Howling at the Moon

Moon Rise

Cliff and I attended a Howl at the Moon Party last week on Bald Head Island.

Red pepper crab soup; appetizers and cookies;  beer; a bagpiper; and sparking conversation with Margot and John, a couple we met at the party, made it a night worth howling about (happy howling, that is).

Then it hit me. I’d never ever seen a moonrise. How’s that for saving some new experiences for your menopausal years?

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the moon. “No moon!  No moon!” I’d shout. My parents had to close the curtains in my bedroom so not a speck of moon peeked through.

Look at me now! Partying in the moonlight!

We have touchstones in life. The moon is for me, as I suspect it may be for you, one of them. It’s a quirky ball that lives above our heads, and even on a cloudy night or if  it only shows a sliver, it’s there. And when the moon laughs in bright orange or displays cheddar cheese patterns or puts on a show over the ocean, we’re delighted to be among  its admiring earthlings.

During every full moon, Patti Winker’s post, “The Moon and The Menses,” gets lots of views. Here’s the link. Women and the moon go way back!


The ancients believed the moon mirrors the life of a woman: maiden, mother, and crone, the moon in its new, full, and fading forms.


But when I stood on the beach and howled with the others, I didn’t feel like a crone at all.



Mermaids Among Us

Siren Song


Would you like to be one? Would you choose life with a fishy tail for the chance to swirl through the sea?

On a recent trip to Bald Head Island, I came face to face with mermaids. I didn’t find them in the water but in one of the island’s galleries. I took a photo and then emailed the artist for permission to post her painting, Siren Song, here.

Pamela Toll has certainly pondered life as a merlady. She writes:

This was just after ovarian cancer and chemo- Aug.- Dec. 2005. I was exuberant about being alive and on my favorite island in the world painting with “my tribe”. The painting was somewhat biographical- I imagined a couple of friends and myself as mermaids with fish swimming down below. I swam almost every day on Bald Head Island- and sometimes with the dolphin.

What a celebration of life and health and friendship and freedom and whimsy and talent! I’m grateful Pam let me share Siren Song with you.


Pamela Wallace Toll graduated with a degree in English and Art from the University of NC at Chapel Hill. She earned an MFA in Painting from East Carolina University.

In 1991 Toll co-founded Acme Art Studios, a work place for artists, which also hosts art events and exhibitions, most recently in conjunction with the Wilmington Fourth Friday Gallery Crawl.

After a profound painting experience at a painting colony in former monastery, St. Joakim Osogovoski, Macedonia, Ms Toll resolved to bring Macedonian artists to NC. In 1998 she and two partners established the No Boundaries International Art Colony whose mission is to lay aside national boundaries in favor of cross cultural exchange. Since then, over 150 artists from Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, Asia and North America have participated. No Boundaries publishes a catalogue, sponsors educational outreach, and widely exhibits paintings made during the project.

She is a professor in the art department of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Learn more about the lore of mermaids and mermen here.



The Cloud Lady over the Harbor


Cliff and I were en route to Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina.

The day was gorgeous. September in all her brilliance.

Puffy, proud clouds painted the sky in front of us.

“As a girl, I found shapes in the clouds,” I said. “They’d pop right out at me. I  can’t do that anymore. I’ve lost the knack.”

I studied the sky in front of us.

No luck.

A few hours later, we sat on the dock overlooking the harbor.

“Look!” Cliff called out, pointing skyward.


“An enormous woman!”

Stretching across the harbor, like the figurehead on a ship, was, indeed, a giant woman, with flowing hair and a billowing gown.

“Her face is starting to drift apart,” Cliff said.

But it didn’t matter.

I still got to see that lady in her cloud shape splendor.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that older couples often help each other in an easygoing and patient way.

I’m starting to feel that new sort of camaraderie.

I spent the weekend looking for shapes in the clouds.

My skills did come back, somewhat.

I spotted a duck, a whale, and the state of Texas.

But my favorite shape,

My favorite shape of all,

Was the cloud lady over the harbor.

Congrats to loyal blog reader Lisa Wolfe, who is getting married today!

Photo:  More clouds shapes over Bald Head’s South Beach the next day.  What shapes do you see?

Aging, Celebrations, Fashion

Wedding Update: A Dress and a Fox


In the last post, I bemoaned my missing waist.

But in terms of a rehearsal dinner dress, the story has a happy ending.

You know the feeling. You already love something. You pray your shopping consultant agrees.

Time freezes as you wait for the pronouncement.

“I like it!” the bride-to-be said.


(Point here being that sheath dresses work well on women of a certain age.)

The dress fits much better than any I tried on.


What pleases me most are the polka dots!

Polka Dots

I’m pretending they’re champagne bubbles.

We’ll toast our guests and  the bride and groom and the groom’s lovely parents, who are hosting the party.

To love!

To life!

To families!

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Back to the dress.

Yes, it disguises my lack of a waist.

But no, I don’t look as foxy as the model in the picture.

I don’t need to.

Bald Head Island, setting for the wedding, has real foxes!

images (2)

Cliff and I sometimes spot one on the road that runs the length of the island.

A lucky camera person spotted the fox below right on the beach.

(Give the video about eight seconds for the fox to appear; until then, listen to the swooshing of the waves.)

To the waves!

To the sand!

To the fox!

And once again, as always, to life!