Grandmas Take Note: A New Picture Book about the Potty!


A post by picture book author and mother of four, Laura Gehl:

One of the things I am looking forward to about being a grandma is getting to revisit all the stages my kids have outgrown. Like the stage when a baby falls asleep on your chest. And the stage when a little one holds on to your hand and toddles unsteadily along. And the super-fun stage of potty training.

Wait. No. I’m NOT looking forward to revisiting that one. And I don’t know anyone who has enjoyed potty training the first or second time around.

But I am truly excited to have a new book out that might make potty training a little more fun for parents and kids alike: PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT USING THE POTTY.

In this book, the fourth in the PEEP AND EGG series, Egg is absolutely determined not to use the potty. And no amount of lemonade, running water, or toilet paper tutus is going to change her mind. Until things start to get a little uncomfortable….

Amazon Link: Here’s the link for PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT USING THE POTTY (which will  take you to Laura’s other wonderful books, too).

Giveaway: I’m giving a copy of the book to one lucky Friend for the Ride winner. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by March 20. Thanks!

Coloring sheets for this book, and all four Peep and Egg books, are available on Laura’s website:

Laura Gehl is the author of popular picture books including ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR (illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld), MY PILLOW KEEPS MOVING (illustrated by Christopher Weyant), and the PEEP AND EGG series (illustrated by Joyce Wan). Her next release will be I GOT A CHICKEN FOR MY BIRTHDAY (illustrated by Sarah Horne), a story about how an unexpected and unwanted gift may turn out to be the Best Present Ever! Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children. Visit her online at



Be Yourself-Everyone Else Is Taken

Do you like your name?

I’m not wild about mine. Didn’t like it at all when I was a kid. I’ve grown into it a bit. I do like that Barbara has lots of nicknames, and I’ve always admired Beaver’s mother, Barbara Billingsly. I think June Cleaver has lots more chutzpa then the world gives her credit for.

Barbara Billingsley

Sometimes, when I sign my name during a credit card transaction, I say to myself. “Slow down. Write your name with happiness and confidence. Be pleased and grateful for who you are.” So I write slowly:

Except that it doesn’t look as nice as that font because my handwriting isn’t great. In fact, I’m not happy with my handwriting.

Or my singing voice.

Or my dinner entrees (I’m better on side dishes).

Or my fingernails.

This takes us to the topic of self-esteem. They say menopause brings confidence once you get through the thick of it. I do find as I get older, my self-esteem is improving. And I’ve learned it’s okay to have lots of shortfalls.

Someone once asked my dad what his talents were. He answered, “I’m really good at edging flower gardens.”

I like that!

I can make a teddy bear talk like he’s the most fascinating bear in the world, and I know the names of all the state capitols.

Maybe that’s enough.

I snapped this photo in a funky coffee shop in Kentucky:



And check out this article on the Positivity Blog:  Tips on self-esteem.  

What about you? Are you happier with yourself than you were twenty years ago?

And do you like your name?

Top Photo:  I saw this sign in a Cinque Terre village on our trip to Italy. No clue what type of business it is.

Bottom Photo: I found this name bracelet among the treasures I saved when my daughter Laura was born. I wonder if hospitals nowadays give mothers such pretty bracelets.


Hormone Replacement Therapy: An Update from Science News


I received this note from the Society for Science & The Public on the topic of Hormone Replacement Therapy:

Hormone Replacement Therapy and how it impacts women’s bodies during menopause has been a longstanding debate. This week, Science News, features a piece called “Menopause Heats Up informing audiences about the biological workings of menopause and a discussion of the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy.

In this article, Science News cites a number of reputable organizations that stress the benefits of hormone replacement therapy on the surge of hot flashes that present during menopause, but ultimately suggests treatment is a unique personal decision for all women.

The article’s author, Aimee Cunningham, is the biomedical writer at Science News. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

Me again: The article is clearly written and helps dispel some of the incorrect assumptions made after the release of the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study. (My gynecologist called the day the study came out “A Black Friday for women’s menopausal health.”)

Do read Menopause Heats Up” to learn more about the pros and cons of HRT. So many women decide against HRT without really understanding the facts.

Follow Science News on Twitter.



Love Worth Making: A Book Review and Giveaway


Announcing Love Worth Making (St. Martin’s Press; February 13, 2018) by Dr. Stephen Snyder, a sex and couples therapist and psychiatrist featured on NBC’s Today, GlamourNewsweek, and Cosmopolitan.  Talk about a fun read! My favorite takeaway is that sex shouldn’t be difficult. Who knew? If sex feels like a chore or a hurdle, work to change things up. Adjust. Adapt. Chill. Relax. Dr. Synder tells you how. 

Here’s the scoop on the book in the words of the publisher:

For couples in long-term, committed relationships, a satisfying sex life can be elusive. Sex advice is plentiful, but it overwhelmingly focuses on techniques to spice up your sex life and make things “new” and “exciting.” What if, however, this advice fundamentally misunderstands the sexual needs of men and women in committed relationships?

In Love Worth Making, Dr. Stephen Snyder explains how a great sex life is possible when we connect deeply with our sexual feelings. A sex therapist with 25 years of experience, Dr. Snyder offers a game-changing approach to good sex in this lively and informative book.

Research from the Kinsey Institute suggests that 25% of American women in heterosexual relationships are markedly distressed about their sex lives. Love Worth Making uses stories from Dr. Snyder’s practice to illustrate how to make significant and lasting changes to your sex life. He also integrates the latest research on human sexuality in easily understandable terms. Dr. Snyder’s guidance will allow couples to understand and embrace their sexual feelings in order to have the best sex of their lives.

Like Mating in Captivity, Love Worth Making is destined to become a defining book on sexuality for couples of all ages and backgrounds.

 Giveaway: The publisher is offering a copy of Love Worth Making to one lucky Friend for the Ride winner. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by March 5. Thanks!

About the Author: Stephen Synder, M.D, is a sex and couples therapist, psychiatrist, and writer in New York City. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in New York City, and chairman of the Consumer Book Award Committee for the Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR). He has treated patients at his practice for 25 years, is a guest on major media outlets nationwide, and writes for Psychology Today and Huffington Post. He lives with his wife and children in New York City.

Author Photo Credit: Michael Benabib


The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Forty-one!

From Diane, comes the best ladies room view ever! Diane snapped this gorgeous picture in Revello, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast. 

Here’s the unisex door at Volume, a fun beer and record store (yes, records!) that just opened up in a restored old building in Hillsborough.

From Susan, Halloween doors at the IHOP in Chantilly, Virginia.

From Beth, Parallel 38 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The ladies room door:

AND, the heated toilet.

From Claire, Della Rosa’s Local Tavern in Bel Air, Maryland. The young woman on the door is Sallie Utz, the Utz Potato Chip Girl. Fellow Marylanders will recognize Maryland’s lovely flag in her hair bow.


The door for gentlemen features Natty Boh, the National Bohemian Beer mascot.

This one comes from Candace, who writes she found the door “somewhere in DC:”

Kathy took this at the Five Happiness Restaurant in San Francisco.

These huge letters grace the bathroom doors at Three Notch Brewery in Charlottesville, Virginia. We spent Thanksgiving there with daughter Kath and family.


From Jennifer, the sign by the First Ladies dresses at the Smithsonian. It made her think of the blog! Thanks, Jennifer. Wouldn’t this make a fun door for a ladies room in DC? What should the men’s room say?

There you have it. From Ancient Greece to Washington D.C., this wraps up another edition of Friend for the Ride’s ladies room door series. Thank you one and all!


Fiera: Help for Low Libido (and a Giveaway)


Here’s information from the makers of Fiera:

Fiera is the first of its kind, hands-free, personal care device for women that enhances physical arousal and interest in sex. Fiera was created with OB-GYNs and has multiple scientific studies showing it works. Fiera helps women who have changing levels of arousal, interest, and vaginal dryness, enter a sexual experience with enhanced levels of excitement and interest.

Fiera uses gentle suction and light stimulation to enhance blood flow and increase lubrication in advance of sex, in as little as 5 minutes.

Fiera is now available with and without a remote control to give you the fullest flexibility in choosing the experience that is right for you.

Note: Fiera is not a replacement for a vibrator as it is designed specifically to spark genital arousal and sexual interest.

Dr. Leah Millheiser, MD Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of OB/GYN and Director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University, writes: “Women can now warm up, before jumping right in. As we age, give birth and enter menopause, our hormone, estrogen and testosterone levels shift, causing up to three-quarters of women between the ages of 45 and 58—to experience a drop in libido and challenge arousal due to less sensitivity and blood flow to our lady parts. Don’t give up. Remember, we don’t give up reading when our eyesight gets worse, we get a pair of reading glasses.  Women can compensate by taking more time, energy, and attention to awaken or re-awaken lost sensations.”

Here’s the Fiera website, with lots more information.

Giveaway: The makers of Fiera are offering a device to one Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, enter a comment by February 20 or email me at the address on the right. Thanks!


Showtime for Mattie the Maid! (Almost)

Three years ago, I made my theater debut as Jeri Neal McFeeley in the Dixie Swim Club. I had a blast! You can read about it here.

This year, I’m Matilda, a member of the housekeeping staff at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Neil Simon’s California Suite. Our director, Lisa Woodward, was kind enough to add the part for me and my fellow actress, Susan. You can see some of our props in the photos.

What we do with those props during the play is a whole different story (and our secret for now). If you live in the area, do come to the performance. These are the showtimes:

Here’s the link to the Orange Community Player’s website, where you can buy advance tickets. (You only really need advance tickets for the Saturday night dinner theater.)

I haven’t gotten my costume yet, but my guess is that it will look something like this:

I’ve always hated making beds, but so far, making beds as Mattie the Maid is tons of fun. Just as long as I don’t trip and really break a leg…