suppose he feels it’s his husbandly duty.

But a few mornings ago, I said in an exuberant voice, “Can I tell you about my dream?”

“Yes,” he answered before taking a sip of coffee. After the sip, he added, “Just don’t make it real long.”

And you know what?

His reply didn’t bother me. I didn’t even think about getting mad or hurt. Not at all. I have finally realized that dreams are usually boring to the listener.

I hate dreams in books. I hate them in plays and movies too, the worst being the visit of the grandmother in Fiddler on the Roof.


And I DO NOT want to be tricked into finding out something was all a dream. The exception of course is the Wizard of Oz. You are not a good steward of the world if you hate The Wizard of Oz.

Every now and then someone will tell me they dreamed of me.

I wait.

Will I be the star of the dream? Will I rescue the world? Sing a magnificent aria? Turn into a runway model?

Nah. I often make an inane comment or float through the dream without any real significance.

So even hearing those dreams can be a disappointment.

Therefore, in my continual project to shape myself up before I die, my new goal is not to bore others with my dreams.

Travel stories. Yes.

Childhood stories. Yes.

Medical stories. Yes.

But I have sworn off sharing my dreams.

What about you? Do you like hearing about other people’s dreams? Do you like dreams in books and movies and plays?

DISCLAIMER: I want to  go on record as saying I love to hear of daydreams or dreams for your life or pipe dreams. To Dream the Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha is one of my favorite songs.

But that’s another post.



Drinking as Life Sails On

Cliff and I returned last week from a Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette. We sprang for a room with a veranda.Talk about heaven on Earth water.

I was delighted when our cabin steward delivered a bottle of champagne. How festive and romantic! One afternoon, we popped the cork and settled into our veranda lounge chairs.

I adore champagne. It’s delicious and celebratory, and I love watching the bubbles dance in the glass. And boy, did this champagne have bubbles. Lots and lot of tiny, adorable bubbles.

I’ve noticed in the last year or so that if I drink champagne, I’m awake in the middle of the night. I can feel the bubbles in my veins shouting (not whispering as bubbles should),”We’re gonna get you now. We’re not as cute as you thought we were.”

But somehow, on that veranda overlooking the blue, blue Caribbean, I forgot. It slipped my vacation mind that champagne and I aren’t the buddies we once were.

I drank one glass. Then another.

In my youth, two glasses wouldn’t have been much champagne.

But no matter how bouncy a cruise makes you feel, I’m not a young duck.

That night, hours later, I woke up with a start at 4 AM, dehydrated and physically agitated. We’d booked our first shore excursion the next day. The alarm was set for seven. Bring on the mental agitation. I never did get back to sleep. Ugh.

In general, I can’t drink as much as I used to. That’s good, in a way, since women aren’t supposed to have more than one drink a day. It sure is frustrating though on special occasions.

What about you champagne lovers out there? Anyone else discovered that your bubbly days are over? Any other types of alcohol you can’t tolerate that you once enjoyed?

Here are several articles on alcohol and aging:

FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOL AND AGING–The National Institute on Aging

ALCOHOL AND THE AGING BRAIN–National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


Turns out, Cliff and I were booked Concierge Class. One of the perks was more bottles of free champagne. I said no to all of them. So sad, but at least it made room for more of the ship’s fabulous bread.



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!