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.


The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Twenty-Five



My friend Susan has an eye for spotting cool ladies room doors. It’s a good thing for Friend for the Ride that Susan travels a lot. She found fabulous doors on a recent trip to California. Above, Marilyn graces the ladies room door at the Patio at KC’s in Windsor, California.

Susan found this door at the Himalayan Restaurant in Windsor.


The Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California.

The outhouse at Barndiva Restaurant in Healdsburg.


Susan found this woodsy door at the Petrified Forest.

And this one at Half Dome Camp in Yosemite National Forest.


She stumbled on art deco style at the Sutter Street Grill in Folsom, California.



Back in our home turf, Susan snapped this red W at Tomato Jakes in Durham.


I took this unisex door at Sage, a favorite restaurant  in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

And finally,  I discovered this nicely patterned sign the other night at Juju in Durham, North Carolina.

Pink Door


The doors at Sage and  Jufu were in dark corners of the restaurants, which creates a photography dilemma for me. I’m often caught propping doors open with one foot as I work to get more light. No effort is too great for our Ladies Room Door Art Series!

And thank you, Susan, for your gallant photography efforts on your journeys. When’s your next trip?



Beat the Heat! A Nano-Ice Necklace Giveaway



A summer giveaway offer from our friends at Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace:

Summer can be tough, hot, and uncomfortable for many; however, you may not have to suffer like this anymore thanks to the Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace. Whether it’s a Fourth of July barbecue or an afternoon baseball game, the Cooling Necklace will keep you comfortable and cool for up to 3 Hours! With superior cooling abilities and stylish designs, the Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace is a staple for this summer.

Join the movement today, and Beat the Heat in Style with your very own Cooling Necklace!  See the 2 designs, above and below.

unnamed (1)Giveaway: For a chance to win a necklace, please enter a comment by July 15. Thanks!

Read more about the development of this innovative necklace here on  Friend for the Ride. The last giveaway winner was delighted with her necklace. Cool!


M is for Menopause and Men!


M stands for menopause, and it also stands for men. What do men think of menopause? Do they get a vote?

Sure they do, since menopause affects them too. I was delighted to receive this note from my good college friend, Glenn:


It’s taken me far too long to send you a note to let you know how much I have enjoyed and learned from your Friend for the Ride blog. To be honest, as a near 60 year old man, I really only started to read it to see what you’ve been up to – but I’ve continued to follow it because it has provided so much information and insight as to what my female family, friends, and co-workers are going through.

It’s really helped me to better understand and relate to their circumstances.

Great job!


Thanks, Glenn, and thanks to men everywhere, including my own husband, who get that this is a difficult transition. As I’ve written before, I wish I’d shared more with Cliff about the emotional side of menopause. Trouble is, for many of us, these emotions are so odd and so troubling, they’re tricky to characterize and to talk about.

Here are links to two posts I wrote for EmpowerHer on men and menopause:

Five Mistakes Couples Make During Menopause and Five Things I Wish My Husband Knew About Menopause.

If I could suggest another article for EmpowerHer, it would be on how to talk to your male friends about menopause because that’s an important topic, too. Thanks Glenn, for reading my blog, and thanks to guys everywhere for caring enough to connect with us during a challenging transition.


Hot Women Need Cool Beautiful Fans! A Giveaway

fan samples 2


The cool news from Fine and Folded Hand Fan Company. Their fans are gorgeous!

In menopause, you may find yourself hotter than you’ve ever felt before! We’ve learned that women with hot flashes love fans! We love fans too, and we like that we can help.

Equally practical and delightful, our fans provide an instant breeze; slip one in your purse or bag to have at your fingertips whenever you need it. The beautiful and unique designs pair classic patterns with a touch of whimsy – each with its own personality to mix and match with your style and mood! All fans come in a lined, fabric bag with a magnet closure – easy to open and close and keeps your fan protected.

Hot flashes? No sweat – unfold a little cool. They are a perfect gift for yourself or friends!

Fan in Hand

Giveaway: We are teaming up with Barbara to provide 2 lucky readers with a hand fan of your choice (9 designs to choose from). You can read more about us and see the designs at For a chance to win, please leave a comment by July 1. Thanks!

Discount: If you don’t want to leave it to chance, enter “FRIEND” at the check-out for free shipping if you buy 2 or more.

Check out this fun guide to fan language!

Fan Language


It Was Never a Dress (and a Mug Giveaway)


When I first read the words, “It was never a dress,” they didn’t sit well with me. I love dresses!   But when my friend Kathy sent me more info, I began to appreciate the slogan.

I like what this software company, Axosoft, is doing to empower women, especially girls, through the company’s support of the STEAM program.

Here’s what they say on their website:

In science, technology, arts, mathematics, politics, houses of worship, on the streets, and in our homes, insightful women are often uninvited, overlooked, or just plain dismissed. Through storytelling, community building, innovation and creative disruptions, #ItWasNeverADress will foster necessary conversations, vital voices, and images from around the world that honor ALL women.

For a few months of my childhood, I dreamed of becoming a geologist, thanks to a shiny book my mom got me on rocks and minerals. What was your science dream? Did it become a reality?

Take a few minutes to watch this video about It Was Never a Dress.



Giveaway: I’m buying a mug to give away. According to the website: “Profits from It Was Never a Dress merchandise will go towards a scholarship for need-based, under-represented individuals entering the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).”

For a chance to win the mug, simply enter a comment by July 1. Comment link is at the bottom.






A certain fabric will send me sailing back to my youth. I snapped this summer sailboat dress last year. The texture reminds me of pique, which was big when I was in Junior High.

The pattern is reminiscent of larger prints, which were in fashion for part of my youth.

And the style of the dress, a shift, brings to memory the stir shifts made in the sixties. My dad didn’t like my mom in shifts, so one day he hid hers in the back of the closet. She had a nice figure too. I have no idea what he hated about them. Makes me extra appreciative that Cliff has never pestered me about my clothes.

But back to fabric. What are the fabrics you remember?

Mine are wool, dotted swiss, pique, and corduroy. Loved them all!

Here’s to the fabric and the fashion of our lives.


Oh and BTW, I didn’t buy this simple shift because the price was NOT simple at all.