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

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.

OCTOBER 2014: Fall Fever!

October 1st, 2014

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Nathanial Hawthorne in PHL Inq. 9/29/14 (Cryptoquote)

I took this photo this past week-end at Laurel Hill Cemetery, which is a national landmark. For more pictures that I posted on the first day of autumn, go to my link:

Once again we come to October, the month I wait for all year. Instead of getting Spring Fever, I get Fall Fever! (See poem below). But October has many important dates on the calendar to write about, from Breast Cancer Awareness Month to Halloween and World Vegetarian Day—- today.  Because all my recipes are meatless, I celebrate World Vegetarian Day everyday!

Hopefully, some of my recipes are tempting enough for you to try, even if you are not a vegetarian. Here is my photo of delicata squash I made as part of featuring round foods for the Jewish New Year, which is still being honored during the 10 Days of Awe between Rosh Hoshana at the end of September and Yom Kippor on Friday night, October 3rd.

The recipe will appear in a few days.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its pink ribbons is a controversial month for me, because the hype generated by some organizations does not address the root causes of many environmental cancers. Breast Cancer Action does, and more of that during the month. Here is their logo and website:

I spotted this tree-hugging ribbon last week while on a business trip about one hour from Philadelphia, which I suspected was for September’s Ovarian Cancer Month Awareness. And it was. Here is the website:  The website is worth a look.


WORLD FOOD DAY Is Thurs. Oct. 16th. This video my friend Jackie sent me is worth looking at because it addresses food and the homeless:

This will touch your heart.  Please don’t miss it.

More on World Food Day mid-month. es

Halloween is also one of my favorite holidays because it comes in fall and I love getting dressed up in costume, although I have not done that for years. At the cemetery we visited over the week-end, there will be a Halloween tour at night when all the staff are in costume. Maybe I should dress up and go, too! Here is a photo from the entrance inside the gates:

Because of Jewish Holidays and Fall Fever (see poem below), I am a little behind in my research for October, so I will leave you with my rhyme and hope to get caught up before leaving for Seattle for a family function at the end of October. Fall always seems so busy!!!

Fall Fever

The leaves are barely turning, yet my fever has begun!
I feel October’s yearning, as I bask in the late-day sun.

Summer makes me sweaty; winter makes me whine.
Spring brings on a smile, but Fall Fever is divine.

My fever brings me pleasure, I’m eager every year
to enjoy autumn’s treasure, and when it’s gone—a tear.

Each season has its place, but my heart belongs to Fall.
A feeling I cannot cure, Fall Fever says it all!

(There was a quote by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) in the Phila. Inq. the other day that reflects my feelings about fall …. if she were a bird,
she “would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” My dream vacation is to travel down the East Coast from Canada to Tennessee, following flaming foliage all the way down!

I took this photo from the car last week to show how the leaves are just beginning to turn.

P.S. Last week Women’s Voices for Change published my article on divorce and when you know you made a mistake. Here’s the link: If you have the chance, please read &leave a comment on the website.

Also, Deborah Harkins wrote a wonderful review of Gail Sheehy’s new autobiography. I read the book & found it riveting! Here’s the link to that review:
Currently, I am reading Sex & the Seasoned Woman by Sheehy & will comment on both soon.

P.P.S. October 9th is my 10th wedding anniversary to my second husband Alan, so I plan to have something to say about marriage the second time around. Naturally, I chose October for our wedding.