JANUARY 2015: Begin Anew

December 31st, 2014

Renee Locks is an artist and calligraphy whose work I love. Reprinted with her permission.
Here is her website: atelierrenee@sonic.net.
Also, if you Google her name, many sites will come up that carry her creative offerings.

The New Year offers us an opportunity to look back at what we accomplished in 2014 and what we still want to accomplish in 2015. So instead of New Year’s Resolutions, make a list with these two topics. Mine is beginning to look something like this, with the left side 2014 and right side 2015.

1. Entered Writing contest                                                      1. Investigate Master’s Writing Program @ Rosemont Coll.

2. Ongoing Rhyming Memoir                                                 2. Pursue new venues for freelancing

3. Received an iPad Mini for b’day                                        3. Learn to navigate iPad @ Apple store

4. Look for a place to stay in Calif. for winter 2016            4. Next trip to Calif. go by car to towns

I plan to add onto each of these columns to give me a sense of what I still want to accomplish. I will coached by Crista Nelson, a woman I interviewed this year. More as coaching begins in exchange for teaching Crista Ayurvedic cooking.

Ayurveda will be my health focus this year. If you go to my Nobody Eats Like Me using this link: http://www.menupause.info/archives/category/nobody-eats-like-me/, you will find many postings on this ancient Indian healing system.

To kick start the year I will review PranaMama’s booklet, which is a user-friendly beginner’s guide to Ayurveda.

As part of my Ayurvedic focus, I will be posting some recipes using Ayurvedic spices, such as I did last month on my Kitchari recipe. Here is a soup photo from my archives that I will remake with an Ayurvedic flavor:

Nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a wintry day!

On the website holidayinsights.com is a list of all the major events for January, which includes more than just New year’s Day. Here are just three January events from that website:

Jan. 5th: National Bird Day
Jan. 10th- Houseplant Appreciation Day  –    Bonsai’s make lovely houseplants>>>>>>>
January 31st- Chinese New Year



On another site, www.whathealth.com. there are several awareness categories for the US: Cervical Health Awareness, Glaucoma Awareness, National Blood Donor Month and Thyroid Awareness. However, since many of my readers are from outside the US, you may want to know that January 4th is World Braille Day and January 25th is World Leprosy Month.

I am also planning to launch an Etsy page with my tote bags. Here are some recent gifts that I have made and feel ready to put similar ones on Etsy for sale, one of a kind totes, pillows, wall hangings, etc. that can be made to your specifications. This is one I made for my niece which I call The Jungle Tote, front & back. One side is plainer and on the other I use crazy quilting, which resembles crazed pottery with no set pattern. You make the pattern as you sew…… challenging and exciting for me because I never repeat the pattern.

This side is just a quilted piece of jungle-like fabric with a pocket and Jane’s initial in ribbon.

The other side is a jumble of jungle prints with an inside pocket.      

Straps go over the shoulder; large snap closes the tote.

Buttons anchor the straps that are also stitched to the bag by machine.

If you are interested in having a tote, pillow, yoga bag, wall hanging, or cover for your   computer or iPad made for you, please email me at menupause.info@gmail.com for specifics. Prices start at $25 plus postage for small totes & iPad covers and $50 to $75+ for larger totes, plus postage and handling. Prices vary not only because of size, but also because of cost of fabric and trim. Here is the yoga I made for myself (with a small tote bag to match, not shown). Both have pockets:

So, as you can see, I am planning a challenge-filled new year and hope to keep you posted of my wins and losses. I may not accomplish everything, but I will give everything on my list an honest effort.

Finally, I may have arthroscopic surgery on my rotator cuff, which will put me out of commission for a few weeks, so you  may see some repeat postings and I will probably postpone the Etsy page until I can sew with both hands. But the preview above stills hold and I am giving my readers “first ups” on the list of purchases.

I want to wish all of you a fascinating, happy, healthy green-living New Year.



P.S. this was supposed to post automatically on Dec. 31st and did not, so excuse the delay.







Holiday Hype: November/December 2014

November 1st, 2014

This was supposed to post while I was away. Not sure how it slipped in today. I will re-post it on Nov. 1st

Solstice Tree from http://blog.revelsdc.org/2011/12/winter-solstice/

While I love Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, or whatever end of year celebration you choose, like the Winter Solstice Tree, I don’t like the hype that goes with some of these holidays. (Celebrating the Winter Solstice goes hand-in-hand with caring about Mother Earth) Even before Halloween is over, and definitely before Thanksgiving, all the December holiday paraphernalia is on display in stores and people start running around like crazy to find the right gift..

My focus will be on the importance of these holidays in light of the world around us, giving gifts of home made food, hand-crafted items, and finding items that may not cost much but are significant to the persons who will receive them.

A homemade pumpkin pie I made last year at the end of October. The gift of food is priceless!

Home baked goods and tasty food are always “in season,” so if you like to bake and cook, consider these as perfect gifts, especially to friends and family who do not have the time, energy or inclination to do so. Penny, my daughter-by-marriage now works full time but recently squeezed into her schedule a pot of chicken soup for a sick friend. It was greatly appreciated and something Penny knew would give her friend comfort.

An offshoot of this is MANNA’s yearly Pie in the Sky fundraiser. This non-profit organization that cooks meals for critically ill people bakes pumpkin and apple pies to sell, with the money going  to help fund their meals for the ill.  Find an organization nearby that does a similar fundraiser, or organize one with friends. I know, so many of us lead overly busy lives, and one more responsibility is the last thing we need. Then create your own way of giving that works within your time line and budget and send me your ideas.

As the end of the year looms in sight, many people make big plans for New Year’s Eve. I was never a big fan of this celebration, because I found that people had to drink in order to talk truthfully. However, this year I would like to couple the end of 1024 and the new year to come with more about Healthy Aging, since at New Year’s we are paying a great deal of attention to the passage of time.

During the summer I started a series on Healthy Aging and never posted everything I wanted to, so I will continue during these two months. I did review Growing Old is a Full Time Job by Susan Lieberman and this one on Death, Dying & Dessert is a perfect

follow up. We all leave this earth at some time and pretending this isn’t going to happen doesn’t make  it go away. This book will help with coping with end of life issues.

There are two more books I hope to review before 2015: Disease Proof by Dr. David Katz and Sex and the Seasoned Woman by Gail Sheehy. Stay tuned!

November is also Diabetes Month & I plan to give you an update on what I have been doing about the high level of diabetes in my own family.

There are other dates in November & December, such as  Election Day and Veterans Day, Great American Smoke Out, Poinsettia Day & Natural Fruitcake Day. I will highlight those I can fit in between health topics, reviews, etc. In the meantime, think about how you can make this holiday season meaningful and joyful.