June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider

I just learned that this month is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Not so coincidentally, I have been reading two books that address these issues. Here are two mini-reviews, which I will follow up with a focus on food and the brain in a future posting.

Having watched Dr. Amen on PBS with his talk on memory and mental health (“Memory Rescue”), I decided to read some of his books. (The inside of the book lists 20!) The first one is Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, which was first published in 1994 and has been updated twice. Dr. Amen is a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain-imaging expert who heads the world-renowned Amen Clinics. His website is www.amenclinics.com, which contains information and resources for optimizing your brain.

Part One introduces the reader to brain imaging, his specialty I believe. Just as a medical doctor uses tests (X-rays, CT scans, etc.)  to “see” inside a patient’s body, Dr. Amen uses single photos emission computed tomography (SPECT) to “see” inside a patient’s brain. This section also includes 12 principles to change your brain as well as your life. Here are a few, in the author’s own words, with photos of the brain using SPECT:

Your brain is involved in everything you do and everything you are….
Your brain is the most amazing, energy-hungry organ in the universe.
Looking at the brain gives us the opportunity for many powerful insights not possible by just listening to symptoms alone.

Part Two discusses and explains the brain systems themselves and looks at love and depression, anxiety and fear, worry and obsessiveness, boosting memory, and much more. This is a very comprehensive section.

Part Three is called The Brain Warrior’s Way and includes The Brain Warrior Diet. He lists 52 Brain Superfoods, which I will post separately in a few days, because the list needs its own posting. Continue reading “June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Two Books to Consider”

Diane Mattis: Passionate Artistic Photographer & Flower Gardener

My Note: When I was substituting in Lower Merion several years ago, I worked with a terrific member of the food team: Candice. Recently she dropped off a beautiful greeting card featuring a flower on the cover by Diane Mattis, with a note inside suggesting we get together. Turns her next door neighbor, Diane, has a dense backyard garden bursting with flowers that I wanted to photograph for Menupause. The three of us got together a few days ago at Diane’s densely populated flower garden and had a wonderful “girl talk” visit on the porch overlooking the garden. Here is a photo of Diane that she created with flower petals from her garden. BTW: This is my second posting for P.I.C. [Product Information Corner.]

I took photos of Diane’s flowers, but realized that her photos were far superior to mine. And she creates floral designs that become the front of her hand-made greeting greeting cards that you can purchase to use as personal note cards or greeting cards, since they are blank inside. I still snail mail greeting cards, so I bought a set of five for myself!

Here are two photos with a black background that she will make into (white) greeting cards of heavy stock. Some have poems or sayings in calligraphy:


This duet of irises (above) is on a white background for a greeting card, while the one below is completely covered by the flowers with the music symbol superimposed. On a post-it note to me: … for the “”musically-oriented on a white greeting card.




Here are couple of Diane’s photos of singular flowers, instead of an arrangement, a Parrot Tulip on the left and the center of an iris. She seems to capture the essence of each flower, each one more beautiful than the next.




I love Diane’s cards! If you want to order your own cards chosen from hundreds on file on her dining room-turned-greeting card-inventory, here is her artistic business card. Her Botanical Images are beautiful! (Tell her you saw this info on Menupause.)

Feel free to contact her at:



P.S. After putting this piece together, I found a quote from one of the animal rights organizations. It uses gardening to describe people who bring us happiness:

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

– Marcel Proust