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.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Are You Ready to Grow Your Own?

Posted in gardening, Life tagged , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Food, that is.

grow your own

grow your own

It seems vegetable seed sales are way up this  year.  And spring isn’t even officially here yet.

Just as I was mulling over the idea of tucking a few more edibles into our backyard landscape this summer, I stumbled on an NPR radio show on the topic. Leonard Lopate Show 3/5/9 about all the people who beat me to it.

And why not?

Home vegetable gardening is, as “they” say,  a win-win situation. You get fresh, better tasting, nutritious food without farm equipment and trucks polluting the earth to get it to you. You can save money and get some exercise.  (And it seems,  kids who grow veggies, eat more veggies.)

Start small.  Before it gets too hot, plant a row or two of leaf lettuces. Add some perennial cooking herbs (they come back each year) like mint, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary, oregano and chives in between the shrubs. Put some basil, parsley and a few cherry tomato plants in a big pot on your deck. Or just consider planting some edible flowers like nasturtiums and marigolds to improve the look, as well as the taste, of summer salads.  (But you can’t spray the flowers with pesticides!)

If you think this is all a great idea, but have no clue where to begin, check out retrovore.com and the National Gardening Association for  seed sources, a reading list and some how -to tips.

So … are you convinced?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Okay, I AM the Handwashing Nazi. What of it?

Posted in Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , at 7:45 pm by Elaine Petrowski

The most basic form of disease prevention. So why do so many skip it?

The most basic form of disease prevention. So why do so many skip it?

As long as we’re on the subject of germ phobias and hygiene, what about handwashing? What’s with the totally D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G  one- out-of- three (!) grown MEN and WOMEN who do NOT wash their hands after using the restroom? Where did they grow up?

They are the reason I haven’t had an Altoid since 1999.

That year I had a charming colleague who liked to rib me about my ritual of ditching into the office ladies room to wash my hands before and after eating lunch. When I confessed a certain level of “phobia” for clean hands, he spontaneously volunteered  to share with me which of the men on staff did NOT make use of the sink and soap in the men’s room. When I protested that was “too much information” he grinned, winked at me and whispered, “Just don’t take any of those peppermints they pass around at the staff meetings.”

I’m ruthless when it comes to this topic. I once reported a waitress to the manager at a famous seafood restaurant at the Jersey Shore who came into the restroom, did her business, and then left, without even faking it and running the water. (She didn’t know I was there. But I saw her uniform swish out the restroom door.)

Just about a year ago now I allowed a promising, just budding friendship with someone I really liked… a lot… to whither away because she skipped this basic sanitary step the first time we went to lunch together. All I could think of was the cup of coffee she’d made for me at her house a week before.

Any two-year-old kid can learn this. Doctors and nurses live by this (please gawd?) There is a sign in every restroom warning the employees to do it.  Montessori teachers teach it. So do kindergarten teachers.

So, what’s with the 1 in 3 ADULTS who does not wash his/her hands? Didn’t their MOTHERS TELL THEM UMP-TEEN TIMES, TO WASH THEIR HANDS after using the toilet? WHAT are they thinking? That they are still defying MOM?

Have you ever “called out” anyone over the age of six, who “forgot” to wash his/her hands?

Is there (does there need to be???)  a polite way to request this small act of self-care from the humans you live and work with?

And if  YOU don’t wash your hands after using the facilities, can you please explain WHY?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is This How the Plague Spread?

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , at 4:32 pm by Elaine Petrowski

Wondering if I’m the only one who is totally skeeved out by those credit card check- out swipe machine gizmos I’m starting to see all over?  You know the ones I mean … where you swipe your credit card and then use the attached stump of a plastic pen to sign, or rather, scratch, what’s supposed to be your signature, on the little screen?

I blame my newly acquired germ-phobia on a truly hideous upper respiratory “thing”  I’ve been best buddies with since mid-January. Other than a flight to and from Mexico, where I am POSITIVE all the flight attendants and all the other passengers were wishing I would succumb, right then and there,  just so I wouldn’t be coughing on them anymore, I’ve not ventured out much.

I’ve become somewhat of a recluse and avoided movies, social events, church services, board meetings and canceled dinner dates with friends because I  think of myself as a social pariah, mostly because my cough  sounds like a  seal with a pack- a- day Luckies habit. And the fact that it’s hard to stuff my latest must-have accessory –a full box of tissues –into even an oversized handbag.

Now, I know I can’t be sure how I picked up this bug. But today when I ventured out for –what else but more tissues and some vitamins?–  an  alarm sounded in my head when the clerk asked me to use the credit-card- swipe-thingy-with-convenient built- in-plastic-pen-stub. I froze mid- motion at the realization that everyone else who charged their purchases there today… even the ones who NEVER, EVER wash their hands… used that very same pen.

The easy solution would be to give up using my credit card and resort to cash, but that’s going to seriously undermine my “mileage slut” status. ( And future trips to Mexico.)

Tip: Fellow germ phobics (Have  I just created a few?) the exceedingly polite clerk told me that, next time, if I asked to avoid using the germ-matrix-credit-card- machine before he rang up the sale, that could be arranged. (So I can’t be the only one who’s asked, right?)

Now if I could just figure out how to avoid touching the door knob on my way out.

Be well.

And please do share your own germ phobias and/or your tips for staying healthy all winter!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Who Has the Oldest Spices Out There?

Posted in Life, useful information tagged , , , , , , at 1:21 am by Elaine Petrowski

Baking up some gingerbread cookies? Mixing up some eggnog? Here’s some useful info to potentially improve the results.

A friend recently sent a link to McCormick spices,  where you can find out exactly when the spices in your cabinet were minted.  At the risk of having everyone I know afraid to eat at my house, I’ll  admit I possess – I kid you not – spices that  predate …  um … let’s see … the Millennium?  The Lewinsky Affair?  My  nephew Paul, who is currently in his second year of law school?

Before you get all smug on me, go find out how old the spices in your cabinet are (at least for McCormick spices) when you have an idle moment or two. Then post your oldest spice date in the comments section below.  Shortly after the  New Year, I’ll post my codes and the dates and we’ll see who wins. ( And no cheating. You may be asked to verify with the code.)

A treasure trove of antique spices. Are yours even older?

A treasure trove of antique spices. Are yours even older?

FYI: I’ve always  HATED  the taste of cloves. So could someone please explain why I am harboring , not one, but two, “tins” (hint)  that will soon qualify as archeological finds or at least tickets of entry to “Antiques Roadshow” ?

Oh, and happy holiday baking.  With all new spices, I hope.