Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Eliminate The Deluge of Catalogs

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , at 8:00 am by Elaine Petrowski

once and for all.

Who doesn’t want fewer catalogs cramming the snail mail box? Especially when it means less weight to haul to the curb in the recycling bin, less junk mail (a.k.a.” promotional material”)  to wade through and maybe one or two trees saved in the process.


I'm still working on the pile that comes to our house, but it's definitely smaller.

Take a few minutes to go to Catalog Choice. (If you don’t have time now to enter the required data from your catalog covers, tear the covers off and save to do some  afternoon when real work has no appeal.)

I first visited this well-organized, easy-to-use site in March ’08 and since then have requested that 51 (!) companies eliminate me from their mailing list. Not all retailers “participate,”  as the site politely phrases it, so there were three companies who wouldn’t take me off their list. But 19 have complied and 20 some odd more are pending. FYI: I was so totally ticked off at the three who wouldn’t remove me that I used the phone numbers provided by Catalog Choice to call and verbally accomplish the opt out. (Must have been a slow work day.)

If you are receiving multiple catalogs from the same company, or if the unwanted catalogs continue several months after you register your opt out at the site, recheck that you have entered your name exactly as it appears on the mailing label, i.e. Ann Brown, Ann B. Brown, AB Brown etc.

Which reminds me. Be patient. It can take a few months for the opt out info to reach the powers that be at the catalogs.

here’s their mission statement from the site:

The mission of Catalog Choice is to reduce the number of repeat and unwanted catalog mailings, and to promote the adoption of sustainable industry best practices. We aim to accomplish this by freely providing the Catalog Choice services to both consumers and businesses. Consumers can indicate their mail preference for catalogs, and businesses can receive the list in a secure manner so that they can efficiently honor the requests.

And now that you have the good news, please pass it on.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , at 8:24 pm by Elaine Petrowski

What are you grateful for?

for the thanksgiving table

on our Thanksgiving table

Here’s a fun way to wile away a few minutes just before drifting off to sleep the night before Thanksgiving, or any other night, for that matter. Try coming up with an alphabetical list of things you are grateful for.

Don’t think too hard. Just mentally stroll through the alphabet and write down the first thing, or things, that pop into your head.

Here’s my list: Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Took Thanksgiving Off the Table?

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , at 7:58 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Is it my imagination, or are we rushing the Christmas thing just a bit more than usual this year?

I first noticed it the day before Halloween, when I visited a local nursery to find some pumpkins and gourds… and they were gone. Everyone who was working there was too busy to stop and ask me what I was searching for. They were all unpacking cartons and decorating Christmas trees …. on October 30.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proof of a recession?

Posted in Life tagged , , , at 7:53 pm by Elaine Petrowski

I live in an affluent town in Bergen County, New Jersey that’s known locally as a shopper’s dream destination. Great for the business owners, but annoying as hell if you live here and must pick up a prescription or get to your haircut appointment on time. (And yes, I do make every effort to support the local businesses and stay “off the highway”.)

The town is attractive and features a walkable shopping district with several one-of-a kind gift and specialty shops, boutique clothing and jewelry stores, chains like Gymboree, Chico’s and the Gap, and the ubiquitous Starbucks, along with far too many restaurants, nail salons and banks.

The resultant shopper’s congestion and snarl are so time-consuming that I’ve long considered errands in town, especially at lunch time or on weekends, a kind of hell-on-earth. Real-life rule #39: Any errands I carry out in my hometown must be conducted during the week, preferably in the hours before school lets out, when the fleet of moms in their  huge SUVs, who insist on driving while talking on their (illegal) hand-held cellphones (another topic), are still at home or at work.

This much-exalted consumer’s mecca has been not-quite-served by insufficient metered street parking, several municipal parking lots, and on busy weekend nights, valet parking for the restaurants. On a busy day, especially around the lunch hour, it’s not unusual to drive around the block four or five times, or to sit in the aisle of one of the lots waiting for someone to leave, before lucking into a spot to stash your car. Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A glorious autumn in New York/New Jersey

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:15 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Here’s a momentary respite from all the frazzle.

I took these at The New York Botanical Garden, on a sunny, October Sunday. Autumn might be my favorite time of year here in the Northeast. and this year has been just exceptionally … well…  electric, breathtaking, blazing.  And it’s almost gone now.

For some reason posting these they made me think of a former boss who offered some fairly blistering critiques of my trade show (scintillating subject, eh?) shots.  My only comment to him: ” Just where on my resume did you see the word ‘photographer’? ”


© Elaine Martin Petrowski on 10-26-08

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fill the Obama suggestion box

Posted in Liberty tagged , , , at 5:23 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Today I stumbled on  Barack Obama’s transition web site where “we the people” are invited to fill out a form so that we can detail our vision for America in the future.

I must admit that the cynic in me pushed immediately to the foreground, mumbling under her breath, “What the …?  He doesn’t have any ideas of his own… so he’s asking us?  Uh-oh … not good. Didn’t he just get elected because he’s supposed to be the smart one?”

But I give her a cup of coffee, push her into a chair and tell her to be quiet. And the hopeful me marvels joyously, giddily even, at this apparent fact: Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wasting (even more) time on the internet

Posted in Life tagged , , , , at 10:23 am by Elaine Petrowski

In my post-election state of satiated media gluttony, (kind of like the turkey-inspired nap on Thanksgiving?)  I’ve made a conscious decision to try NOT to play the “Build Barack’s Cabinet Game” I see and hear others eagerly engaging in. Instead, I’m going to just wait to see what our apparently exceedingly bright president-elect does all on his own, without my help.

This, coupled with the fact that I’m no longer obsessively checking out politifact and election polls leaves me with some time on my hands. What better way to fill it than with a little harmless internet fun?

As if you need help.

Click right here.

(FYI: Don’t bother with the IQ test. It’s a trap  and you have to pay for the results.  Now how’s that for smart?)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Only in America

Posted in Liberty at 11:20 pm by Elaine Petrowski

I’m so PROUD of us and of our democracy.  Hooray.

(And my condolences to Tina Fey, who just lost a potential, four-year-long gig.)

Was it as good for you?

Posted in Liberty at 6:51 pm by Elaine Petrowski

as it was for me?

Voting, that is.

You did vote today… right?

How did it feel?

Just a bit anti-climatic after 21 months and all the hoopla?  More patriotic than anything else you’ve done in a long time?  Surprisingly emotional?  Gratifying?  Tearful?  So, so lucky to have the good fortune to be born here?  Soothing? Hopeful? Vengeful? Righteous?  Like you were participating in history?  Something you should record all the details about, and then take a photo of, so you can show your future grandchildren you were there?

You did vote today … RIGHT?

( Please — unless you are gravely ill or giving birth today — if you don’t vote in this election, DO NOT EVER admit it to me  and not expect me to think so much less of you. And do NOT EVER complain about this great country within earshot of me either.)

And if you didn’t vote yet, you have 1.5 hours to GET IT DONE if you live in New Jersey and 2.5 hours if you live in New York.

Please add a comment about your voting experiences today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is it just “mischief” or is it vandalism?

Posted in Life tagged , , at 5:03 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Something’s been on my mind for a few days but I’ve been reluctant to share for fear of sounding like the wicked old witch at Halloween.

But maybe because the evidence has refused to blow, or wash away in some rain, as I hoped it would, and  maybe because I spent part of this golden and glorious autumn afternoon cleaning up streamers of toilet paper, it won’t let me go until I have my say.

And that’s right. I did say  “toilet paper”.  I gathered it up in 10- foot-long streamers from the shrubs and leaf piles in front of our home and from the side yards of the neighbors that face us.

“Toilet paper?  Why on earth is she cleaning up streams of toilet paper, ” you might be asking?

I ask that too. And I’ve asked that every year since I moved to New Jersey.

jack-o-lantern at the New York Botanical Garden

jack-o-lantern at the New York Botanical Garden

Call me crazy, but where I come from, in the 105th precinct, at the far eastern edge of Queens, NY festooning the neighborhood bushes and trees with unfurled rolls of toilet paper, pelting parked cars and houses with eggs, or covering them in shaving cream, or trespassing onto a neighbor’s front porch to steal, and then smash, their holiday pumpkins would have most certainly been defined by the NYPD ( not to mention my parents!) as VANDALISM, not mischief. Read the rest of this entry »