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?

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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!

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!)

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 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?

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?

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?

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