MenopauseMop: A Giveaway!



A menopause mop!

How cool is that?

Created by three Hot Flash Sistas!


This is how they describe their innovative mop:


Read the testimonials here!

Check out the colors and designs here.

Giveway: The Hot Flash Sistas are offering a mop to TWO Friend for the Ride readers. Simply enter a comment by September 1 saying that you’d like to be a winner. U.S and Canada only. Thanks, Sistas!


Downsizing: The Bicycle Nightgown


I’ve always been good about weeding my clothes closet and dresser, but part of my downsizing project this spring was to make some tough decisions on clothes I’ve been saving for sentimental reasons.

TWICE I put the bicycle nightgown in the giveaway bag.

TWICE I took it out.

Swirl back in time with me for a second.Laura, four years old, sits on the floor of the dressing room at Belks.

First  I try on a flowered nightgown.Then a white one with green bicycles racing across it.

“Which one should I get?” I ask her.

She points to the gown above. “That one.”

“How come?”


About ten years ago, I turned into a pajama girl. But I couldn’t let that nightgown go. Those bicycles stayed parked in the bottom of my dresser drawer.

Then came downsizing.Then came my failed attempts to give away the nightgown in May.

Before my hysterectomy for endometrial cancer in July, I was told, “Plan to wear nothing with waistbands for two weeks.”

No pajamas, so I bought a new nightgown.The night I returned from the hospital, I put it on. Woa! Way too tight. My belly was swollen like I was six month’s pregnant.

Guess what fit?

Nightgown up close

When I learned my uterus had to go, I felt such gratitude for the little girls it gave me.

The nightgown stays.


Photo: Above:  Laura, around the time she helped make the nightgown decision.


Transforming Your Aging Brain Joyfully: A Book Giveaway!



A post by aging experts Linda Stoler and Gretchen Espinetti:

Barbara, thank you for inviting us to visit your blog!  We’re excited to get the word out about our book, Transforming Your Aging Brain, to introduce the joyful Multi-Modal Method (MMM) that makes such a difference in our overall wellness as we age.

We know that the MMM works because we have experienced the transformation in our professional and personal lives.

Many years ago, after fifteen frustrating years working with children in speech pathology using traditional methods, Linda, while on a sabbatical, spent time getting in touch with her authentic creativity. Linda saw that music, movement, manual motion (sign language) and mindful meditation made a startling difference in the children she taught as she returned to her work in speech pathology.

The MMM has worked very well with Linda’s 94 year old mother with dementia, others in assisted living with dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as Gretchen’s father who is in the early stages of dementia.

We’ve done extensive research to support our “theories” so that we could present the book in a way that would be credible for the professional community as well as for the average person caring for an aging parent or loved one.  The book is also intended for seniors over 50 who are looking for ways to enhance their own well being as they age.

We have researched studies that have proved that our brains actually continue to rewire and reactivate as we age. Our book offers techniques to exchange negative messages of the past for an elevated, positive outlook.  Studies prove that a holistic, positive approach to life can actually prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia in many people.  There is evidence from autopsies showing  that though Alzheimer’s was in the brain during life, the elders with a positive outlook showed no signs of it.

We’ve offered evidence that supports our premise that fun, creativity, movement, music, meditation, manual motion, good nutrition, plenty of water, and so much more,  can make a world of difference in the quality of life for all of us as elders  and caregivers.

In the U.S. and around the world, we are facing a global concern because of such a large aging population. We believe that Transforming Your Aging Brain,  highlights the information and inspiration to teach people how to support and enhance their own emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being in joyful ways!

Giveaway: The authors are giving one copy of Transforming Your Aging Brain to a lucky Friend for the Ride winner. Simply leave a comment by August first saying that you’d like to win.

Author photo- Linda S. Stoler
LINDA S. STOLER, CCC-SLP has more than 40 years of experience developing programs for children, using left brain, logical and cognitive perspectives. She learned that by bringing special needs and typically developing children out from behind their desks and sparking their creative spirits, the outcome was amazing. And so was born the Multi-Modal Method of teaching that Linda has recorded on CD and taught to hundreds, over the years.

When Linda’s talented mother developed dementia in her 90s, Linda exposed her to the sessions with the children, only to discover that her mother’s quality of life instantly included joy, laughter and music once again. Armed with that experience and the knowledge of brain and neuroscience research, Linda developed a seminar for the over 50 crowd, too. This initiative became known as Onto The Next and took on the form of interactive, inspirational seminars.

Author Photo- Dr. Gretchen Espinetti

DR. GRETCHEN ESPINETTI has enjoyed an extensive career in bilingual and early childhood education with an emphasis on multicultural education for children not developed within the culture of their parents. Her studies into neuroscience and the brain led her to use non-traditional methods of teaching including music, drama, dance and sign language. Science has proven that being fluent in more than one language protects us against age-related cognitive decline. Therefore, using the power of neuroplasticity as a preventative for elders facing dementia and Alzheimer’s was realized by this team.

Together, Gretchen and Linda impact the elders in their own lives and seek to make the life of all the aging population around the world one of quality and joy.


My Cancer Story: Afloat!



Thank you all for your lively and encouraging words. Your replies to this post about my endometrial cancer touched  me and sent happy healing energy through the Web.

As soon as I was diagnosed, Friend for the Ride helped keep me afloat!

I knew I could tell my story here.  My goal is to get the word out about endometrial cancer and to comfort others who face this form of the Big C.  Posts coming soon! Once a post goes up, the link will be added to the page at the top of the blog.

I knew too, that I’d have fun taking photos for the blog, and that Cliff, my wonderful assistant through all of this, would help.

Here’s one he snapped of my first meal, a liquid one, after surgery.


That’s a refreshing  mojito in the plastic glass. (They do, I must say, fail to add rum at UNC Hospital).

I got great news from the oncologist last week when the final pathology came in. No further treatments.

My body is mending, although I have a new understanding of what folks mean by post-surgery exhaustion.

My appetite came back yesterday. I’ve always thought it might be useful to have no appetite, but you only have to lose it to know the joy of its return.

But back to you all.

As a friend wrote to me two weeks ago:

So much love!


Top Photo: I gave out the orange floats during a children’s sermon at church a few months ago. I snapped the photo knowing I would use it for the blog in one post or another. Didn’t have a clue that post would be about a topic so serious and a relief so deep.


Grandma Update: MY Trucks



In the months before Mazen was born, I was touched to receive some Grandma presents.

Note the set of matchbox trucks and cars above.

Vroom!  Vroom!

Maze is now twenty-two months. My clever grandson has learned to attach “MY” to his nouns.

MY apple.

MY Elmo.

MY shoes.

MY firetruck.

So I tell him these are Grammie’s.

But I’ll share.

I just bought a bigger set. I let Maze help me unpack them.

You can get twenty way cool cars and trucks for sixteen dollars.  That’s less than I pay for Supergoop CC Cream to cover my age spots.


These shiny vehicles are more fun and easier to use than the CC cream too.

The trucks are my favorite, maybe because Maze is now deep into trucks.

“Big truck,” he yells when we spot one on our walks.

I’d like to say it was menopause that sparked my passion for trucks.

How well would that fit with the theme of the blog? Estrogen takes a nosedive, and your enthusiasm for trucks skyrockets.

But no doubt my new found love for trucks was sparked by another M word.

I’m thinking of getting the emergency vehicle set next.

I’ve got to perfect my siren sound first. Maze does a better firetruck than I do.

MY challenge!

MY summer project!

MY new goal!



PS. It’s lucky that Maze can do a great siren. He’ll be playing on this giant firetruck on the playground of his preschool in the fall. Wee-ooo, Wee-ooo.






 A post by writer Frances Wood:

With today’s revealing styles, the average woman shaves some 414 square inches of leg

That’s what the ad said.

What it didn’t say was that today, 45 years later, I’d still be using the same razor on legs that maybe have a few more square inches on them. Width-wise, not length-wise. I’m not so skinny as I was at 18.

That girl who took this electric razor to college, did she realize she was creating memories?

I don’t think so.

She was thinking about classes and boys. About a new roommate-who-wasn’t-her-sister. And boys. She had no picture in her mind of the woman I am now.

But I can see her so clearly.

I see her 414 square inches of legs, and her short skirts, and the ski sweater her Arizona-based grandfather bought because he was convinced she might freeze to death back in New England.

She almost did. Well, her legs almost froze, because of those skirts.

But the sweater…

I still have that, too. And when I touch the still-beautiful wool I feel an immensity of love so much bigger than 414 square inches.

That love, and the usefulness of the razor, have kept me going (and feeling pretty) throughout my life.

The girl I was then didn’t know she was creating memories. She didn’t know she was saving love to warm the woman I am now.

I am so grateful to her.

1968, Edward's wedding

Photo Top: Ad for Remington’s Lady-go-lightly, circa 1968.

Photo Middle: Frances in the dress she made for her brother’s wedding.  Not shown are the shoes she dyed to match.

Photo Bottom: Frances now, still sporting lovely shades of blue. She’s the author of When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Daughter of Madrugada, and Becoming Rosemary. To learn more about Frances Wood and her writing, visit her website, Frances M. 




Garden Blessings, a Cancer Diagnosis, and a Giveaway

Pink Zinnea

I’m a reluctant gardener.

Perhaps because I can only grow zinnias and marigolds.  For real. All other seeds fail me. Perennials, except for a few, refuse to reappear in the spring.

But this year the gardening muse took over, and I planted zinnias galore.

I even dragged pots out of our shed and created a porch garden of zinnias and marigolds.

Blooms abound.

Never have blooms looked more beautiful.

Because a month ago, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

And the life that I sometimes grumped about and worried about and wondered about became the life I wanted to hold onto with every ounce of my being.

As surgery approached last week, an unexpected joy showered over me. The bold colors of my zinnias shouted, “Notice us!” And I did.

Pizza on a neighbor’s patio became the best I’ve ever tasted.

The riverwalk on our new trail in Hillsborough felt like a grand wilderness adventure.

I was scared and nervous, for sure, but this worrier took on a type of calm. Grace in its finest form.

I’m through with surgery. I need a few weeks to catch my breath. Then I’ll tell my cancer story.

Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

This morning, I was well enough to go into the garden and pick a bouquet of zinnias. Never has my garden been such a blessing.

I love you, zinnias!

Giveaway: Anthologist June Cotner is offering one reader a copy of her gorgeous new book, Garden Blessings: Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating the Love of Gardening (Viva Editions, 2014).  For a chance to win, simply enter a comment  by August 15 saying you’d like to be the winner. Thanks, June!

Cover of Garden Blessings

Here’s what the publisher says about June’s latest collection:

Our gardens grow us, and this collection of readings takes us down a path of pleasure. The overriding intention of Garden Blessings is to provide a heartwarming, spiritually focused collection of uplifting prayers, prose, and poems that share a common joy and appreciation for the love of gardening and the many blessings that gardens bring to our lives. June Cotner, a best-selling inspirational author, has gathered a bounty of garden blessings here, offering gems of wisdom that remind the reader and gardener in all of us just how much we learn from our gardens.

Me again: You’ll want your own copy, and the book makes a great gift. Here’s the Amazon link.  I do think this is one of the loveliest book covers ever! I had fun photographing it a few weeks ago on an old pedestal that usually holds a stone frog in my garden.