Grandma Update: Bunny and More Bunnies



That’s me with my beloved bunny oh so many years ago. Bunny, in my mom’s words, “disintegrated.” A sad ending. Not sure what he was stuffed with, but he just kind of fell apart and we ended up not saving him. To honor Bunny, Mom painted us together in the watercolor below.


And here is my grandson Maze this spring on Bald Head Island, holding a bunny I bought him. I had named the bunny “Hubert,” but Maze thought I said “Q-bert,” so that became bunny’s name. I like it!


Although he is deep into trains and trucks and most recently, the Star Wars characters, Maze still loves his toy animals. (I’ve always hated the term “stuffed animals.”) I hope he never stops loving them. We have Cliff’s childhood rabbits here, so hopefully Maze will be loyal to Q-bert for a long time.


Nothing thrills me more than playing with Maze, but in October, I’ll have someone else to play with. Daughter Laura is expecting her first child in October.


Check out the icing color on their sex reveal cake! I’m hoping this baby girl likes rabbits too. To push the idea along, the very first dress I bought her has a rabbit peeking among the tulips.


And back to my bunny. He’s been gone for years, but our yard is graced each summer but at least one real bunny. Maybe, just maybe, that’s my bunny, now oh so real.

What about you? Any bunny memories or stories?

The Blankini: A Giveaway


A post by the inventors of a clever new product: The Blankini!


Women with menopause will love the new Blankini, as it’s an easy way to deal with hot flashes at night. It’s better than a one piece blanket because the Blankini is split into two dividable sides that are united at the bottom. You pull it off when you’re hot and pull the blanket back up when you’re cold, without disturbing your partner. Finally, everyone can end the blanket tug-of-war!

The Blankini is incredibly soft, so both of you can remain comfortable while staying at your ideal temperature. In fact, it’s even approved by Marley!



GIVEAWAY: We are teaming up with Barbara to provide one lucky reader a choice of their own fleece Blankini in either king or queen size, in navy, desert tan, or vanilla.  Leave a comment by July 15.  Thanks!

CAMPAIGN: If you aren’t feeling like you want to leave it to chance but would still like to have this revolutionary new blanket, please visit our Kickstarter campaign at  The project will be up there until July 15.  After that, you can purchase our product at



Lessons from My Sister-in-law



Cliff’s sister Pat died in June of heart failure brought on by complications of diabetes. The disease took her eyesight almost twenty years ago. I spoke briefly at her funeral and highlighted the lessons Pat taught me as I watched her handle the tremendous grief of losing her vision. Here they are!

  • The world is still yours. Pat stayed engaged in the larger world even as her own world became smaller. Politics, a local basketball team, a new social trend. She kept up with it all and had plenty to say about the state of things.
  • Laugh. Pat never lost her sense of humor. Never. Through happy times like going to guide dog school to  scary and painful times like hospitalizations, she always had a clever comment or  a joke to crack related to her experiences. Wit prevailed, which put all of us at ease and brought levity to tough days.
  • Love. Pat was always, always, always, interested in us. She never became self-focused or self-absorbed. Her nieces and nephew, my writing, our travels–she wanted to hear the latest news of our lives and listened with enthusiasm.

My love to her daughter Crystal, who as a young woman spent years taking care of her mom. It’s time for Crystal to really fly, and I suspect she’ll take Pat’s lessons with her as she goes.

Photo: Pat posed with daughter Kath on our front porch two days before Kath’s wedding in 2007. Pat’s guide dog Boo was an honored guest at the wedding and almost stole the show from the bride.

Female Friendships: Across Cultures and Years



Photo for Dawla's Post

Dawla was a student in my English composition class six years ago. We’ve happily kept in touch. Recently, I asked her to write about our friendship. I post this not to sing my praises (although I’m honored by her kind words) but to highlight how we, as older women, can touch the lives of women much younger than ourselves. Thanks, Dawla. The stage is yours:

I met Barbara six years ago when I was a student a the community college where she taught English; she’s had a positive impact on me ever since.  I definitely didn’t expect to be approached so warmly. I have also been influenced throughout our encounters  by her writing. It’s rare to find friends in your culture or outside of your culture that accept you and  share your values and motivate you. I’ve found that it’s valuable to have positive relationships when reflecting on life and our purpose.

Barbara has showed me kindness. I am a Yemeni Muslim woman in my twenties, and she accepted me despite our differences. Our differences have never prevented her from reaching out, whether it was with my writing or my aspiring endeavors. I never felt uncomfortable asking, and I trusted her judgment. Not being judged based on what I wear, look like, and believe in encourages me to reciprocate. Gaining perspectives outside of my customs is eyeopening.

Barbara has motivated me to pursue my education and my goals. She’s educated, wise, and helpful. I like seeing that knowledge is something worth pursuing and sharing, that learning can be a lifelong journey. I have encountered cultural, nonreligious beliefs that there’s something wrong with women pursuing their education and providing for themselves and their family. Therefore, it’s empowering to be raised in a knowledge based society and to have the opportunities and insights to pursue my education.

Barbara is bold and joyful. I noted this through her writing online, teaching, or pursuing new things. She writes books, and writes about womanhood and life’s triumphs and struggles with enthusiasm and hope. I love seeing that there’s nothing wrong with being confident. I have been known to be a bit timid. After I started adapting my Islamic attire, I learned in my own way about confidence and strength. It took a while to realize the benefits of being myself.

I don’t have complete control over what happens as time goes by. But I know what matters most and what I want to guide me. What better way to live life than with bravery and optimism? Barbara faces her life by choosing to be lively and upbeat instead of resentful or negative. That’s inspirational and incites a hopeful outlook on life that I want to grasp!

Thanks, Dawla. It was a pleasure to have you in my class and to work with on your writing. I look forward to watching what life holds in store for you. You have a bright future thanks to your brains, energy, and determination.

Dawla sent me this info when I asked for a short bio: I enjoy learning about new places, art, and history. I came from Ibb, Yemen to North Carolina around summer, 2001. I love raising my 9 month old son. I have a great passion for entrepreneurship and health, which I hope to incorporate into my endeavors. Photo: The photo above shows young women dressed in the hijab, the head covering that Dawla wears.