Mirror, Mirror on the Bald Head Island Wall



Mirror, mirror at the The Marsh Harbour Inn on Bald Head Island.

This bathroom has WAY better light than the bathrooms in my old house. I see in gory detail how much I’ve aged. The wrinkles. The dark circles. The age spots. Sometimes, I am astounded.

And so in a place I love the most, I gaze at myself in my worst light, at least on the outside.

Is it best to note the effects of aging? Breathe it in? Get it?

Or is it better to ignore, to not care, to float through these later years without any concern over wrinkles?

I meet women who don’t seem to give a flip. I read of others who go to great lengths (and pain and money) to try to maintain their youth.

Check out this article o“Beauty for Life: 6 Steps to Accepting Agingfrom the Oprah website and this article from WebMD on “The Art of Aging Gracefully.” 

And here’s a fascinating piece in Psychology Today by Jere Daniel, who writes: “Fear of aging is the single most powerful agent creating exactly what we fear.” In other words, we’re making ourselves even older by worrying about aging. Yikes! We’re sunk!

Since I can’t figure out how to handle looking old, I use the Bald Head mirror to help me slap on sunscreen and a bit of makeup, and I head out to soak up the beauty of the island.

What about you? Do you have aging beauty figured out yet?

View from Inn

Marsh Harbour Inn

The Potty Trip of Potty Trips: Part Two


Carol Baldwin’s trip to the West and back continues. Thank you, Carol!


Above,Worden’s Deli, Missoula, Montana.

Below, a sign announcing the restrooms at the Crab Pot in Bellvue, Washington.

The Crab Pot

At the Collective on Tap in Woodinville, Washington.

Jake’s Grill in Portland, Oregon.

Bitter Creek Ale House in Boise, Idaho. The ladies room.


And for the gentlemen.


From the Cherry Berry Self-serve Yogurt Bar in Farmington, Utah.

The Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff, Arizona. A picture near the ladies room.


A hat over the door.


And the door!

Rudy’s Barbecue Restaurant in Lubbock, Texas. The girls.


And the guys.


The Potty Trip of Potty Trips comes to an end.  The ladies room door of the Cane Garden Restaurant at The Villages in Central Florida.

Cane Garden Restaurant

Carol writes, “Creighton’s goal was to get to Seattle. The picture below was taken at a relative’s home just outside Seattle and proved to be the turning point for our trip. Fortunately, there were still more ladies room pictures to find on the trip back home! If you’re interested, I blogged about other aspects of this trip here–proving I didn’t just take pictures of potties along the way.”

Carol and Creighton

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 www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com. 


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 www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com
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.