Happy Fifth Anniversary, Friend for the Ride (and a Gift Card Giveaway)

Friend for the Ride started when my daughter Laura, low on cash in grad school, asked, “Is there something I can do for you to earn some money?”

I replied, “I’ll pay you to set up a blog site for me.” And she did! She’s a techno whiz, and she blogs herself at Taking Back my Twenties.

Is Laura still broke?

No Sign

Happily, no. And it’s a good thing because she has a baby on the way VERY SOON!

It’s been five years, do I still love blogging (after 650 posts)?

Another Yes

I love sharing my thoughts with you, posting sometimes useful information, and writing about life from a creative angle. I’m so appreciative to all of you for reading.

I’m always in need of guest posts. What should you write about? Sky’s the limit. Shoot me an email, and we’ll figure it out. Thanks! See the blog’s very first guest post here, written by my friend Susan Bellinger.

Do I plan to stop blogging any time soon?

No Two


Do I wish I had more readers?

I’d love more readers! The blog has not grown as I hoped it would, but my readership does increase slowly.

Does my family read my blog?

My mom did.That’s how she found out I was downsizing my Santa Claus collection. Mom was NOT happy. But she liked most of my other posts and even did a painting for this one. Cliff reads many of the posts. Not so sure about my girls…

Do I have a hard time coming up with topics for new posts?
No Three

This answer should really be “Sometimes.” But then a new idea will pop into my head, often inspired by a photograph. I took these signs on Bald Head Island. I thought they were vacancy/no vacancy signs until Cliff explained they are to signal if you have garbage to be picked up or not. Of course I could argue, most of us have some garbage…

Do I have a favorite post?

That would be like picking a favorite child, but the ones closest to my heart are those I wrote to celebrate or to face important moments:

The birth of my first grandchild.

The wedding of my daughter.

My cancer.

My mom’s death.

I appreciate the grittier and quirkier posts too, like this one about periods and cramps and romance and Smokey the Bear. I never would have guessed at age thirty that I’d one day write about personal body stuff. But once I start, it just sort of flows. (Yucky period reference somewhat intended).

Do I have a  favorite part of blogging?

Yes Six

I love uploading the photos and seeing how they look on the page. I love tweaking and editing. I love the moment a new post goes live. And I love getting comments and ladies room doors sent from all over the world!

Is there anything I hate about blogging?

No, but I’ve accidentally had posts go live when they weren’t finished. Talk about a panic!

 Am I going to do something special for this Fifth Blogging Anniversary?

Yes Five

Gift Card Giveaway: In honor of Friend for the Ride’s fifth anniversary, and because I’ve had fun shopping here for my new house, I’m giving away a fifty dollar gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by October 10.


Thank you again, one and all, for your support. Thanks to Healthline for putting me on your Best Blogs List; to those of you who wrote guest posts; to agent Erzsi Deak for encouraging me to write about menopause; to Cliff for photography help and pointing out typos; to my daughter Kath of Katheats, who models blogging with class and creativity; and thanks to Laura for expert help and for needing a few bucks. Now it’s time for me to spend some money on that baby of yours!



Menopause Cartoons Encore!

Skipping Periods


I had the best time writing menopause cartoons for Healthline. Here are three more!

Remember when you first learned about periods? That innocent little dot at the end of the sentence became the name for something a whole lot more intrusive in your life. The cartoon above is the wackiest one I wrote. Illustrator Julia Selutina did a wonderful job drawing that crazy skip rope.

Below, is a reference to brain fog. I had moodiness and sadness but don’t remember any really foggy days. What about you?

Weather Lady

But I definitely had klutziness. Here’s a short post I wrote about it in 2012. The health websites report that fluctuating hormones can affect body coordination. Yoga, an exercise I keep avoiding even though my friends swear by it, is said to work wonders for coordination.


So thanks for reading three more of my cartoons. Gotta laugh, some, at menopause. Gotta laugh, some, at everything!

Giveaway Winners!

Congrats to Greta, who won The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up.

Congrats to Silvia, who won Rhythms.

Congrats to Vickie, who won the Crila.

And congrats to Judy, who won DIYA: A Megawatt Approach to Change.


More Menopause Cartoons!

Hot Flash Stripper

Last February, Healthline asked me to come up with concepts for menopause cartoons. What fun! Illustrator Julia Selutina drew the whimsical characters and brought my cartoon ideas to life.

The cartoon above is one of my favorites because my mom’s good friend Kathleen Taylor actually came up with the idea, not me. Thanks, Kathy! She based it on the story of a friend, who in the middle of a hot flash, tore off all of her clothes.

Tampon Tree

I really did have a hard time deciding what to do with my remaining tampons. I wrote one of my first blog posts, “Toot-a-loo Tampons!” about the dilemma. You can read it here. I remember how nervous and bold I felt posting a picture of tampons online. Ha! Little did I know what else I’d write about on this blog.

Weather Lady

Speaking of the winds of menopause, a new reader, Michele, contacted me after finding my article on the Hormone Health Network. The article helped her realize that her emotional (and physical) issues were related to hormones, not larger health issues. Michele is doing well now and has a guest post coming up for us soon.

Even the worst hot flash or the grumpiest day is a bit lighter if we sprinkle in some humor. I had a great time coming up with these cartoon ideas. Thanks, Healthline!

Check out Healthline’s menopause articles, including this one on symptoms of menopause.


Check out the Hormone Health Network’s great resource, the Menopause Map that helps you explore your personal journey to menopause.



Boredom: Hot Water Heater Confession

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

My mom’s admonition. Woe to anyone in her household who dared complain of boredom.

Last week, thanks to an early March wind, I wimped out on my walk. My indoor tasks screeched boredom: gather tax stuff, answer emails, sort mail, and empty a suitcase.

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

No! Boredom is not allowed. Think, Barbara.

I began by washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees (to get it super clean), but I ended by dusting the hot water heater.

I dusted the blue metal top of the tank. Talk about dust…

Hot Water Heater

I dusted the pipe below.


I even dusted this yellow ticket.

I love hot water (who doesn’t?) I like spending time in the quirky pantry of my old kitchen. And I enjoy dusting when there’s so much dust you can write your name.

I don’t know if it’s truly intelligent to dust your hot water heater, but it sure zapped my boredom, and now, when I hear her whoosh on to heat another tank, I say to myself, “There goes the cleanest hot water heater on the block.”

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

Do good things come of boredom? Is it okay to be bored if that boredom motivates you to accomplish something new?

What about you? Has boredom led to happy moments or hours? To new projects or insights or service to others?



I’ve been hired to write humor on guess what subject? Menopause! Here’s a link to my first gig on Healthline.