Wednesday, January 19, 2011



 That's sage in bloom in my herb garden from last spring.  Sadly I lost it last summer.  Have to begin again from seeds.

I have often been surprised by people telling me that they didn’t understand how I could be so disciplined in general, and, in particular, about getting my writing done. The fact is that I have strong desires. And I give them their head a lot. So I love to write, and I have built my life around that love. My approach to getting sick is to indulge myself before I get so sick that I can’t enjoy it. It saves time. If you get very sick, then you can do nothing and you have to work harder when you get well.

I try to make my life pleasurable. I give myself rewards if I need to do things I don’t much enjoy. Sometimes on weekends I make a dessert to have when I write, because it seems to help me write to feel self-indulgent. People who are dieting are urged to separate eating from activities. But if you want to write, you need rituals that are pleasurable around it. So I combine writing with food and drinks. I drink my morning coffee when I write in my diary. Or, on weekends, I might make one of the following desserts. Note that I make them healthy, too, so that my indulgence, though it feels wicked to me, is actually good for me. This is one of the many tricks I play on myself. But they work!

If you make banana bread, applesauce cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, try substituting for each cup of white flour, 2/3 cup of rye or whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of soy. You’ll need a little less than a full cup, because these flours (rye, whole wheat, soy) are heavier. I use this substitution in everything that has in it strong flavors, like chocolate, spices, etc. It also works quite well with muffins, banana bread, etc.

GINGERBREADBeat 1 cup of shortening (or butter or 3/4 cup canola or other vegetable oil), add 1 cup brown sugar, and blend, then 2 eggs, then 1 cup of molasses (black strap or cane). Separately sift and mix 2/3 cup of soy with 1 t. salt, 1-½ t. of baking soda, 1 t. ginger, 1 t. cinnamon. Mix this with 2-1/6 cups of rye or whole wheat flour. Then add in 3 parts, alternating with 1 cup of boiling water, stirring after each addition, to the shortening/oil mixture. Pour batter into a greased 12 x 16 or two 8 x 8 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes. Delicious warm or cold. Especially on a rainy day.

I want to thank my followers and those leaving comments to cheer me on.  A new venture is both exciting and at times overwhelming.  As to what I used to do when I awakened by hot flashes during the night, I would throw off the covers and go back to sleep.  By day, I'll take off the layers I needed to for comfort. 

But the biggest thing is seeing menopause  as normal and prelude to the best time in a woman's life, which in Russia they call the "baba summer."  You become a baba at 40.  Probably Americans at 50, kids raised, more time for us.  Their name for Indian Summer is Baba Summer.  Enjoy your baba summer, expect to live well, actively, healthily for a long time, and you probably will.  After the 20s, the rest of our lives depends on our attitudes, which goes for men, too.  Men welcome here, too.  Zest can begin for men, too, around 50.  Why not?  Judy Hogan


  1. Once more, I love the positive bent to your view of life. And the pleasurable rituals to writing. I've strayed from that. Having that coffee and half an English muffin while watching depressing news on TV.

    I like your ritual much better.

  2. I think I'm going to adopt your combining of writing time with coffee, dessert, tea, etc. I'm getting things done but it feels like I need to get a routine back wrt writing!

    Can I advertise a little here?

    I have two novels available on Amazon for Kindle - whether it's the Kindle e-reader OR the free Kindle software on your computer or smart phone.

    Would love to spread the word a little.

    So glad you have a blog, Judy. I know you have much of value to say.

  3. I'm glad my idea of combining pleasure with writing is interesting. We all need something to look forward to. Also I've gradually over the years spent less time learning about the daily news and events of the bigger world. I follow my county's news and get the gist of bigger events by email, but no listening to NPR or watching TV. It makes a more serene life. Judy Hogan