Monthly Archives: December 2016

My Kindle: Rocking These Aging Eyes


Hard core book person here.

I come from a family of book collectors.


I’ve still got some of my childhood books. (Note the”his” in the subtitle at the top of Baby’s House below. Circa 1950.)


I like the smell of books (both the brand new smell and the worn smell). I like turning the pages. I like measuring how much of the book I’ve read by putting a bookmark in it, closing the book, and eyeballing how much is left.

I had no interest in an electronic reader.

But when daughter Kath said, for the umpteenth time, “Mom, you need a Kindle,” I finally caved. Kath sent me the Amazon link. The Paperwhite was on sale. I bought one, mostly to make my daughter happy.

I sighed when the box came. Did I really want this? I set my new Kindle on the back counter for a few days. Finally, I charged it up, connected it to wifi, and ordered my first book. So easy!

And in that instant, my reading life changed.

On a Kindle, you can blow up the type. I’m sure Kath had told me this a dozen times, but the significance didn’t sink in. Small print is no longer an issue for me. And thanks to larger print, I can read at night, something I was having a terrible time doing.


The Kindle’s backlighting helps with night reading too. I don’t need to move the lamp closer. You can even read in the dark.

The Kindle has changed my world. Seriously. I’m not sure it’s marketed as a product to help those of us with poor eyesight, but it should be.

Thanks Kath! And thanks for helping me pick out my festive purple cover.

Giveaway Winners:

Meryl won the fifty dollar Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card in honor of Friend for the Ride’s anniversary.

Laura won the copy of Lorraine Miano’s The Magic of Menopause

Barbara, Pam, and Karen, won tubes of Sylk

Liz won the Cool Collection Dress!

Beth won the Chocolate Soaps from Uncommon Goods

And Sara won the Nano Cooling scarf.

Please always let me know if you do NOT receive a prize you’ve won. And thanks to those of you who write such sweet thank you emails. I love knowing your prize has safely arrived.

Gingerbread to All



I discovered this gingerbread world at North Park Center Mall in Dallas, Texas last week. After admiring the cookie village, Laura and I shopped. Granddaughter Emerson, at nine weeks, studied the mall scene briefly and then turned her attention to Sophie the Giraffe.


Here’s wishing you a gingerbread sort of holiday. Spicy and fun but layered with sweetness and color. Friend for the Ride is going on holiday too and will be back at the very start of 2017.

Thank you so much for your good words and for reading my words!

Love, Barbara


Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Thirty



Doors encore!

Susan sent me this door from Simpsonville, South Carolina. A few weeks later, Carol sent me the same door from the same restaurant. A first for Friend for the Ride! I hated to tell Carol I already had the door, but I did. We strive for honesty here on Friend for the Ride. Thanks to both of you!

From Pat, the Maison Dandoy in Brussels. Pat found me some wonderful doors on her trip to Belgium last spring.

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She found this unisex door at the Costume and Lace Museum.


Pat photographed these green and black signs at the Gallerie du Hubert in Brussels.



My son-in-law Matt found the fan and the pipe in the Napoles section of Mexico City.



From Karen, the Sunset Grille in one of my beloved childhood haunts: Ocean City, Maryland.


From Barbara, the men’s and women’s at the Mellow Mushroom in Sunset Hills, Missouri. This is the fourth set of doors I’ve featured from a Mellow Mushroom restaurant. The Mellow Mushroom folks are mellow and fun when it comes to restrooms, that’s for certain!

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From Susan, a rest stop on I-85 south of Greensboro, North Carolina. A lady traveler in need of a bathroom quickly will have no trouble locating this bold sign.

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From Ken, Zinburger at Southpoint Mall in Durham, North Carolina.How wonderful to have gentlemen contribute to our Ladies Room Door Art Series. Thanks, Ken and Matt!


Last but not least, Susan found this neat door at the Silver Spot, an upscale movie theater in Chapel Hill. They say you can eat French fries and drink wine while you view the movie. I haven’t yet been able to convince Cliff to brave the steep movie prices to check out the theater.


That wraps up Number Thirty (WOW!) of our Ladies Room Door Art Series. Thank you one and all. Keep your phone cameras ready as you celebrate the holidays. Doors await!

Menopause Courage (in Kohl’s)



They say menopause makes us braver. More willing to confront others. To not put up with stuff. Hmmm. I have a story to tell.

Daughter Kath had announced Maze needed winter pajamas. Grandma mission!

I stepped into Kohl’s. My plan was to find a few pairs of PJs. No need for a cart.

Minutes later, with fire engine, doggy, and dinosaur pajamas in hand, I paused in the infant section. Didn’t brand new granddaughter Emerson need a Halloween costume and a Thanksgiving sleeper? Of course. They went into my arms.

Why not a quick run into the toy section? I found a talking Yoda for Maze, who is now deep into Star Wars. “I should have gotten a cart after all,” I said to myself.  “This stuff is getting heavy.”

On my way to the register, I picked up a book for each child. I love that Kohl’s offers picture books for five dollars and donates all profits to charity.


Arms brimming with merchandise, I headed toward the registers. I set the items down at the end of a counter, happily awaiting my turn. The line was short. Just one woman ahead of me. She stood at the other end of the counter, sliding her credit card through the machine.

She turned to me. “Could you get your things off the counter,” she said, face grim. “We’re conducting business here.”

I was at least five feet away. Shocked by her cold words, I didn’t answer, I just picked up my stuff. I eyed the young sales person. Her face indicated no emotion.

“Wow,” I said when the woman left, and my turn came. “Is it just me or was that woman really rude?”

“Oh you wouldn’t believe what people say to us,” the saleswoman replied.

“I’ve got half a mind to chase after her,” I said. Then I added, “But I won’t. Not worth it. Not the right thing to do.”

But then, I watched the woman walk back into the store. My mind spun.”Don’t do it, Barbara. You’ve never confronted a stranger in a negative way. You always behave calmly in these situations, despite inner turmoil.”

But that turmoil turned into tempest. A force took over!

I searched Kohl’s until I found the woman sorting through women’s tops. “Excuse me,” I said. “Could you tell me why I upset you?”

“I was conducting business,” she answered, her tone curt. “I was using my credit card.”

“But my items were heavy. I set them down at the very end of the counter.”

Short pause. Then: “That’s what carts are for.”

Speechless at her reply. Horrified that a fellow shopper could be so cruel, I walked away.

How did it feel to confront that scrooge of a woman?

Dramatic. It definitely had an element of excitement to it.

Did I feel empowered?

Kind of.

Did it help me understand her?

Yes. As much as I want to paint her as a creep, I realize she has skewed privacy issues. There’s no way my bad eyes could have read her credit card number from that distance or a phone camera capture the number on her card. I wish she’d left off her snarky cart line, but otherwise, I’ll chalk her up as someone who lives with a level of paranoia I’m glad I don’t have.

But I never, ever would have confronted her when I was younger.

Did menopause make me do it? Maybe.

What about you? Have you gotten braver or feistier as you’ve aged? Are you happy about it?

P.S. Now that I think about it, the woman seemed older than I am, so surely she’s been through the Change of Life. Maybe she was goodness and honey before! That, my Friends for the Ride, we will never know.