Monthly Archives: October 2016

Bones! Happy Halloween from the Bone Church



On our recent trip to Kutna Hora in the Czeck Republic, Cliff and I visited the Bone Church, officially known as the Sedlec Ossuary. Soil was brought to the graveyard from the Holy Land in the thirteenth century, and the Sedlec Ossuary became the preferred burial spot for 40,000 souls. That’s a lot of bodies, meaning soon enough, that’s a lot of bones.

In 1870, a woodcarver named František Rint was hired to arrange the bones artistically. Talk about a ghoulish liturgical challenge.

I had no clue what to expect as our group approached the church. Bring on the creepy music!



The church is dimly lit, but those bones are white (or close to white). They show up. And they’re everywhere!

Crosses, pillars, garlands, stacks, and sculptures.





You wonder what this cherub thinks, spending his or her days among the decorating dead.


The intended message for those who visited this sacred place was: Watch your step on Earth because soon you will die and meet your maker.

One member of our group found the place to be disrespectful. She eyed those dry bones and left pretty quickly. Fair enough.

But I was enchanted. In fact, I was  so enchanted that I bought a t-shirt. My shirt reminds me to appreciate my days. Memento mori. Remember you will die.


And on October 31, while I’m remembering, I’m going to indulge in a few of the Snickers bars and KitKats that Cliff bought for trick-or-treaters. You indulge too. Life is short.

Happy Halloween!

May your bones be rattled with spooky fun.

To read more about the Bone Church, click here.

Don’t miss this link to 13 of the Scariest Places on Earth (including the Bone Church).

And to bring this spooky post back to menopause, check out menopause expert Ellen Dolgen’s latest article on bone health.

SYLK: A Personal Lubricant (and Giveaway!)




Here’s the scoop on SYLK, a personal lubricant:

We understand that Vaginal Dryness can occur with women from all walks of life including those going through menopause, chemotherapy, or living with an autoimmune disease to name a few.

SYLK is the only all-natural personal moisturizing lubricant made from New Zealand kiwifruit vine extract. SYLK is designed to moisturize and supplement the body’s natural lubrication, especially for women experiencing vaginal dryness.


SYLK is a trusted product and has been sold for over 30 years internationally and is now available in the United States.  It’s FDA Cleared, proving the product’s longstanding record of safety and effectiveness. Unlike other personal lubricants on the market, SYLK is not made with parabens, hormones, synthetics, or fragrances. It’s water-based, pH balanced, and is not sticky or tacky.

Giveaway! SYLK is offering to send tubes of their personal lubricant to three Friend for the Ride winners. For a chance to win, please enter a comment. If you’re shy, shoot me an email at Giveaway ends on November 25.



The Sound of Music Bus!



Cliff and I just returned from two weeks in Austria and the Czech Republic. Gosh, did I get some great bathroom doors. But first, the Sound of Music Bus!

“Are you sure you’re willing to go on the tour?” I asked when we got to Salzburg. “It’s a big old bus.”

Cliff is not wild about riding around on tour buses.

“Yes,” he said, “The movie is part of my childhood too.”

We ordered our tickets online, and then climbed on the bus at the appointed time.


Our guide, Klaus, wearing lederhosen, took a tongue in cheek tone, but he filled our ears with tidbits about the making of the film, the actors, and the actual von Trapp family.

First stop, the house where they filmed Maria and the children falling out of the boat wearing their play clothes made from curtains. Klaus told us that the little girl playing Gretl almost drowned during one of the takes.


Hollywood erected the gazebo next to the house, but the owners of the estate were overrun with sightseers once the movie was released. It now rests at another nearby estate. The gazebo was my favorite part of the tour.It’s beautiful. I would have loved to go inside, but the doors are locked. Klaus told us a woman broke her ankle leaping from bench to bench a while ago, and it’s been closed tight every since.


I kept wondering when the singing would start. I’d read this is the highlight of the bus ride. About halfway through the tour, Klaus said, “Time for the music!” Here he is leading us. I didn’t think our group did a very robust job with the songs, but Cliff said he definitely heard a lot of voices joining in.


I took this video as we moved past the gorgeous Austrian countryside:


Our final stop took us 45 minutes from Salzburg, to the site of Maria’s wedding. As a little girl, this was one of my favorite scenes.

When I stepped into the church, it didn’t remind me of the one Maria is married in at all. The aisle seemed short, and overall, the church seemed too small. I was so disappointed!


But then I remembered this altar the camera pans toward the end of the scene. I checked the details against a YouTube video that night in our hotel. This is it!


The church is located in the lovely town of Mondsee. We were given time to explore the town. We checked out the shops, and I bought Edelweiss soap for my friends.

For some reason Cliff, who never messes this stuff up, thought we had another half hour. We were in the midst of figuring out which cafe to visit for strudel when I asked him what time it was. “We have forty minutes left,” he said.

“Oh no we don’t,” I answered.

Yikes! We had five minutes to tear down a long path to the bus’s parking lot.

Just like Maria rushing back to the abbey, we made it with seconds to spare.

Throughout the tour, my mind kept going back to my girlhood. I remember my best friend Mari Spraigins telling me before I saw the movie that unlike Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews sported short blonde hair in The Sound of Music. (Mari saw the film first.) Soon my dad took our family. After that night, I remember wanting to BE Julie Andrews. Or one of the children. I’d even be willing to fall out of the boat.

But even though I’ve seen the gazebo where Liesl danced, I still wouldn’t want to kiss that creepy Rolf.


The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back (and a Giveway!)




Hot off the presses! Lorraine Miano just published The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Getting Your Happy Back. Here’s more info on this insightful, practical, uplifting guide:

Upon discovering she was about to be a grandmother,  just as menopause and a hysterectomy  were at her doorstep, Lorraine Miano decided she needed to turn her healthy lifestyle habits up a notch. She was not going to be a has-been—she was determined to be a will-be!

In her book, The Magic of Menopause, Lorraine walks you through what it takes to make lifestyle changes that will set you up to live the rest of your life healthy and happy—at any age!  It goes far beyond weight loss and encompasses all of the magical side effects of a healthy life, like fewer wrinkles, glowing skin, fewer aches and pains, and more energy!  Rather than let the social stigma of being a menopausal woman define your experience, Lorraine will show you how to embrace it!

This book will help guide you through the struggles women face when they begin menopause, and helps you tackle daily changes, such as: Balancing your hormones holistically, getting a better night’s sleep, reducing and/or eliminating hot flashes, improving your libido, saying good-bye to anxiety and depression and having the party of your life!

Are you going through the change? Damn right you are changing! The Magic of Menopause will help you become the woman you’ve always wanted to be!

Giveaway: Friend for the Ride is offering a copy of The Magic of Menopause to one lucky reader. For a chance to win, enter a comment by October 31.

Find the link to The Magic of Menopause on Amazon here.

About Lorraine: Lorraine Miano is an Integrative Certified Health Coach who is especially passionate about working with women in all phases of menopause who have weight, metabolism, and aging concerns so they can have more energy, less stress, and feel comfortable in their own skin.  As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she offers individual health and nutrition coaching, as well as group coaching sessions. Here’s her website. When Lorraine is not teaching, she loves spending time with her husband of 36 years, Richard, her 3 adult children, and her precious grandchildren! (See those grandchildren below.)