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!


A-MAY-Zing: May 2014

May 1st, 2014

I love May! Not so much as October, but close. Who cannot love the beauty of the flowers and the trees that are blooming everywhere I look, from the ground to the sky? This basket of flowers in the early morning on someone’s steps caught my eye on a walk and the sun shining on the yellow flowers even showed up on the photo! In May the weather here is generally warm, but not hot, breezy but not too windy. Almost perfect! So calling this Home Page a-MAY-zing seems very fitting, since May does have a zing about her.

I checked the online calendar of events ( to see what holidays or happenings that are not religious in nature take place in May: Here’s the list:

1. May 1st- May Day

2. May 5th- Cinco de Mayo

3. May 6th- National Teacher Day

4. May 11th- Mother’s Day

5. May 17th Armed Forces Day

6. May 18th- Arbor Day in Israel

7. May 26th – Memorial Day

It is also National Date Your Mate Month, Foster Care Month, National Bike Month,National Blood Pressure Month, National Photograph Month, National Salad Month, Older American Month

and more on:

One item that both lists missed is National Mental Health Month, which, to me, is very important.

Here’s what says about this important issue:

“For 65 years, Mental Health America and our affiliates across the country have led the observance of May is Mental Health Month by reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings. The 2014 May is Mental Health Month theme is “Mind Your Health.” Our goals are to build public recognition about the importance of mental health to overall health and wellness; inform people of the ways that the mind and body interact with each other; and provide tips and tools for taking positive actions to protect mental health and promote whole health.”

This month I plan to review an “oldie, but goodie” cookbook that is still available. It is Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine and it is my “go to” cookbook when I need basic recipes. (I reviewed the Goldbeck’s book in 2008) I always make the cornbread recipe as a gluten free lunch or dinner bread because not only is it gluten free. It is very moist and cornbread is usually dry. The secret is the yogurt.

Spring also means sprouts and salads. I hope to remind you again of the value of sprouting and how it enhances your digestion and your menus. I will also link that to gardening in general, since this year I have a small garden plot that I can’t wait to sow and harvest.  Here are 5 reasons for gardening on your windowsill or backyard:

1. You can’t beat the taste of fresh foods grown in your own backyard (or a plot nearby, which I have rented with a friend).

2. You can’t compare the price of homegrown veggies and herbs with those in the supermarket or health food stores. Gardens win hands down!

3. The joy of growing your own food is priceless—you regenerate the soil and your soul at the same time, not to mention the added benefit of fitness with all the bending and weeding.

4. The purity of fresh foods grown organically and eaten the same day can’t be measured.

5. The opportunity for having a family project is a bonus. Get your kids and spouse or neighbor involved and share the “garden goodies.”

Since May is National Salad Month, I may pick my favorites from past recipes and post them for spring, as well as add one or two new ones. Spring salads are always welcome on my plate. Actually, I am workin on a black bean salad for Cinco de Mayo.


Here’s wishing you all an a-MAY-zing month.