Know the Ropes: Giving Advice


Cliff thinks I give too much advice, so I’ve been pondering the topic.

Now that I’m of a certain age, I especially love to give advice to young people. I do this because I think I know the ropes. I’ve been around the block a bit. But is the advice welcome? Or is my advice even good advice?

I’ve had people (usually women my own age) come back to me and say, “Barbara, I took your advice…….” (fill in something good that happened to that person). I had one friend say that my advice saved a whole vacation! (Can’t remember what the advice was now–something about how to react to a situation, but I can’t remember what situation.)

But of all the friends, and sometimes strangers, that I’ve given advice to, I don’t know how many I’ve annoyed or upset. Those people are usually too polite to tell you that your advice got on their nerves.


I often go to others for advice, and in recent years, I’ve worked to be even more open to advice, especially advice that initially makes me bristle. It’s felt liberating to let my guard down and to be more receptive. But I’ve been the victim of condescending and sometimes even cruel advice, so I get why Cliff is urging caution.

When we really know the ropes on a topic, should we give our advice?  Or should we NEVER offer advice unless it’s requested?

Give us your advice, wise friends!

Here’s a great article on the Psychology Today website on the giving of advice.

I snapped these cool rope pictures at a resort in Cabo, Mexico last year. I would never think to decorate with ropes!

Here’s some info on the expression: Know the ropes.


Aroused! The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything (A Review and Giveaway

If you’re like me, and you love non-fiction written like an intriguing novel, this is the book for you. And of course, my favorite chapter is the one on estrogen.

Here’s information from the publisher:

Randi Hutter Epstein delivers a guided tour through the strange science of hormones and the age-old quest to control them in Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything (W.W. Norton & Company; June 26, 2018; $26.95).

Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, Randi Hutter Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals and their discovery, from the London laboratory where the concept of hormones was identified to a basement filled with jarred brains to a canine sex lab. We meet leading scientists who made life-changing discoveries about the hormone imbalances that ail us, as well as charlatans who used those discoveries to peddle false remedies. Along the way, Epstein examines the functions of hormones such as leptin, oxytocin, estrogen, and testosterone, demystifying the science of endocrinology.

A fascinating exploration of the history and science of one of medicine’s most important discoveries, AROUSED reveals how hormones can both push us to the edge and reel us back.

Giveaway: The publisher is giving away two copies of the book. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by August 10. Thanks!

Here’s the Amazon link.

Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., M.P.H, the author of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank, is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a lecturer at Yale University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Psychology Today blog, among other publications. She lives in New York.


The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Forty-four

Martin photographed these vibrant doors at the Cherry Pit Cafe and Pie Shop in Greensboro, North Carolina.

I found these at Le Pain Quotodien in Brooklyn, New York, where my daughter Laura now lives.

And this lady grins at the Joli Cantina in Brooklyn.


I found this sign pointing to the restrooms at the Boxcar Bar and Arcade in Durham, North Carolina.

And here’s a bit of graffiti on the ladies room door. Love the pink. That graffiti artist came prepared!

You can find these doors at Nano Taco in Durham.

Torero’s in Durham is a colorful sight to behold. The booths:

The ladies room door:

And the door of the gentlemen’s bathroom:

Claire sent these from her trip to Hawaii.

And these were photographed by friends of Ken, who were also on an  Hawaiian vacation.


Mahalo as they say in Hawaiian, to all of you for your help with my Ladies Room Door Art Series. It’s hard to believe that this is my forty-fourth post.



At Last Naturals: A Giveaway!

Information and a great giveaway from At Last Naturals:

At Last Naturals is a line of all natural menopause relief products and skin care products. Founded by a pharmacist over forty years ago, and run today by his daughter, At Last Naturals products provide natural support to women as the experience biological changes with its Wild Yam Gel, Vaginal Replenishment Gel and MSM Soap (amazing for anti-aging).

Giveway: All Naturals is offering a giveaway to two lucky Friend for the Ride winners. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by July 15. Here’s the scoop on the prize:

Win our Menopause Essentials Package. At At Last Naturals we believe in helping you balance your hormones, naturally. Two lucky entrants will win
  • 1 x Wild Yam Cream with Vitamin E
  • Vaginal Gel

Thanks All Naturals! Check out the At Last Naturals website here.


Cucumber Clothing: A Giveaway!

A post and a wonderful giveaway offer from Cucumber Clothing:

If you haven’t met us already, Cucumber Clothing is a brand new collection that harnesses high tech fabric innovation to great style and design.

Our USP lies in our intelligent fabrics which move moisture up and away from the body at speed, have anti-microbial (odour killing) nano-technology, keep you dry and fresh, last six times longer than cotton and are beautifully soft and gorgeous to wear.  #nosweat!

Giveaway: Cucumber Clothing is giving away a dressing gown to one lucky Friend for the Ride reader.Here’s the scoop on this cool gown:

Our beautiful ¾ length cut kimono style dressing gown has a clever inner tie which means you’ll never have to leave it all hanging out.  We made it for those days when, quite frankly, dressing is one step too far. We think it keeps you looking smooth on the outside and utterly relaxed and cool on the insideAnd, shh, we’ve noticed that some people are wearing  these out and about as a stylish long cardi too! You may choose navy or silver.

For a chance to win, please enter a comment by June 20.

Read good news about menopause and Cucumber Clothing.

Learn lots more about Cucumber on their website.

Check out their informative blog.


Thanks, Cucumber!



A Friend for the Ride Makeover

My blog has a new look!

I’ve been blogging since 2011, so it felt time for an update. Thanks to daughter Laura for major design help.

This is post number 788 on Friend for the Ride. Phew! That’s a lot of words and photos. I thank all of you, new followers and old, for reading my posts and the posts written by my guest bloggers.

I’m taken up acrylics, so I wanted the header to show my paintings and also two of my own photographs. We’re still tweaking, but thanks for taking a peek.

Happy Sunday!



Book Friends: Laura Ingalls Wilder

A post by writer and reader Carynne McIver Button:

The summer I was five years old, my best friend was named Laura. She lived in a cozy cabin in the woods and, like me, she loved to play outside. She had adventures I had never imagined, such as seeing wolves on a prairie, helping to cut hay, and traveling in a covered wagon. Laura even inspired me to name my favorite doll after her own–Charlotte. Laura was the first of many “book friends” I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. Since then, there’s been Lizzie, Anne, Scarlett, Lucy, and Claire (plus lots of real life ones!).

But Laura Ingalls was the original and always holds a special place in my heart. Even though she was shaped by words on a page, she was not a flat character. Laura was spunky, curious, occasionally jealous, and (usually) helpful for her parents. From her many stories, I learned the proper way to bale hay (and jump on it afterwards), how to efficiently pack a covered wagon, what it takes to live in a dugout, and how a china shepherdess can turn a house into a home. Sometimes the exciting moments in Laura’s life seemed dull when I attempted to recreate them (apparently molasses poured on snow is not nearly as delicious in the 20th century). Others–like Pa’s fiddle music in the prairie twilight–are memories I never experienced but for which I still feel deep nostalgia.


I have reread Laura’s books countless times throughout my life, returning to them when I felt homesick or missed the comfort of an old, familiar friend. Laura’s values of simplicity, a sense of home, and wonder in the natural world have shaped my own life. As a college student in Massachusetts, I even had my mom send me my worn copy of The Long Winter just to help me get through a March in New England!


I recently read Prairie Fires, a new biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder written by Caroline Fraser.


The book was fascinating and illuminated many of the difficulties Laura left out of her books–including significant debt, government support that dispels the myth of “self reliance,” and Laura’s own complicated relationship with her daughter and editor. My book friend Laura has always been different from the author Laura whom I admire, so these stories didn’t cause any harm to our friendship. Rather, they helped me understand more about how my friend came into being and why she still means so much to readers like me.

When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I inherited a figurine she often kept on her bookshelf. I had seen the graceful, barefoot woman for years, but when I took her home for myself I realized I had my very own china shepherdess. I placed her on my mantle and I knew I was at home. She lives just a few feet away from my original well-loved copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

Carynne McIver Button is a grant writer and book lover living in Durham, North Carolina. When she needs a break from words, she enjoys yoga, gardening, and hiking with her husband Garrett. Visit her website