Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Exactly Why Caller ID Was Invented

Posted in Humor, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , at 8:49 pm by Elaine Petrowski

PICT7376.JPG One “rule of life” is to never, ever, not ever, not even once, answer a phone call unless you know, or at least think you know, who the caller is. Why else have caller ID?  (How did we EVER live without it?)

That’s why it’s so hard to explain what led me to pick up that call… the one that roped me into collecting funds from my “neighbors” for some ostensibly good cause.

A few days later, as promised, a fat envelope arrived. It was filled with smaller color-coded envelopes I was supposed to stuff and stamp and send to my “neighbors”, including some who might as well live in Timbuktu for all the personal contact I’ve ever had with them.

I don’t know what possessed me (my passive-aggressive side? volunteer burnout? absent mindedness? That horrible virus that laid me low for most of February?) but, when the envelope arrived, I deliberately shoved  it into “the pile,” where I knew it would promptly and totally be forgotten. When opened, in a fit of rainy day desk cleaning just last week, the collection deadline had passed two months ago.

And if that isn’t bad enough, now I face an additional quandary.

Should I throw away all those little pink and beige envelopes they sent me, doubling the weight of my thoughtless, unfulfilled  promise by contributing to the landfill, my carbon footprint, and thus to global warming?

Or keep (read: steal)  the envelopes and use them, so at least they don’t go to waste?

(And if you have any doubt that I went to Catholic school, read this.)

What would you do?

What do you think I did?

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

You Gotta’ Laugh

Posted in fun, Humor, Laughs, Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , at 3:46 pm by Elaine Petrowski

or you’ll cry, for sure!

check this out… made me chuckle

Worst Slide Story

Monday, June 8, 2009

There’s No Such Thing as “Free Mulch”

Posted in gardening, Humor, Laughs, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability, useful information tagged , , at 7:28 pm by Elaine Petrowski

sunflower from www.freedigitalphoto.netToday I got to tallying the hours we’ve put into our community garden plot and realized that we are at about 14-person hours so far.

And that’s not even counting the time spent curing our collective poison ivy.

To date, we’ve

  1. Bought, designed and installed  rabbit/deer/woodchuck fence.
  2. Shopped for, and planted, four kinds of tomatoes — some to eat fresh, one that’s supposed to keep for a few extra weeks to extend the season into October, and still others, bred to make a thicker sauce for the freezer — always a heartwarming, soul-satisfying find on, say January 23.
  3. Bought seedlings (Is that cheating?) for basil, rosemary,  green beans, peppers and tomatillos. And actually put them in the ground too.
  4. Sowed two kinds of  lettuce, arugula and mache, at the very edges. And planted sunflower seeds in the very middle– for beauty, for the birds and because I never can grow them in my cool, shady backyard.
  5. Tucked nasturtium seedlings (Okay, it is cheating.) into the corners and adopted several orphaned marigold plants, proffered by one of the other gardeners, who seriously overbought. I did this simply and only because I LOVE the festive look and peppery taste of edible flowers in my  summer salads.
  6. Spread out a thick layer of newspaper and then covered that with “free mulch” to keep the weeds at bay.

It’s only conjecture that the patches of poison ivy we both sprouted a few days later actually DID come from the “free mulch”  pile. But the raw materials  for that mulch originate from the town’s curbside collection of garden debris. So there’s no telling what’s in there, along with the collective Christmas trees, snippets of verboten black plastic bags and mangled toy car wheels.

Note to self:  wear gloves when working in the garden. And stock up on that great, cheap  CVS poison ivy scrub, which will irradicate the scourge quickly, so long as  you don’t wait too long and use it as soon as the infernal itch begins.

Anyone got a better, faster cure?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Redefining “Community Gardening”, the New Jersey way

Posted in Funny, gardening, Humor, Laughs, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability tagged , , , , , at 8:43 pm by Elaine Petrowski

We started planting our first-ever plot in our town’s community garden today.

What could be better? The community gardening season begins. www.freedigitalphoto.netGreat exercise, fresh air and fun visiting with all the other eager, new gardeners on this, the first day planting was “permitted.”

Much to my surprise, it turned out that of the six other gardeners we encountered, four were  also newbies.

As I “played in the mud” and mentally planned how to fit in all the sun-loving herbs, tomatoes, tomatillos and sunflowers  we can’t grow in our shady yard, I couldn’t help but wonder just why so many of these much-coveted, 10′ x 12′, already roto-tilled, mini-farms were suddenly  available this year.

As we finished our third hour of working  (3 x 2=6 hours*),  one of the more experienced gardeners showed up and regaled the newbies with this story:  Late last growing season a woman who was NOT a  participant, arrived at the garden with a basket on her arm and began happily picking tomatoes. “My son told me it was OK because this is a community garden, ” she said.

And so, the adventure begins.

As the old Irish saying goes , “May the rain fall softly on your fields and the wind be always at your back”…

*Just for the fun of it, I’m counting the person-hours we invest. (I’m afraid to add up the cost!) We’re now at 10,  including the garden committee meeting, shopping for plants, seed, fertilizer and the chicken wire to keep the rabbits out, setting up the fence (an engineering feat for two non-engineers) and then finally, actually planting some seedlings.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don’t Miss The WaPo Peeps Contest Winner

Posted in Humor, Laughs, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:29 pm by Elaine Petrowski

For the last three years The Washington Post has sponsored a  “Peeps Diorama Contest” at Easter time, when the sugar-coated marshmallow candies have traditionally appeared. Each year the contest grows and this time there were more than 1000 entries. One rule prevails: All the characters in the dioramas must be Peeps, those gooey, colorful, chick and bunny (and now Christmas tree and jack-o-lantern, etc.) candies.

Click HERE for a peek at the top 40 entries, as selected by WaPo editors.

Sure to make you smile. And then to make you wonder where all these people found all that time to not only conjure up the ideas for the scenes, but then to actually implement them.

Maybe if I gave up knitting (and blogging) I’d have time to enter?

If you hurry out right now, you just might be able to pick up some discounted Easter Peeps to start on your entry for next year!

But be forewarned: Apparently Peeps were sold out in the D.C. area weeks before the holiday, so there may not be any left for a practice run.

And according to The Washington Post’s web site, this year’s winner is a pro — a graphic artist who spent 45 hours, spread over two weekends, perfecting her Edward Hopper-inspired entry entitled “Nightpeeps.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Do You Speak Starbuck-ian?

Posted in Humor, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , at 11:11 am by Elaine Petrowski

Or is it Starbuck-ese?  Or Starbuck-ish?

Maybe if I take notes?

Maybe if I take notes?

Well, no matter what you call it, I sure don’t.

At least not fluently.

No matter how many times I stand in front of that board, I’ll be damned if I can remember which confabulation of a marketing term– tall, grande or venti –actually means “medium.”  And does the  “latte”  or “Americano” have more milk?

It’s just easier, cheaper and faster to communicate at Dunkin’ Donuts (Especially  if there’s a drive through.)

And unlike the scones, chocolate-covered graham crackers and madelines at Starbucks, the donuts don’t even tempt me. (Apparently, my people don’t come from fried foods.)

Is this another sign of advancing age? (Click here for more on age.) Or am I just not good at languages?

Three years of  struggling  through high school Latin, and five… count ’em… five years of French, have actually, as the nuns predicted, given me a head start in games like “Jeopardy” and a barely passing grade in “shopping Italian”.

But I figure I’m on year ten of Starbuck-ian… and I still can’t get the coffee I want without checking the board for the translation.

Et vous? (or it that et tu?)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Am I an Old Fogey?

Posted in Humor, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , at 2:00 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Have I actually become the old fogey I’ve long feared I would?  Or do I just need to “bust out” my attitude?

This may take some explaining. Here goes:

The one aspect of a long car ride alone that I thoroughly enjoy is programming my own audio. Nothing fancy. I simply use the scan button to find a radio station that offers one of the following:

A) My usual fare, public radio.

B) Anything BUT my usual fare, public radio.

C) One thing you actually CAN NOT GET in New York  City and environs, i.e., Country Western music. (I know, I know.  Can you BELIEVE it? Some brainiac decided to kill the last station in NYC about five years ago.)

I  have always had a fondness for CW music — the heartfelt sentiments, catchy (some  might say mindless) tunes and clever lyrics.  My all-time corny favorite:  The Bellamy Brothers- “If I  Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me?”

But I digress.

On a recent 6-hour long trip up Route 95 from Arlington, VA to northern NJ,  I blissfully trawled the stations as I drifted out of the airwaves of one city into another– DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton. In the process I enjoyed such cultural and musical diversities as  Mike Doughty’s ” 27 Jennifers” and John Legend’s If You\’re Out There

But one offering, while admittedly a catchy, tango-inspired tune, just plain stood my hair on end. It  got me to wondering if this is how my own grandparents felt the night Ed Sullivan introduced Elvis or John, Paul, George and Ringo?

This little ditty was  entitled.. I kid you not … ” Bust The Windows Out  Ya’ Car “

Please take a few minutes to listen and tell me: Have I  just slipped irretrievably over the hill?

Or do you agree that this is a somewhat scary and terribly anti-social topic to be

A) Singing about?

B) Admitting publicly, and to thousands of listeners, that you took part in?

C) Somehow suggesting is OK because he “deserved it”?

And do let me know your thoughts, via the comments below.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ode to the Poinsettia – The Holiday Gift That Just Won’t Die

Posted in Humor, Life tagged , , , , , at 2:15 pm by Elaine Petrowski

HAPPY NEW YEAR.  Wishing peace and prosperity to you all.

Here’s a piece I wrote some time ago for a now-defunct magazine. (Wonder if things like the typo in the headline were a contributing factor?)  And while my opinion of the ubiquitous plant has not changed, it does seem I will make it through the holiday season WITHOUT one this year.

poinsettia

Anyone else share my view?