Menopause Awareness Month: September 2014

August 31st, 2014

When a friend sent me this photo of a PMS license, I saved it for the right posting. And since September is Menopause Awareness Month (The official website for Menopause Awareness month (MAM) is: and this website was created just for the purpose of exploring menopause and beyond (and maybe a little before), I decided to give it TOP BILLING.

Let’s see if we can’t make this go from PMS to PMZ (post-menopausal zest) 24/7!

A new book by Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD called The Hormone Cure, is focused on this month’s featured topic & I hope to review the book this month. I am still working on the summer topic of Healthy Aging.  There is so much on this topic that I will continue posting so long as the info keeps flowing.

While shopping at Wegmans food emporium in Jersey last week, I read their fall bulletin announcing that September is also National Organic Harvest Month, also called Organic Food Celebration Month….. a perfect opportunity for me to write about going organic. Feel free to check out the Organic Consumer’s Association wonderful website:, a terrific organization to keep you posted on this important topic. I will post some of the info from their website throughout the month, but for now, remember the number 9, which is the first number on the bar code in the market for organic produce. OR visit your local Farmers Market and find a booth that uses no sprays or is certified organic.

This photo of fall veggies is a reminder to aim for:

1) Eating locally-grown organic foods or unsprayed foods
2) Eating foods in season as much as possible
3) Adding more fresh fruits & veggies in season to your menus


Of course, September has some other important events, both sad and glad. The main sad one is September 11th, now called Patriot Day, but we all call is 9/11. I found a website with great info that I will post the day before. Here is a visual & website from the website in case you want to check it out yourself. (

The calendar in which I found Patriot Day also notes that Sept. 21st is International Day of Peace. I clicked on the link and found this info:
International Day of Peace seeks to promote peace among nations and peoples.  It was established by the United Nations in 1981.  In 2002, the United Nations declared it a permanent holiday.   Through education and public awareness events, the UN endeavors to strengthen the ideals of peace among all of the world’s inhabitants.  International Day of Peace is observed on September 21st each year.  On this day, the UN urges all hostilities to stop, worldwide.  This would be a good day to take note, since there has been so much fighting in Israel and in Afghanistan. Here’s the direct link:  International Day of Peace.

This might also be a good opportunity to take a few moments of silence and just say to yourself: Peace! Peace! Peace! On August 8th I went to a small group setting to watch the peace conference generated by Deepak Chopra as part of a Bright Star event in Toronto, Canada. It was called A Global Meditation for Peace and I found it inspirational. Here’s the link to learn more:

September is also the beginning of the Fall Jewish Holidays. And since these holidays are always linked to food in season, I plan to post some recipes using seasonal foods. Here is a photo of a dish I made which I call Curried Calico Carrots, because I found multi-colored carrots in Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s. Since I love to cook with color, these carrots were a riot of colors that brightened my recipe. I added green beans for contrast.

Curried Calico Carrots & Green Beans

September is officially still Summer, although Fall is ushered in on September 23rd. So while fall is right around the corner, don’t rush into it. You can still enjoy some summer activities, like bike riding, swimming, hiking, and picnics or barbeques. In fact, this month when the kids are back in school, is a perfect opportunity to have some time to yourself and friends for these activities. Here is a photo from my patio to show you how lush my plants are well into the end of summer. When I step outside, my first thought at seeing these deep red plants we bought for $1.00 each at the Philadelphia Horticultural Plant Center is the theme song title from MONK: “It’s Jungle Out There!”

P.S. Indian Summer as defined by Wikipedia:

An Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather, occurring after the end of summer proper.  Enjoy!!!

P.S. posted on 9/21/14- I forgot to note that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month & a turquoise ribbon is the color for this serious and deadly cancer. Here’s a link to learn more:

Some Like it Hot! SUMMER 2014

June 1st, 2014

Today is June 1st, not yet summer, but already the kids are counting down how many school days are left and college grads, like my grandson, are already starting summer jobs, so summer is unofficially here, even if only in our minds.  As such, I plan to treat June, July, and August as one unit, so I can slide seamlessly from one month to the other with only one Home Page. Since I am working on a series tentatively called “Aging Well, if not Disgracefully,” that will be taking a lot of my time, so this is the Home Page until Fall. (I may add to it throughout the summer, though.)

High Line in Lancaster, PA

The picture above will be my “symbol” for summer, a time when clothes hung out to dry (in areas where is it not taboo), can be found in places like Lancaster, PA, if not Italy, where I first got the “laundry bug.”  Since my Italian laundry exhibit at Great Bay Art Gallery in Somers Point, NJ, last summer after the article “Italian Threads” appeared in Women’s Voices for Change (womensvoicesforchange.orgwvfcoretro-italian-threads-laundry-memories.htm), and followed by three of my photos at the Painted Bride Art Center right here in Philadelphia a couple of months ago, I have decided to resurrect my idea of having a photo-journal book on laundry.

To that end, I am requesting that anyone who also shares my love of laundry send me stories and/or photos for possible inclusion in my dream book on clothes lines.  I think laundry hanging in fresh air brings back the feeling of a simpler time in our lives and triggers nostalgic notions. I am also doing research on the history of laundry, generally “women’s work,” so we’ll see where that takes us in terms of any feminist issues. You can send your photos and essays to my email: Be sure to put the information you want as your credit line.

Here is a photo by Dana Lightman, whose photos from Italy are colorful and exciting!

During the next three months, I plan to feature summer recipes in which I may focus on a particular vegetable or fruit.  My first recipe will actually feature two veggies: arugula and fennel. The recipe was actually inspired by a salad I ate recently at a restaurant across the river from me in Cherry Hill, NJ. It had three basic ingredients–arugula, fennel, and slivered almonds and was so good I had to make it at home.

Bookwise, I have been doing reviews for Natural Awakenings, a local health magazine, for Square One Publishers, and for an online review company, so I am inundated with health books. I will probably make a couple of mini-postings, that is, brief paragraphs about the books. I also hope to share with you some of the movies and fiction books I have been reading, such as Chef (the movie) and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, a historical novel. She wrote Secret Life of the Bees and this one is equally spellbinding, especially since it is based on fact. There’s something about southern writers that attracts me to their books……

In fact, since CHEF is out now, I will include a synopsis below:

CHEF is about a man whose life is about food…and family.  He is separated from his wife and has one son, Percy, about 8 years old. After losing his job at a famous restaurant run by Dustin Hoffman, and losing his reputation because of his confrontation with the local restaurant reviewer, he takes his ex-wife’s advice and buys a food truck and goes on the road with one of his cooking buddies at the restaurant and his son. What ensues is a wonderful road trip across the country and the bonding between father and son.  Dad learns about the Internet from Percy and Percy learns about life through his father’s passion for creating and serving good food. It is a feel good movie with a happy ending and just what you need to start off the summer with an entertaining flick.  Don’t miss it!


One of my nicest “summer adventures” is being part of a community garden.  Down the street from me is St. Asaph’s Church, where every summer I see plants growing around the indoor perimeter of the stone wall surrounding the church, which sits on a corner. I recently found out almost anyone can purchase a plot for $40. I am sharing a plot with my neighbor and new friend, Nikki, who lives across the street from the church. I live down the block. We have already planted lettuce and other greens, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and a few herbs. (I also have my patio herbal garden, so I am in green heaven!) Here is a photo of Nikki in the garden. This is the day we planted many of the seedlings, so there is not much to see. Below is a photo of what I had planted a week or so before and already took some of the leaves.







When I went to Women’s Voices for Change I saw that Maya Angelou died this past week. Needles to say, she was one of my inspirations as a woman, a poet, a writer and an activist. She has left us a wonderful legacy with all her works. I met her many years ago when I lived in Williamsport, PA and Women’s Voices for Change also posted that article. here is the link:  This quote, which I found on the Internet is a wonderful tribute to her spirit, which will live in the hearts and minds of many of us who have enjoyed her books and embrace her philosophy.









Summer is also the time to unwind a little and enjoy the good weather, the not-dark-until-late nights, reconnecting with family and friends. Don’t spend all your time looking at your computer screen. Get out in the air and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. At my Douglass College reunion the other day, I went on a walking tour of Rutgers Gardens (See below) , which is actually more like a park. The greens and flowers were beautiful and it was nice to see so much grass and holly trees in a basically urban area. Get out in the “low” sun, garden, take walks, and relax on your patio or back yard with a book by Maya Angelou. It’s summer! Relax!

Here I am sitting in an over-sized Adirondack chair reminiscent of Lily Tomlin from Laugh In! (The director of the gardens who took us on the tour said he made the chairs, having been inspired by Laugh In!) I promise more photos of Rutgers Gardens’ greenery without me in the photo!