Do Big Girls Cry?


As a little girl, I remember sitting on our back steps, sobbing about something.

“Dad,” my brother said, “can you die from crying?”

My father, perhaps fed up with my waterworks, answered,”I suppose you could.”

Instantly, I stopped crying.

But I can promise you a day or two later, I cried about something else.

Can you remember your cries? I can, lots of them.

A brother’s teasing. Anger at a parent’s restrictions. The friend fights. The cruel boss. The marriage conflicts. The loss of a pregnancy. The illness of a parent. The death of pet.

Sometimes we cry  for no precise reason, just because life piles up and topples over. Those cries often feel the best.

Can you remember the places you’ve cried?  I can.

On the floor by my bed at age ten. In the hall at high school, hoping no on noticed. In the shower in the dorm, where no one could notice. On a walk. In the car. The middle of the night on the couch, when the rest of the household is asleep.

When menopause set in, my crying stopped. Life was calm then, so perhaps that’s why, but for a while I thought it was the change in hormones.

And you know what? That lack of crying felt odd to me–almost like I’d lost a part of myself.

I shouldn’t have worried. Two years later, the tears came back. I don’t cry like a preschooler or a high schooler or a thirty-year old, but I’m back to crying if it fits the bill.

So I guess the answer is, big girls really do cry. And we’re glad of it! Crying has both psychological and physical benefits. Scientists promise us that tears have a happy purpose.

What about you? Do you cry more or less now that you’re older?

Here’s an interesting article about crying on the website How Stuff Works. The writer points out that many men find themselves starting to cry at midlife. Scientists suspect this is a lowering of testosterone combined with the lack of inhibition that can strike when men are in their fifties and sixties.

Photo: I snapped this photo when I toured the Durham Performing Arts Center a few years ago. I wrote about the tour on this Friend for the Ride post.  I suspect the signatures are members of the Four Seasons. Love this song!


March On!


When the women’s movement ramped up in the sixties, my mom embraced it. Her enthusiasm helped me champion women’s rights too. Years later, I made certain my own daughters understood the women’s movement. I wanted them to really get that life had opened up for them thanks to the women who fought in decades past.

Of all the photos from Saturday’s marches, this is my favorite. My friend Lindsley went to D.C., bringing with her four kitty hats made by another Hillsborough friend. She gave two of the hats to sisters riding the metro with their mom en route to the march. What a story they’ll tell of their day in Washington. Girl power! Women power! March on!

In case you missed the collection of photos put together by the New York Times, here they are, from sea to shining sea and across the world.




The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Czech Republic Edition


In October, Cliff and I took a trip to Austria and then met up with Dr. Ken Ostrand. Ken led us on a tour of Kutna Hora and Prague. Our journey to the Czech Republic was a trip of trips, with some of the most creative ladies room doors I’ve ever found.

These green doors grace the Restaurant Kometa in Kutna Hora.


Here I tasted spiced lemonade


and fried cheese, which was delicious, but I’m not sure it’s what the doctor would have me order.


Here are the doors at Harmonia, where our group dined our first night in Kutna Hora.



I was charmed by the interior of the ladies room. Great colors!


And funky green paper towels.


The view from our hotel.


My traveling companions soon learned of my ladies room door mission and pointed them out to me. Erikca ate lunch at the Villa U Varhanare and discovered this seated little lady.


Not sure where I found this silhouette with the pony tail.


This is the door at the Medieval Silver Mine. I was pleased to traverse the low and narrow passages of the mine without incident, but what an awful life those miners led. At least, as our guide pointed out, the miners were well paid.

Inside the ladies room, I found this notice near the toilet. I don’t speak Czechoslovakian but figured out what the sign means by the word “hygienicke.”


Late one night, Cliff, Ken, and I went for beers at the Restaurant Dacicky. This painting on the bar’s door stopped me in my tracks. The colors and whimsical design reminded me so much of my mom’s art.


The restroom doors have an upbeat folk art style to them too.

On to Prague! On our first evening there, a few of us went to the Hibernia. I made the trek downstairs to this ladies room. What a find!




They even have artwork in the stalls.

I was in dessert heaven when I came back upstairs.


Our group enjoyed lunch at the Lobkowicz Palace Restaurant. The restaurant features ornate decor, including the ladies room door.

Not sure where I found this stylish lady with a feather in her cap.


Or this simple outline of a woman.20161005_122606

We had a festive group dinner at Kotleta on our last night. Ken had checked out the restaurant ahead of time. “You follow the green line to the ladies room,” he said beforehand. I wondered what he meant.

Sure enough, this line on the floor lights the way to the restrooms, which are downstairs.



With a touch too much Czech beer, it can take one a second to figure out which door is which.

The ladies…


And the men’s.capture

I loved our time in the Czech Republic. I especially appreciated the architecture and the history and the chance to observe what life was like in a place that not so long ago was a Communist nation.

And I got a kick out of how brave and strong the women sound when they speak. Cliff jumped when a woman fussed at him for taking a photo of the bread display in a grocery store. We have no idea why photos aren’t allowed, but he took no chances disobeying a voice that strident.

But back to the doors. Anyone have a favorite of the ones I’ve shown you? Mine is the green door at the top. That woman has style, and she’s merely striking a pose. Now that’s confidence!


The MonaLisa Touch


Mona Lisa Touch® is a laser treatment for improving vaginal health. This innovative technique can help restore intimacy in the lives of menopausal women. Here’ s information provided by Mona Lisa Touch for Friend for the Ride readers:

Finally, women have a clinically proven treatment that works to address the painful symptoms of menopause, which affect intimacy.  MonaLisa Touch is an innovative laser therapy that delivers fractional CO2 laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue to promote vaginal mucosal revitalization.  The MonaLisa Touch procedure is easy, safe, gentle and effective. In just three 5-minute, in-office treatments, which require no anesthesia and are virtually painless, women can get back their smile and quality of life.

How does it work?

  • The MonaLisa Touch fractional CO2 Laser delivers controlled energy to the vaginal tissue which generates new collagen and increased vascularization, thus restoring vaginal health.
  • Patients receive three 5-minute treatments, at six week intervals, with a recommended annual follow-up treatment.*
    • *Your doctor will determine if follow-up treatments are required.

 Who can benefit?

  • The MonaLisa Touch is appropriate for any female experiencing the painful symptoms of menopause, including issues with intimacy, as well as those who are experiencing a change in their vaginal health as a result of a hysterectomy or breast cancer treatments.

Where is it available?

  • The laser therapy is available at OB/GYN, Urogynecologist, and Urologist offices, as well as top medical institutions across the country.
  • For more information and to find a doctor in their area, consumers can visit

Has MonaLisa Touch been clinically studied?

  • There are fifteen (15) published studies, as well as numerous ongoing studies.
  • A multi-site study was conducted by two renowned Urogynecologists in the US who are leading experts in the field of vaginal health.
  • The trial assessed the use of fractional CO2 laser therapy on 30 women with vaginal health issues.
  • All 30 patients in the study experienced a positive result with many having complete resolution of their symptoms.
  • Study results include: 1) Initial symptom improvement almost immediately following the first treatment. 2) No side effects or adverse reactions, and patients showed an escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment.

How much does it cost?

  • Patients should contact their healthcare professional for additional information on the treatment.
  • The MonaLisa Touch is offered to patients as a cash paid treatment.

 Here are the results of a study on the effectiveness of MonaLisa touch from the NIH website.

The findings of the women’s Empower study were just announced at the meeting of the North American Menopause Society. Women are still uninformed about safe and effective treatment for vaginal issues in menopause. Read more about the study here. 

This video explains the Mona Lisa Touch procedure: 

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by MonaLisa Touch, and I received compensation for this post. While I have no personal experience with MonaLisa Touch, I strive to present information on current treatments for conditions affecting menopausal women.


Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom–A Book Giveaway



Teacher and healer Acharya Shunya explains the science, tradition, and practice of Ayurveda. I loved the stories passed down from Baba, the author’s grandfather. And who could resist the recipes for body scrubs and facial cleansers! Here’s a description of the book and its wisdom:

Ayurveda is founded on the belief that true health is everyone’s birthright—and that each of us is a self-healing entity who can use nature’s abundance to restore and renew ourselves.

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom is a breakthrough book for yoga practitioners, spiritual seekers, and anyone ready to learn a “doable” approach to this time-tested art and science of health and well-being. Internationally renowned for her ability to make Ayurveda accessible and practical for Western audiences, Acharya Shunya presents a narrative-based guidebook that meticulously covers the how-to’s of morning and evening self-care, daily contemplations, self-massage and skin care, cooking (including recipes), beauty rituals, and more.

“To rid ourselves of the suffering that afflicts the body, mind, and soul, what we need is an affirmative knowledge of life and how to live it in alignment with nature,” writes Acharya Shunya. Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom opens the gates to this profound knowledge.

Giveaway: The publishers of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom sent me a copy to review and are offering a copy to one of you.To enter, please leave a comment by February 1. U.S. only. Thanks!


Meet the Author: Acharya Shunya is an internationally recognized spiritual teacher, ordained lineage holder, and authoritative scholar of the Vedic Sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta.

“Acharya” is a customary title earned from traditional schooling in India and meaning “a master spiritual teacher who teaches not only by word, but through role modeling,” which Shunya earned after 14 years of study. Described by her students as a truth teller and an awakener of health and spiritual consciousness, she is known for her embodied wisdom, impassioned knowledge, unique self-expression, and inspirational style of teaching.

In 2007, Acharya Shunya founded Vedika Global, a spiritual foundation in northern California, with a wisdom school, illuminating the sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta. Here, Shunya leads regular satsanghas, where she expounds upon rare spiritual insights and the non-dual meditation tradition from Vedic and Upanishadic scriptures as well as awakening spiritual practices.

Acharya Shunya personally mentors and supports Vedika graduates who are teaching Ayurveda lifestyle courses at Stanford University’s Health Improvement Program and in schools in Coimbatore, India. She also supports graduates leading Ayurveda staff trainings in California probation departments.

In 2015, Shunya was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Trailblazers in Yoga and Ayurveda” by Spirituality & Health magazine.

For more information, please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter 

Barbie! And Me (and You): A Giveaway Too!

Menopause shocked me. How could so many years go by that fast? Even more shocking is that my Barbie would be well into menopause now too. Wow.

I found her under the tree Christmas morning of second grade, along with a bright red case. And Ken!

When I opened the case a few weeks ago, the years vanished. My favorite dress.

Another favorite. When my girls got into Barbies, I noted right away that the Barbie clothes of my generation were better made and more generously cut.


Here’s Barbie’s babysitting apron. I hated babysitting. Not sure the apron influenced me.


I tried my hand at candystriping later on and wasn’t a fan of nursing either. Barbie’s nursing cape and cap didn’t convince me.


And that gets to the point that many argue about the doll: Does Barbie influence girls?. Does  her fab figure make young women feel they need the same shape?

I’ve pondered the impression Barbie made on my body image. I wasn’t a kid who was anxious for makeup. Bras. Periods. Perhaps that’s why skinny Barbie and the world she lived in left little mark on me. (But clothes and fashion magazines most likely did, as I’ve faced body/weight issues like most of us have.)

And here’s Ken. I don’t remember giving him much thought in terms of future boyfriends. Cliff though, happens to have a raincoat very much like Ken’s. Does that count?


Barbie and Ken both came with tennis outfits. I ended up loving tennis, so perhaps that’s where Barbie influenced me the most.


Bravo to Mattel for letting Barbie take on a multitude of careers over the years and for introducing Barbies in many ethnicities. 

Here’s more news. Time Magazine announced in a recent article: “For 57 years, the world’s most famous doll has been stick thin, setting an  unrealistic–and studies show, damaging–beauty standard for generations of young women. That all changed in January (2016) when Mattel, faced with slumping sales, decided to make Barbie look more like the girls who play with her.” Barbie now comes in three new body shapes–petite, tall, and curvy.


My great-aunt and grandma called me “Barbie” when I was little, not because of the doll but because Barbara is my name. That still didn’t make me relate to Barbie any better. I never loved her like I loved my baby dolls. But opening the case a few weeks ago and studying her face, her figure, her clothes and accessories, and her boyfriend Ken made me so happy I saved them all these years. That’s love, isn’t it?

What about you? Were you a Barbie girl? Did she affect your thinking in any way?

For some more Barbie blasts from the past, check out this Etsy site.

Giveaway: I’m giving away a curvy Barbie. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by February 1. The dress is a nod to the sixties. Maybe the shoes are too!