Downsizing: Rusty Rhino



The downsizing continues!

Cliff, an electrical engineer, saved a GIANT box filled with electronic parts and odds and ends from his childhood. He dragged the box to North Carolina when his mom sold her house twenty-five years ago. It’s sat in our storage room even since. So, with great sadness, he realized he probably shouldn’t drag the box to our new house. It was time to say goodbye.

Enter into the story our artist friend, Ann Hobgood, owner of Recycled Folks Art Studio and Gallery. Ann writes:

I’ve been an artist of some kind all my life, but only when I retired in 2007 was I was free to make whatever kind of art I wanted. I created and entered a self-portrait in a show in Chapel Hill – I used paper, coasters, a clock face, maps, springs, toy railroad tracks, Scrabble letters, keys, and other junk from around my house.

People loved it, and I started making more “recycled folks” and began to collect wood and metal for making more art. It became an obsession!

In the last 10 years I have done quite a few juried shows, studio tours, and one-person gallery shows. I now have a brightly painted separate studio – filled to the brim with good stuff – next to my house in Hillsborough, NC.

One of the things I love to do is use items that were important to a person to create unique sculptures for them. I was thrilled when I was given Cliff Younger’s boyhood collection of old electronic parts.

And when I found out he liked rhinos, that’s what I made for him! Here is my creation – Rusty Rhino.

rhino 3

Rusty’s legs are wrapped with telephone receiver coiled wire; his feet are knobs from radios; his tail is electronic wire; his front body is covered with small electronic parts; and his big horn is an electronic clip. The only non-electronic things I used were small bits of rusty metal and seed beads to give his face texture.

rhino 2 (1)

Barbara again:  We just love Rusty, and he is adjusting to life with us. Now it’s time to clean out our jam- packed shed. Ann has agreed to take Cliff’s dad’s golf clubs. Turns out they make good heads for Recycled Folks!

Read more about Ann Hobgood on her website.

Find Ann’s contact information here.

The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Thirty-six


Aren’t we lucky to live in a creative world? I never would have guessed when I started photographing ladies room doors that I’d be up to thirty-six posts!

Thanks to Greta, who snapped this one: the Regeneration Station, a furniture store in Ashville, North Carolina.

And Judy found these at Sitti restaurant in Raleigh. They feature authentic Lebanese food. Judy reports that “sitti” means grandmother in Lebanese.



From Ken, the Skylight Inn Barbecue Joint in Ayden, North Carolina. Ken writes that bathroom doors can be a learning experience. Now we all now the official names for male and female pigs!
From Carol, the Panera  Bread at Lake Sumter Landing at The Villages, Florida.




Also from Carol, Mac’s Speed Shop in Greenville, South Carolina.



And Ferguson’s, a showroom in Greenville. This photo from Ferguson’s is a first for our Ladies Room Door Art Series. It was taken at a place where you can actually BUY toilets.




From Carol, the Olive Garden, outside Columbia, South Carolina.




From Ken, the bathroom door to a museum in Bogota, Panama.


From Cathy, a festive door at EPCOT Theme Park in Orlando, Florida.


And because it brought back memories of my girlhood, a bathroom door from grandson Maze’s school.


I took this one at Bread Winners at the North Park Mall in Dallas, Texas.


And another stylish letter W at Victor Tangos in Dallas.



Here’s Sissy’s in Dallas.


I found this old style brass sign at The Pilot House in Wilmington, North Carolina.


And here’s a fun link on the USA Today site to some of the best hotel bathrooms around the world.

Wouldn’t it be fun to shower in them all?

Sleep, Menopause, and



Insomnia! Another menopausal woe.  Some nights, I’ll say to myself: “What would I pay tonight for a good night’s sleep? “

I’m always glad to read of sleep research, so I was delighted to be contacted by, a sleep science research hub. Do check out their website here. Lots of great resources! 

Here’s a post by Sara Westgreen, a researcher for Tuck:

Sleep and Menopause

Adults need six to nine hours of sleep per night. But how much sleep you actually need depends on a number of factors, including your age, physical activity, mental activity, and health, including conditions such as menopause.

Although healthy sleep habits are important for everyone, women in particular need to focus on healthy sleep. Women are more prone to insomnia than men, and hormonal changes, such as those experienced in menopause, can make sleep difficult and change sleep quality and duration. At 45 years of age and older, women are 1.7 times more likely to have insomnia than men.

How Menopause Affects Sleep

During perimenopause and menopause, women are more likely to experience difficulty with sleep. Women experiencing menopause may suffer from:

  • Trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Hot flashes

  • Night sweats

  • Longer sleep latency (the time it takes to transition from full wakefulness to sleep)

  • Less slow wave sleep (deep sleep)

How Women with Menopause Can Improve Sleep

  • Create a healthy sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable to create a healthy sleeping environment. You may need blackout curtains or a white noise machine to make your room dark and quiet.

  • Stick to a sleep routine. Maintain a regular sleep routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Practice all of the same pre-bedtime steps each night, such as brushing your teeth and then reading a book for 30 minutes before lights out.

  • Avoid habits that are bad for sleep. If you head into menopause with bad sleep habits, menopause will only make things worse. Limit screen time before bed, as screens can influence wakefulness in your brain. Avoid large meals before bed, and don’t consume coffee or alcohol close to bedtime, as they can keep you awake and decrease the quality of your sleep.

  • Sleep cool. Hot flashes and night sweats are likely to occur whether you’re in flannel sheets or sleeping under a fan. However, you can make changes to your sleeping environment, bedding, and sleepwear and sleep a little cooler. Choose a mattress that is breathable and known to sleep cool. Memory foam mattresses may retain body heat and make it difficult to cool down at night, so consider a mattress that sleeps cooler, such as an innerspring. Sheets should be cotton or another breathable fabric, and your sleepwear should be a breathable material as well. Turn on an overhead fan, or keep a desk fan next to your bed at night, and bump down the air conditioning while you’re sleeping to sleep cooler. Check out Tuck’s Mattress Buying Guide.

Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys beer, board games, and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.

Color Us Loving Color


The older I get, the more I crave color. I’ve had a glorious time exploring color in my new art class. Note my first nude, above. And I just finished a painting of these colorful laundry flags. I snapped the photo in Cinque Terre. Here in the U.S, we’d frown upon laundry displayed from historic buildings smack in the center of the town square. Not Italy!

I bought two colorful purses in Florence and leather gloves in pink and orange. (I’ve got to admit, those gloves look a bit garish in my glove drawer. We’ll see how they do in the dead of winter.)

I brought up the subject of color while on the treadmill the other day. Ann and Susan, my gym buddies, concurred. They want color! Later, I pressed Susan to put something in writing for us. Here’s what she wrote. (We’ve recently switched from our old gym to a new one: Planet Fitness. The price is right here, BTW, if you’re looking for a gym.)

Take it away Susan:

I know I hated the new colors at our old gym.  Gray and black?  Ick! How depressing!

Our new gym’s bright purple color may be loud to some, but I think it gives off a certain energy and vibe.  That purple is bold!

I’ve noticed that I feel the need for more bright colors in my life lately.  Perhaps my vision is dimming and I need brighter colors?

Or perhaps we tend toward more boldness, color, and self-expression as we mature?

Maybe we don’t need to ‘dim our lights’ and be plain vanilla as much as we used to when we were younger and felt we had to avoid criticism more.

(What’s that old poem about wearing purple when we get older?)

So I was more than ready to throw off the dull gray & black colors of the old gym and happy to head toward loud purple.  

Me again: I just convinced my friend Nancy to sign up for art class. After she agreed, Nancy said, “I want color!” She painted her porch glider turquoise a few months ago. I love it!

And you should see the trees she’s working on now in art.

What about you? Do you find yourself craving color?

Our Colorful Giveaway Winners: Congrats to Pat, Haralee, and Sandy, who won Marylou Falstreau magnets; Joyce, who won Alan Alda’s Book, If I Understood You Would I Have This Look on My Face?; Beth, who won Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life; and Chantal, who won the Menopod.