At Last Naturals: A Giveaway!

Information and a great giveaway from At Last Naturals:

At Last Naturals is a line of all natural menopause relief products and skin care products. Founded by a pharmacist over forty years ago, and run today by his daughter, At Last Naturals products provide natural support to women as the experience biological changes with its Wild Yam Gel, Vaginal Replenishment Gel and MSM Soap (amazing for anti-aging).

Giveway: All Naturals is offering a giveaway to two lucky Friend for the Ride winners. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by July 15. Here’s the scoop on the prize:

Win our Menopause Essentials Package. At At Last Naturals we believe in helping you balance your hormones, naturally. Two lucky entrants will win
  • 1 x Wild Yam Cream with Vitamin E
  • Vaginal Gel

Thanks All Naturals! Check out the At Last Naturals website here.


Cucumber Clothing: A Giveaway!

A post and a wonderful giveaway offer from Cucumber Clothing:

If you haven’t met us already, Cucumber Clothing is a brand new collection that harnesses high tech fabric innovation to great style and design.

Our USP lies in our intelligent fabrics which move moisture up and away from the body at speed, have anti-microbial (odour killing) nano-technology, keep you dry and fresh, last six times longer than cotton and are beautifully soft and gorgeous to wear.  #nosweat!

Giveaway: Cucumber Clothing is giving away a dressing gown to one lucky Friend for the Ride reader.Here’s the scoop on this cool gown:

Our beautiful ¾ length cut kimono style dressing gown has a clever inner tie which means you’ll never have to leave it all hanging out.  We made it for those days when, quite frankly, dressing is one step too far. We think it keeps you looking smooth on the outside and utterly relaxed and cool on the insideAnd, shh, we’ve noticed that some people are wearing  these out and about as a stylish long cardi too! You may choose navy or silver.

For a chance to win, please enter a comment by June 20.

Read good news about menopause and Cucumber Clothing.

Learn lots more about Cucumber on their website.

Check out their informative blog.


Thanks, Cucumber!



A Friend for the Ride Makeover

My blog has a new look!

I’ve been blogging since 2011, so it felt time for an update. Thanks to daughter Laura for major design help.

This is post number 788 on Friend for the Ride. Phew! That’s a lot of words and photos. I thank all of you, new followers and old, for reading my posts and the posts written by my guest bloggers.

I’m taken up acrylics, so I wanted the header to show my paintings and also two of my own photographs. We’re still tweaking, but thanks for taking a peek.

Happy Sunday!



Book Friends: Laura Ingalls Wilder

A post by writer and reader Carynne McIver Button:

The summer I was five years old, my best friend was named Laura. She lived in a cozy cabin in the woods and, like me, she loved to play outside. She had adventures I had never imagined, such as seeing wolves on a prairie, helping to cut hay, and traveling in a covered wagon. Laura even inspired me to name my favorite doll after her own–Charlotte. Laura was the first of many “book friends” I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life. Since then, there’s been Lizzie, Anne, Scarlett, Lucy, and Claire (plus lots of real life ones!).

But Laura Ingalls was the original and always holds a special place in my heart. Even though she was shaped by words on a page, she was not a flat character. Laura was spunky, curious, occasionally jealous, and (usually) helpful for her parents. From her many stories, I learned the proper way to bale hay (and jump on it afterwards), how to efficiently pack a covered wagon, what it takes to live in a dugout, and how a china shepherdess can turn a house into a home. Sometimes the exciting moments in Laura’s life seemed dull when I attempted to recreate them (apparently molasses poured on snow is not nearly as delicious in the 20th century). Others–like Pa’s fiddle music in the prairie twilight–are memories I never experienced but for which I still feel deep nostalgia.


I have reread Laura’s books countless times throughout my life, returning to them when I felt homesick or missed the comfort of an old, familiar friend. Laura’s values of simplicity, a sense of home, and wonder in the natural world have shaped my own life. As a college student in Massachusetts, I even had my mom send me my worn copy of The Long Winter just to help me get through a March in New England!


I recently read Prairie Fires, a new biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder written by Caroline Fraser.


The book was fascinating and illuminated many of the difficulties Laura left out of her books–including significant debt, government support that dispels the myth of “self reliance,” and Laura’s own complicated relationship with her daughter and editor. My book friend Laura has always been different from the author Laura whom I admire, so these stories didn’t cause any harm to our friendship. Rather, they helped me understand more about how my friend came into being and why she still means so much to readers like me.

When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I inherited a figurine she often kept on her bookshelf. I had seen the graceful, barefoot woman for years, but when I took her home for myself I realized I had my very own china shepherdess. I placed her on my mantle and I knew I was at home. She lives just a few feet away from my original well-loved copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

Carynne McIver Button is a grant writer and book lover living in Durham, North Carolina. When she needs a break from words, she enjoys yoga, gardening, and hiking with her husband Garrett. Visit her website



Eyes: My Macular Hole

I saved this cartoon to go along with an easygoing post about eyesight as we age. Wow. Life gives us twists, and now my eye issues aren’t so easygoing.

They began when I realized my cute over-the-counter reading glasses were no longer strong enough. I went to the eye doctor, a bit nervous abut the exam. My dad had glaucoma that came on in later life.

The doc pronounced my eyes fine, although I do need to be monitored yearly for glaucoma. I picked out cute blue glasses.

But in the time between my eye exam and picking up the finished glasses, I noticed that my eyes seemed to be jumping around. Using the computer became difficult. Letters were slightly out of place. I had trouble getting a comma where it’s supposed to be. Cliff pointed out typos in Facebook posts.

Although it was hard to determine definitively,the problem seemed to be with my left eye. It felt like it was running up a hill and couldn’t  catch up with the right one. I have an astigmatism and google told me that asigmatisms get worse with age. Could that be the trouble?

A few days later, I got my new glasses. Love how the magnetic sunglasses snap on as if by magic.

The glasses definitely helped me read, but the text still seemed jumpy. Friend and blog reader Stephanie works at my eye doctor’s practice. She quickly set me up for another appointment.I hoped they could simply tweak my prescription and all would be well.

At the appointment though, things went south when the technician said, “Mrs. Younger, I’ve tried a weaker lens and a stronger one. Neither works. The problem is with your eye.”

They dilated my eyes and took lots of pictures. The doctor asked me about my health, especially diabetes. I finally spoke about my deepest fear: “I’m concerned the problem could be neurological.” I knew that a lot of serious brain issues, such as tumors, first manifest themselves through failing eyesight

“The problem is definitely not in the front of your eye. We’ll start with the back of your eye and then go further back if we need to.”

“Further back” meant beyond my eye and possibly into my brain.

They took more pictures  on two different machines and found this. A hole in my retina.

It may sound odd to be relieved you have a hole in  your eye, but I was. The doctor was too.  “I’m glad we found this,” he said, looking at the film again. “I don’t like mysteries.”

Next step was a retina specialist.

The next day, at the specialist, they flashed a zillion lights in my eyes. Over and over again I was asked to look up, look to the high right, look to the side ride, etc. (My eyes were sore for several days afterwards.)

Next they gave me an IV and injected dye into my arm. This turned the world a lovely rose for a few minutes as they took more pictures. (I later read the dye tests for eye tumors and circulation issues. Yikes!)

When the testing was over, Cliff and I waited for the doctor in her examining room, Cliff studied the eye charts on the wall. “The eye sure is fascinating,” he said with enthusiasm. At that moment, I wasn’t so sure.

After the doctor spent a long time looking at my eyes, she gave me the official diagnosis: a macular hole. She said twice during the discussion, “You did nothing to cause this, and you could have done nothing to prevent it.”

As we age, the vitreous fluid pulls away from the retina. If you’re unlucky, it takes a bit of the retina with it. Read more here.

Here’s  a grid you can use to test your own eyes. I wish I had known about this six weeks ago. When I look at the grid with my right eye, the lines are straight. When I look at it with my left eye, the eye with the macular hole. they’re wavy.

I’m able to wait until after the family beach trip to have the surgery, which is called a “vitrectomy.”  The doctor will inject a gas bubble into my eye. Somehow, as the bubble dissipates, it causes the hole to close up. At least this works in ninety percent of the cases.

For a week after the surgery I’ll need to keep my head down for 45 minutes out of every hour. You can rent special equipment such as this chair to make the process more comfortable. This chair was NOT in my decorating plan for our new house.

The surgery may not restore my vision in that eye, but it should prevent the hole from growing and hopefully, stop my eye from jumping around. The procedure will cause the eye to grow a cataract, so a few months after the surgery, I will need cataract surgery.

I plan to blog about the experience just like I did my endometrial cancer. 

Keep your eyes open. More to come!