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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

“Playing for Change” Releases CD/DVD

Posted in fun, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, useful information tagged , , , , , , , , , at 3:39 pm by Elaine Petrowski

I was first moved to write about Playing for Change, Mark Johnson’s peace-through-music organization, last year.

Today, Playing for Change, “a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music” released a CD/DVD, “Songs Around the World”.

“The album demonstrates that regardless of our religion, race, gender, or political views we can unite through music.”

And despite the fact that I am on self-imposed knitting supplies- shoe- handbag etc.- purchasing  probation,  I am planning to purchase a CD for myself and  a few more for gifts so I can support this international peace work of building schools to teach music.

(Click here to listen to preview.)

Let me know what you think, and if you decide to buy one,  via the comments below.

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.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Knitting DOES Serve a Higher Purpose

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , at 7:09 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Recent addition to already huge stash of knitting supplies.

Recent addition to already huge stash of knitting supplies.

It was good news to  find out recently that knitting, a pastime of mine that I’m fairly obsessive about, which I’ve admitted to here before, has been given a new, higher purpose in the fabric of life.

Or so says the BBC.

In addition to providing usable garments (sometimes), cute baby gifts, a way to stay out of the potato chips and meditative, hands- on, creative “play” for many — not to mention the boost to the local economy that a successful yarn store produces –a Mayo clinic study, due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology, shows that:

“Those who had during middle age been busy reading, playing games or engaging in craft hobbies like KNITTING were found to have a 40% reduced risk of memory impairment.”

Well, maybe.

And here’s why:

The problem with this research, reported the BBC article, is that the people who were surveyed already has some mild memory loss and thus might not be remembering correctly,  if, in fact, they did perform any of the memory-saving activities.

Question of the day: Ignoring the sheer lunacy of the study (which I so hope I did not pay for in some way.), does anyone else find it unusual that this report, from the world-famous, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and The American Academy of Neurology, came from the BBC network?

Or am I overworking my aging brain cells by thinking too much?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow – Love It or Hate It?

Posted in Life tagged , , , , at 10:49 pm by Elaine Petrowski

It’s not even officially been winter for a month and so far, we’ve had nearly a foot of snow here in Northern New Jersey. In fact, it’s snowing as I write this.

snowy day

snowy day

I’m not complaining.  I actually like snow. I’m pleased that it covers the gray world we find ourselves  in right now,  that it softens street sounds, creates some incredibly beautiful visual details (if you take the time to look), and gives me an excuse to stay home and knit if I feel like it. A snowy afternoon reawakens the little girl  in me, who always had the hope that enough snow would pile up to reach all the way to the top of my boots … and to  close school.  I love that the snow glitters in the sun for a few days after the fact, and that it provides moisture for my garden while keeping it warm and safe on these frigid nights. In fact,  I might even venture to say that I love the snow.

There’s only one thing about it I don’t like.  No, not shoveling. I don’t even mind that, if I can take my time. But I do hate driving in the snow.  And it’s not because I lack the skill.  After all, I grew up here in   the Northeast and it’s snowed every winter since I got my license at the age of 18. And my  father, who taught me to drive, insisted that I learn to drive in snow and that the  only way to do that was… to drive in the snow. Because snow happens here.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, it’s not my driving skills I question, it’s the driver who insists on following me about three feet off my back bumper,  apparently because he’s irked at the fact that I’m driving at less than the speed limit.  Or the driver who’s not twenty feet away,  looks my way, and still decides to pull out, apparently believing that the half ton of fiberglas and metal I’m heading toward him in will stop on a dime.  It’s the driver who treats the fourth of January like it was  the Fourth of July who scares the be-jesus out of me.

Is it that we are all in a big hurry?  Is it that some of us are new to snow and so really haven’t  driven in it before? Is it that some of us think we are invincible? Or that some of us are just plain rude, and possibly, just plain dumb? Or a little bit of all of the above, and then some?

What are your thoughts on driving in the snow? Are you comfortable doing it?  Are you good at it?  Do you have a favorite tactic for avoiding trouble? Or do you live where it doesn’t snow?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Mason-Dixon knitters help answer a nagging question:Why knit?

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , at 11:50 pm by Elaine Petrowski

One part of the fun at the amazing NYS Sheep and Wool Festival www.sheepandwool.com last weekend was taking a  break with a cup of coffee (and in a much-welcomed chair, after several hours of walking) to listen to the Mason-Dixon knitters  www.masondixonknitting.com who were meeting their fans and talking up their new book Mason-Dixon Knitting, Outside the Lines.

The Mason-Dixon knitters - Ann Shayne (l) and Kay Gardiner

The Mason-Dixon knitters - Ann Shayne (l) and Kay Gardiner

These two funny, bright, personable, approachable women, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, first met online, sharing info about their knitting projects. Kay lives in NYC and Ann in Nashville ( hence the Mason-Dixon)  and they became fast friends who eventually decided to write the knitting book they couldn’t find, and are now on ragingly successful book #2.

As a lifelong knitter, ( I don’t even remember who taught me. Seems I’ve just kind of always known how.) they helped me to clarify an answer to my knitter’s eternal existential question: Why do I knit ?

Because, they wisely point out, knitting:

  • is ongoing creativity
  • allows us to make things with our hands
  • allows us to play with color
  • is hypnotic
  • is meditative

So then, if you knit,  why is it that you do?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yet another obsession?

Posted in Life tagged , , at 11:07 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Everyone, it is advised, should have a hobby or two they partake of when not doing things like “working” and “writing”, correct?  One of my hobbies is knitting. Or rather, collecting knitting “stuff” in preparation for knitting.

And there’s so much to collect.  All manner of soft, lush and rainbow-hued, hand-spun, hand-dyed, alpaca, cashmere, merino, Icelandic, silk, bamboo, ribbon, novelty and rayon yarns, along with the finest smooth and quiet knitting needles in materials that include space-age metals and plastics, exotic and sustainable woods, and even jewel-toned glass (!), not to mention buttons, knitting books, knitting patterns and knitting gadgets. Oh, and did I mention the yarn?

Those who share the obsession, go right ahead and snicker. But you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Those who don’t should know that a favorite slogan among the yarn obsessed is “The one who dies with the most yarn wins.”

Though I have been on a self-imposed “knitting probation” (perhaps more about this later?) for just over a year now, I did use this past weekend’s New York State Sheep and Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY as an opportunity to joyfully wallow in the obsession with two like-minded friends.

Here’s a peek.