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!

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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!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Calling all NJ, NY, PA Area Gardeners For a Fun Event This Sunday

Posted in fun, gardening, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged at 5:19 pm by Elaine Petrowski

oakleaf hydrangea

Here’s a link to a nearly free fun event for local gardeners –a garden art swap at The Frelinghuysen Aboretum. Click here for details.

Now, what did I do with that flock of  pink flamingos?

See you there?

(And if you do go, take a picture of your trade to post here.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What’s Up With All the Noise?

Posted in gardening, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability tagged , , at 11:02 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Close your eyes and imagine, if you will:

An incessantly barking dachshund, tied in the adjoining backyard for hours, (yip, yip, yip …..yip, yip, yip….yip, yip, yip…yip,yip,yip.)

PICT6916.JPG

Tricyrtis or toad lilies in my garden last Fall.

What seems like at least a dozen consecutively run, gas-powered  lawnmowers.

A landscaper, cleaning up after a weed wacker with a leaf blower.

A  neighbor washing rocks (I swear) with a power washer.

A radio, blaring a baseball game.

Assorted  high-pitched, whining, woodworking  tools, at a distance.

A baseball pitching machine.

A tinny “Turkey in the Straw”, played over and over and over, by  an ice cream truck  s-l-0-w-l-y meandering the neighborhood.

All this, and more, was the background noise for a  Sunday afternoon spent in my suburban garden.

Do you think it would be ok to suggest that “they” arrange to all make  noise  at the same time and get it over with, so that I could have an hour or two of QUIET to listen to the wrens singing and hear only the bees buzzing and the fountain splashing and the leaves blowing in the breeze?

Nah …I don’t think so either. But I can dream, can’t I?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Posted in fun, Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , at 5:45 am by Elaine Petrowski

by LIz Noffsinger from www.freedigitalimages.com

by LIz Noffsinger from http://www.freedigitalimages.com

Here’s a link to a terrific little video with some gorgeous photos of our country. ( It opens with a shot of  the Arizona Memorial, in Pearl Harbor, near Honolulu, HI, which is as solemn, moving, eerie and haunting a place as you will ever visit. Just seeing the photo produces a lump in my throat.)

The background music is “America, The Beautiful”, which, if I had my way, would be our national anthem.

Though I’m not sure how it sits with Native Americans — when you read all the words, and not just the verses we sang in school — I’d much rather we’d be known around the world for “amber waves of grain, purple mountain’s majesty, fruited plains and brotherhood, (though just plain personhood would be nice to acknowledge. But that’s yet another post!)  then for “rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air.”

On the 4th, we’ll be waving at friends who are marching in the parade here in Ridgewood, NJ and then reconnecting with other dear old friends at the July 4 bash they’ve hosted for more than thirty years.

And, there’s no RAIN in the forecast. Perfect.

What are YOU doing for the 4th? (Leave a comment, below so I know someone’s out there.)

Enjoy the day.

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?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

National Parks are FREE This Weekend 6/20 and 6/21

Posted in fun, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , at 3:22 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Just in time to celebrate the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, and in an effort to provide an affordable getaway for families, the National Park Service is offering fee-free access to

See the wild ponies that roam Assateague Island for FREE this weekend.

See the wild ponies that roam Assateague Island for FREE this weekend.

parks across the nation,  from Hyde Park and Sagamore Hill in the New York area, to Assateague Island in Maryland, Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) in Baltimore,  Big Bend in Texas, and Shenandoah, about 75 miles from DC. And even more than that:

“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.”

This is the first of three fee-free weekends this summer. The others are July 18-19 and August 15-16.

For full story click HERE.

Hey, who can complain about that?

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.

Do come back and comment if you go.

Let’s see… how long does it take to get to … and where did I put those watercolors?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So…What’s on Your Bucket List?

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:08 pm by Elaine Petrowski

You know … that list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”?

It helps to take them out of the closet first.

It helps to take them out of the closet first.

Okay… I’ll start, but then let’s hear from you lurkers out there on this one… share some of the top items on YOUR bucket list. ( You know who you are!)

Here goes:

(I note a common thread of travel through these, which does not surprise me in the least.)

1. Visit the towns my father walked through as an infantryman during World War II- they would be France, Germany, Luxembourg and Czechoslovakia. ( Happy Birthday, Dad. He would have been 85 today!)

2. Meet all my great grandchildren.

3. Go  to each of the 18 states I’ve not been to…yet.  (I could cheat and make the list shorter, but  just an airport doesn’t count.)  Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, Tennessee, Iowa, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Oklahoma ,Utah, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

4. Own, and know how to competently use, a kayak. ( NOTE: This does NOT imply there will be any white water rafting. This means quiet water kayaking.)

5. Research the rest of my family tree.

6. Knit just one sweater that really looks great on me…. and that I LOVE to wear.

7. See the Northern Lights.

8. Master watercolors. Ok, maybe master is a bit strong, but at least use them occasionally? And taking them out of the closet is a good first step, don’t you think?

Okay lurkers … your  turn.  It’s simple… Just click on the word “comment” below.

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