Monday, July 29, 2013

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness at 10:57 pm by Elaine Petrowski

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Really Is On The Way

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness, Seasons tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:41 pm by Elaine Petrowski

A  Mama Bear and her  cubs were spotted crossing a nearby major  highway yesterday.

Though the snow created some amazing images this winter, like many, I'm longing for Spring to arrive this year.

The edges of the lake are flowing water, not ice, today.

Daffodil sprouts are now five inches high in my garden.

Spring arrives in 16 days according to the calendar.

Do you think the piles and mounds of dirty snow will be all gone by then?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Learning About Life in Catholic School

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , at 4:52 pm by Elaine Petrowski

So…. today I get an email from my high school alumni group and decide to take a few minutes to poke around the St. Blabla site

to see how things have progressed in the umpteen years since I attended.

To my dismay, but not to my surprise, NOTHING seems to have changed.  But the stand-out is the dress code, emblematic of all that was 1965, with the possible exception of the mention of “multiple piercings.”

My favorite line: “Judgement (sic) concerning the appropriateness of any student’s attire rests with the administration.”

Such is, and was, the life of the teenage girl who attends(ed) this school.

Now I ask: If  “judgement concerning the appropriateness of any student’s attire rests with the administration” how and when do students develop their own judgment concerning appropriate attire?

This, in a nutshell,  was my experience attending a Catholic girl’s high school. “No need to think for yourselves. We’ll do it for you!”

Below,  if you are curious, is part of the CURRENT dress code,  which, if memory serves me,  is identical to the 1960’s.

“Students are required to adhere to the following dress code:

* Uniform skirt or uniform pants (when Permitted)
* Skirts are to be a presentable length for school. They may not be rolled up at the waist.
* The School shoes must be worn at all times-either the loafer or lace shoe, whichever you choose.
* Dark stockings are required; black, charcoal gray, navy tights or dark knee socks must be worn. Fish net and patterned stockings are not permitted. Students are to arrive, remain, and leave in the school uniform/dress code.

On days that uniforms are not required, it is expected that each student will select attire which will not call attention to her in a negative way. Judgement concerning the appropriateness of any student’s attire rests with the administration.

Students may not have visible body piercing (e.g. eyebrow, lips, nose, tongue, etc.) except for earrings, and no more than 2 pair of earrings may be worn at school (these earrings should be small in size.) No headwear is permitted in class. Only one neck-chain may be worn-and one ring on each hand.”

Is this still the way to go?

Do you think this teaches anything?

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Next Generation of Distracted Drivers Is Learning from You. That’s Right, You.

Posted in Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:02 pm by Elaine Petrowski

texting and talking on a handheld or a handsfree cell phone is as or more dangerous than drivng drunk!

Texting and talking on a handheld or a handsfree cell phone is as, or more, dangerous than driving drunk!

Here’s a thought for all you moms and dads who still defend your habit of driving while talking on your cell phones or texting, despite the ever- growing body of  evidence that PROVES you are driving while impaired. (No matter  your self-proclaimed and non-existent superior, multi-tasking abilities.)

Your babies, toddlers, children and teens are watching your every move.  And as every parent knows, there’s no adage more true than “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Let’s fast forward.

One day in the not- too-distant future your darling 3’6″ seven-year old superhero will be your darling seventeen-year old, testosterone-fueled, completely invincible (at least to himself) 6’3″ superhero with a brand new driver’s license. Your golden boy or girl will be behind the wheel of a several- thousand-pound vehicle with cell phone or PED in hand… or NOT.

If nothing else can persuade you to put down that phone or PED and to lead your kids by your BEST example, the thought of your eventually-adolescent, hypocrisy-sniffing offspring doing exactly what you are doing today should chill your blood.

It does mine.

According to the United States Department of Transportation statistics, simply talking on the phone (handheld or NOT ) while driving is like driving legally drunk with a blood alcohol of .08.

Texting and driving makes you 23 times more likely to be in an accident that day.

Do you want your kids to drive with those odds?

Then don’t do it yourself.

Repeat after me:

I will not drink and drive.

I will not text and drive.

I will not phone and drive.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Invite the Natives to Return to Your Garden

Posted in gardening, sustainability, useful information tagged , , , , , , at 7:58 pm by Elaine Petrowski

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The native plants, that is.

” Invite nature and beauty into your landscape with native plants. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Fall Native Plant Sale is filled with a premier selection of over 200 species of nursery-propagated native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, vines and ferns native to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delaware Valley Region. The Fall Native Plant Sale will be held at the Visitor Center area of the Preserve on Saturdays and Sundays, September 12 and 13, and September 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.”

Natives, which here in the Northeast include azalea, viburnum, redbud, holly, river birch, dogwood, clethera, bearberry, pasture roses, honeysuckle, clematis, iris, bee balm, cardinal flower, black-eyed Susans and many, many more:

  1. are beautiful.
  2. survive on available water, once they are established.
  3. don’t usually run rampant.
  4. invite indigenous wildlife to your yard.
  5. nurture  the native birds, butterflies, moths and bees.

Talk about sustainability.

FYI: Bowman’s Hill runs this fundraiser twice a year, to support their efforts at education and propagation.  So if you live in the area, plan a trip for this weekend or next.

Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

Sunny and indomitable, Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

If you don’t live nearby, why not look up native plant sources for your area?  Here are a few I found:

Agrecol in the Midwest, sells $2 packets of native flowers and grasses.

There’s a big list of suppliers for a big state like Texas native plants.

Michigan natives abound.

Don’t be shy. Leave a note (see “comments”) or email a photo to write4@att.net  about a favorite native that grows in your garden. If you don’t have a garden, just tell us about a favorite native from your home state or country.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recycle Your Old Shoes-Unless They Add Chocolate, This Can’t Get Any Better

Posted in Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability, useful information tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:30 am by Elaine Petrowski

Here’s a great way to clear out some closet space with a clear conscience, do a good deed and get a receipt for your income taxes in the process.

You all have them. Those several pairs of  shoes you never wear… but can’t bring yourself to throw out?

The fashion faux pas shoes. The  gee-when-did-my-feet-grow shoes? And those cool cross-trainers that gave you dime-sized blisters both times you wore them.

New shoes. (Courtesy of soles4souls.org)

New shoes. (Courtesy of soles4souls.org)

Some of the shoes Soles4Souls.org has collected went to tsunami survivors and to those who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. Others go to the homeless, or to shelters for battered women, or to hospitals. Way better then going to waste in the landfill.

And Soles4Souls will happily accept not just your shoes, but the gently-used shoes and boots your toddlers have outgrown, your teenager will no longer leave the house in, or that just plain hurt your  husband’s feet.

Click here for your closest Soles4Souls drop-box location.

Quick, easy, painless sustainability and recycling. By my reckoning, unless you add chocolate to this deal, it just doesn’t get any better.

See an earlier, related post on sustainability.

And then do a good deed for your shoe-aholic friends by passing this post onto them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Four Great Reasons to Garden

Posted in gardening, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , at 12:39 pm by Elaine Petrowski

While we were gone.

While we were gone.

” A garden is a thing of beauty… and a job forever. ” So proclaims  the pretty little needlepoint pillow one of my dearest friends crafted as a gift for me.

Sometimes … like after the pounding rains that washed my lettuce seeds far out into the Jersey Meadowlands somewhere; that insatiable  ground hog, who stretched to enormous heights to eat every last one of the moonflower buds; the endless mosquito bites and poison ivy; a tomato blight that splotched, and ultimately ruined,  all of the lovely green orbs… I wonder… why am I doing this?

But then comes a morning, like one just passed, when everywhere I look presents a natural wonder, a trick of light, some small delight.

Sometimes, especially in a garden, one picture is worth a thousand words.

And so I share with you four great reasons to keep at it.

Enjoy.

Please leave a note about your garden/gardening. Or send a picture of some garden delight to share here… write4@att.net.

Early morning visitor

Early morning visitor

I "heart" gardening.

I "heart" gardening.

All the zinnias are pink this year!

All the zinnias are pink this year!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Last FREE Weekend at National Parks This Summer

Posted in fun, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , , , , at 10:30 am by Elaine Petrowski

Looking for something family and budget-friendly to do this weekend? National Parks across the nation are  once again offering FREE  admission on August 15 and 16. This is your last chance to take advantage of the fee-free weekend program this summer.

“The entrance fees being waived at the 147 sites that usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25.( The 244 other parks do not charge entrance fees.) The waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.”

For full story click HERE.

Look for a park HERE.  If you drill down on this page, you can find specials that save even more money at some of the parks.

Amtrak makes the point that some of the parks ( in NYC, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Arlington, VA) are even accessible by train.  Click here for a list of the parks you can reach via train.

morr-ImageF.00003

Morristown National Park

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Healthcare Reform Bill Agony– the Democratic Process at Work?

Posted in Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:00 am by Elaine Petrowski

I’m getting really cranky with all of the talk — or should I say conjecture, misinformation and fear-mongering, lobbying, pandering etc. — that’s going on around the issue of health care reform.

Got an email  today from (I’m assuming)  a well-intentioned friend. The You Tube video it led me to pointed out, among other things, that “someone sitting behind a desk  in Washington will soon decide if  your mother or grandmother can get medical treatment for Alzhiemer’s.”

Call me crazy, but to me this infers that potentially important decisions about my future medical care options will be decided by a panel of non-medically trained Washingtonians who are probably in a hurry to leave town for vacation.

(Supreme irony??? )

NOTE to  REP. SCOTT GARRETT (R,NJ); FRANK LAUTENBERG (D,NJ), ROBERT MENEDEZ (D, NJ), et al: How about all you hard-working representatives and senators do the job you were elected (in some cases, not by me) to do —  represent me!

And here’s how I’d like you to do that:

WORK TOGETHER (Do any of you recall attending kindergarten …where you were supposed to have learned  this? ) to author a bill that actually helps the American people improve their quality of life and the quality of their health care.

Quit pandering to special interests.  And don’t use fear.  Or  bait me with half truths, outright lies or with statements that twist the intent of the reform into pretzels.

JUST GET TO WORK AND FINISH a bill.

And then VOTE on it.

And don’t take your damn vacation until you do your damn job!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Raise Your Hand if You Need a Federal Law to Tell You Not to Text While Driving

Posted in Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:16 pm by Elaine Petrowski

While I applaud the intent of the good Senators Menendez, Schumer, Landrieu and Hagan, and I do firmly believe the findings of the many researchers on distracted driving, do we REALLY  need a law to keep us all  from texting while driving?

Well now, we do seem to need laws to keep from us shooting each other, from sticking each other with knives, abandoning our spouses and children at the mall, and driving through red lights, not to mention about six zillion other potentially stupid human tricks.

Hmmm… come to think of it,  maybe we really do need the proposed ALERT (Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers) Act (or possibly we could just call it American Lawyers Easy Revenue Trail Act? )

Or, is it that we need an effective tool to punish those who text while driving?

My suggestion: forget the fine. A driving-texting offender will be prohibited from owning a cell phone, crackberry or  any other form of PED, existing or to be invented, for up to ten years, until his/her brain finishes maturing sufficiently to realize TEXTING AND DRIVING DON’T EVER MIX. (This applies if the driver is 16 or 96.)

Please …tell me that you DON’T EVER TEXT WHILE DRIVING? (Reported stats say 20% of drivers DO!)

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