The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Thirteen

Velvet Taco Ladies

In my year and a half of searching for ladies room doors, I do believe the door above, in bright pink, is my favorite! I found it (and the men’s below) at Urban Taco in Dallas this summer.

Velvet Taco Men

I loved this unisex door, found at The Gypsy Wagon, a funky boutique in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood of Dallas.

And I can’t resist showing you the dressing room!

Gypsy Wagon

Reader Susan, while in Chicago for her daughter’s grad school graduation, found this metal lady at Avec Restaurant.

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And this elegant door at  Chant, a restaurant in Hyde Park, Chicago.


And from Susan, the Barkeater’s Restaurant in Shelburne, Vermont.

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I found this at The Yellow Deli in Rutland, Vermont. The owner was pleased at my enthusiasm. No one had ever photographed his doors before.


A nice brass plate at the Latham ’76 Diner in Latham, New York. I did wonder why they didn’t move the plate down a bit.


Ah. And remember the days when we called it a “Powder Room?”  Here’s a sign for a unisex bathroom at the Gourmet Provence Bakery in Brandon,Vermont.

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And finally, a blast from the past: the ladies room door on the Ticonderoga Steamboat at the fabulous Shelburne Museum in  Vermont. If you visit the Shelburne, allow at least a day for an amazing blast from your past.


And so full steam ahead in our quest for creative and unusual ladies room doors. Thanks for your help!


Sex after Menopause! Lubrigyn: A Giveaway


Sex and menopause!

Now that Mom is gone, I’m feeling braver when it comes to sex talk. (Mom was a loyal reader of Friend for the Ride. In fact, my mom is the only person who read everything I wrote, including both of my master’s theses and four yet-to-be published novels.)

Back to sex. No more birth control! Whoopee! So many women are thrilled at the thought, only to find that the freewheeling sex they expected has been foiled by pain. Lack of estrogen wrecks havoc on the tissues of the vagina and the (I’ve got to steel my proper self to write this word): “labia.” And this post isn’t just about sex. Sexually active or not, dryness can cause discomfort and even debilitating pain.

Moisture is a menopausal girl’s best friend. Lubrigyn is offering three great products to help. Promise! I tried them.

Lubrigyn Lotion is designed to be a cleanser, moisturizer, and lubricant and can be used everyday, in the shower instead of soap, or applied with a tissue or your hands when you’re out of the shower. Besides its soothing and softening ingredients, including sweet almond, jojoba and olive oils, the lotion has sodium hyaluronate, which attracts and holds onto water.  Actually a moisturizer for facial skin, this ingredient also helps the vaginal tissue stay supple and moist. The lotion has a subtle scent so it doesn’t overpower you. I also like that it’s creamy, not runny. As a matter of fact, I’ve been using it as an all-over moisturizer.


Lubrigyn Cream: This is a more concentrated version of the lotion and can be used as a vaginal moisturizer and a lubricant before intercourse. Along with painful sex, dryness can cause everyday pain and also leads to  UTIs. That’s why it’s important to moisturize on a regular basis. Lubrigyn comes in a handy pump bottle. It’s not leaky or messy. A joy to use!


Lubrigyn Wipes are an added bonus with the lotion and are ideal cleansers and deodorizers when traveling or at home. They have a subtle scent, too.

Wipes Two

Giveaway: Lubrigyn is offering a trio of products to four Friend for the Ride winners. To enter, please post a comment. If you’re feeling shy, shoot me an email to enter. Contest ends on September 20. Thanks, Lubrigyn for the great giveaway!

Check Out the Lubrigyn website for lots more information about sex, dryness, the power of moisture, and Lubrigyn’s new products.

This post is sponsored by Lubrigyn, a new way to keep moisture where it belongs. All opinions on the product are my own!


Games for Today’s Grandparents and Kids (and a Giveaway!)

A post by kids’ game expert George Schalter:

With most of us living in nuclear families, grandparents don’t get to spend as much time with their grandchildren as they’d like to. When they do, it’s either the grandchild getting indulged with homemade cookies (reminds me of my grandma’s chocolate cookies with raisins and a dash of orange flavor!) or grandparents enjoying the skills their grandkids have on their tablets.

This grandparent-grandchild bond is beautiful. More importantly, it’s a conduit to pass on the family culture, something which grows within a family. So what can be the best ways to further strengthen this bond and gift the child priceless memories to fondly fall back on? One of the easiest and perhaps most effective ways of ‘connecting’ with today’s kids is by playing games that they enjoy with them! Have your pick from the list below based on your and your grandchild’s interest and let the one-in-a-lifetime bond grow even more beautiful.

Adopt a Pet

Adopt a Pet
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This one is for the tech-savvy grandparent and grandchild. What can be a better bonding experience than raising a virtual pet together? Gift a subscription, and you can share similar interests and in-game routines with your grandchild, when you both have a common pet to look after. You will have to take mutually agreeable decisions that concern the well-being of your pet. Of course, you can even raise different pets, or get your pet a pet, a pet-pet!

The objective is that when you have a shared experience, there are a lot more common talking points between both. It is easier to understand what the little ones enjoy playing and connect with them in more ways than one. Best of all, you don’t have to pick up actual poop, if you don’t like pets!



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A classic game played between two friends, grandparents/parents and kids, spouses, or even two strangers! Playing chess not only builds patience but exercises the brain and mind in some of the most scientific ways. If you’re a quiet type of grandparent, this is a gift that will bring you closer to your grandchild. Gift your grandchild a classic game of chess and sit over it for hours. If you are a long distance grandparents, you could easily play each other over the Internet, when you are not playing over the set you gift.

Cooking games


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If you’re the kind of grandparent who enjoys hands-on activities with your little one, there’s nothing like getting messy together in the kitchen. Gift a set of kitchenware suitable for kids and discover the joys of kneading dough, chopping veggies, washing dishes, plating up, and serving exotic delicacies. You never know, your grandchild may also discover her/his true calling along the way!



While exclusive grandparent-grandchild time is priceless, there is also great joy in everyone spending time together as a family. A simple inexpensive game like Uno engages kids and adults alike, and makes for some great quality time together as a family. It is one of those must-have games for every family. If you’re already a fan of this game, here is a small quiz to find out how much of an UNO-addict you are!

Hot Wheels Track Attack

Hot Wheels

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For the car-lover grandchild of yours, Hot Wheels on Track Wii will be their ‘dream come true’! Customize the racing car together, construct crazy tracks, perform gravity-defying stunts on the topsy-turvy tracks, and race to a glorious victory together. It’s time grandparents bought new-age Wii and online games for kids!

Meet Blue’s Baby Brother

Talking about online games, if your grandchild loves her daily dose of Blue’s Clues, then she’ll love the premium version of Meet Blue’s Baby Brother’ – an online kids’ game that’s based on the popular television series for kids.

Invest in one of these gifts for your grandchild and help the bond between the two of you grow even more invaluable.

Giveaway! I’m giving away Uno, and you don’t have to be a grandma to win! For a chance at winning, please enter a comment by September 5.

Uno Giveaway

Check out George’s popular nostalgia post on Friend for the Ride here.

George Schalter loves being a dad. He and his wife share the joys and responsibilities of bringing up their two children. As believers of good all round education, they spend a lot of time playing with their children and spending time outdoors. As George is the writer in the family, he blogs at Educational Kids Games.





Experience 2015: Back Stage Tour


The Durham Performance Arts Center offered a backstage tour in June. Sign me up! Ever since my theater debut this winter, I’ve been extra curious about life on stage (and backstage).

I was surprised by how bland the dressing rooms are (especially the bathrooms). Cliff and I wondered if actors bring in their own decorative touches or maybe they prefer a simple space as too much decor is distracting. I wish I’d asked our tour guide.

What did delight me are the decorations that plaster the walls of the halls! Each musical leaves behind a colorful painting.



Musicians sign the cinder blocks.



Oprah used to talk about the Green Room at Harpo. Here’s the Green Room at the DPAC. When I did the Dixie Swim Club,I loved the adrenaline rush of waiting to go on stage. I’d like to get the chance to wait in a real Green Room!


I got a kick out of reading the signs. I can just see myself getting confused and coming in on the wrong side of the stage.


A lot of attention is paid to fire safety. I suspect that’s why the door cannot be propped open.

At the end of the tour, I stood on stage and pretended, for just a minute, that I was a star. What would it be like to perform in this auditorium packed with people? To make your words or your song reach to the upper tiers?

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Before I left, to bring my back to Earth, to my beloved blog, I snapped a ladies room door sign of sorts.


Don’t miss the chance to take a back stage tour if you can. My tour was definitely a highlight of 2015.


My Cancer Story: White Pants and Worry

White Pants Up Close

Brace yourself for some TMI.

On a recent trip to Dallas that featured several mother-daughter shopping outings, Laura pulled white pants from the rack. “I bet these would look good on you,” she said. “They can be dressy or casual and are great for summer.”

I tried the pants on. Laura nodded her approval. Next came the underwear discussion. My child is a  pro on what to wear under white pants. I found it difficult, though, to plunk out a chunk of change for two inches of fabric.

But that’s not the TMI part of this post. This is:

“We can wear white pants without worry!” menopause types like to say, honoring the fact that periods are over. But blood, and the fear of blood, means something different to me now. Blood, several years into menopause, was the red siren that launched my journey into endometrial cancer. (Please don’t panic if you see blood. There’s only a one in eight chance it’s cancer, but DO see your doctor.) In my case, the blood was bad blood.

My surgery and recovery went well, and as Cliff reminds me if I get mopey, my prognosis is quite good. Yet I live daily, (actually many times a day) in fear that I will discover blood. Every bathroom trip, every change of clothes, brings on the possibility. Cliff’s suggestion is not to look each time. I’m trying that and am having some success; however, habits are hard to break. For now, the NOT looking reminds me there’s something scary I could be looking for.

To those of you who are cancer survivors: how do you deal with the fear it will return? Any tips?

And thanks to Laura for suggesting I buy white pants. Hate cancer! Love my new pants!

white pants

Cancer recurrence: I found this article on I had a light bulb moment when I read the heading: “Accept your fears.” I was able to accept the cancer, especially since the prognosis is good. I never really wondered why me? Stuff happens. Instead of trying to figure out how to banish all fear, maybe I can have an easier time if I accept it like I did the cancer. Worth a try!


Tai Chi and Arthritis: Dr. Paul Lam and Born Strong–A Book Giveaway!

Born Strong Cover

Just off the presses! The story of Dr. Paul Lam and his breakthrough work with tai chi.  Here’s what the publisher writes:

Born in Vietnam, Bon Trong—meaning “born strong”—was only ten months old when he was left with his grandmother in China. Little did anyone know that soon thereafter, the Communist Party under Mao Zedong would overtake the country. For sixteen years, Bon Trong suffered abuses and terror from the Communist rule and narrowly escaped death from starvation during Mao’s disastrous Great Famine.

At sixteen he escaped to Hong Kong, terrified of leaving his family behind, and later made his way to Australia, where he adopted the name Paul. He became a doctor and was determined to help people…unaware that he would someday make positive changes around the world.

The years of starvation and malnutrition had left their mark.  He began studying tai chi with his father-in-law hoping to ease his painful arthritis. Moved by the art, he became an avid learner and expert in tai chi. Feeling he could help others, he started workshops to teach those who wanted to learn, and also instructed others how to teach the methods he had developed. 

The Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention (TCFP) program is identified by the Administration on Aging as a highly effective program for health, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends Tai Chi for Arthritis in their official guide for falls prevention.

Read more about Born Strong on the website of the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

Here’s an article on tai chi by the Arthritis Foundation and another on WebMD on joint pain and tai chi.

Giveaway! For a chance to win a copy of Born Strong simply leave a comment by September 1 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Author Photo Lam


The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Twelve


I found some great doors on a visit to daughter Laura and son-in-law Matt this summer.

Above, the names of famous Texas women on the ladies room door of Stampede 66 in Dallas. And check out the  confident dude below who greets you as soon as you swing open that door.


I found this one at the Warwick Hotel in Dallas. The sign on the door is an elegant green marble pattern. (I had problems properly catching it with my phone.)

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The ladies room at the Company Cafe in Dallas boasts a big old W on the door.


The stall doors are created with a funky wood pattern.


And the prettiest bathroom floor I’ve seen (not that I’ve been noticing them for long.) The floor at La Duni Latin Kitchen in Dallas.


A final shot from our trip to Texas: Cowboy boots on the door at the Eureka!


From reader Lily, who wrote:”Sending you this interesting photo of an industrial style Coffee Cafe that shares the same building/warehouse as Ecclesia Church near downtown Houston, TX. Designers cut this section of the existing wall out, giving you a peek through!”


From reader Carol, after a visit to the Eisenhower Regional Recreational Center in The Villages, Florida


.From my friend Justin, who teaches English in China. The door should read “Female.” They’re off  by one letter.


And this sign, which Justin says is at the entrance to the toilet areas. He writes: “The Chinese actually reads ‘Danger: Slippery.’ However, due to the unique morphology of Chinese, the same word can interchangeably mean ‘danger’ or ‘careful,’ depending on its context.”

Slip CarefullyJustin wins the prize for sending Friend for the Ride a door from so far away! But near or far, looking for interesting ladies room doors can add a jolt of excitement to any outing. Keep your cameras ready!