Archive for January, 2009

Sunset on Long Island

Posted in Family, Personal, Photos on January 30, 2009 by maryrestaino


The Great South Bay at sunset, Long Island, NY. The land in the distance is Fire Island. My two children and I went down to a local marina today where they store boats. The water has frozen over and they enjoyed sliding on the ice at sunset. Here are a few pictures:




 My children enjoyed themselves and they were fun to watch. Next time I’ll get out there with them!


Random observations in life

Posted in Family, Personal, Thoughts on January 26, 2009 by maryrestaino

shopping-cart-clipart4Random observations in life

Today I completed one of the most mundane chores, something most of us do. I went grocery shopping.

I hate grocery shopping. Gone is the small neighborhood grocery market where I knew every cashier by name. Delicatessens, a New York phenomena, have sprung up on almost every corner like dandelions. It is a wonder to me how they all survive. They sell sandwiches, convenience foods, and some grocery items. But for fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and packaged foods within our family’s budget, I must make that weekly pilgrimage.

There are three supermarkets in our area; two of which are owned by the same company. One in particular seems to have the lowest sale prices and the masses turn out in droves, especially if you have the misfortune of shopping there on the weekend or before a holiday. Prices keep getting higher and cashiers are being replaced by self check-out stations. Customers are left to scan and pack the items themselves.

Not me though, I like a full-service shopping experience. I pushed my cart past the bag-your-own lines and the self-scan checkouts and went directly for the only check-out cashier provided for customers with a full cart. As I passed a self-scan station, I observed one short, heavy-set woman with dyed-blonde hair and long, fake nails. She was looking puzzled as she turned her item every which way so that it would scan.

A few other customers had the same idea, and I waited, with my cart sticking out in the aisle. Just then, a young mother plowed through the crowd with a baby in one arm and leading a toddler with the other. She stopped at my cart and waited for me to move. I ignored her and she finally went around, exclaiming loudly, “Some people take up the whole aisle!”

I guess I’m just a dinosaur, one who remembers when shopping for food was less complicated and a little more personal.

I’m getting unsolicited calls on my cell phone

Posted in Personal, Thoughts on January 24, 2009 by maryrestaino

I’ve been getting unsolicited telemarketing phone calls on my cell phone.


When I Google the phone numbers, I get taken to a site where people report annoying phone calls received from the same or similar phone numbers.


I don’t know if there is a connection but I noticed I started getting phone calls more often after I send out a large number of online resumes. There must be a more secure way of answering help-wanted classified ads.


One option is to purchase a prepaid cell phone for only job searching purposes.


As long as we’re on the subject, take precautions when posting your resume online. Only use your first initial and last name, and be non-specific about years of graduation, dates of employment, or even names of the companies you worked for. Don’t list your home phone number. Let potential employers know you will provide more information if they ask.


If a potential employer should contact you, be careful. Don’t give out personal information on the phone until you’ve attended an interview.  Some scammers will call you posing as a potential employer.


Take time and research additional ways you can protect your identity and financial security. It is well worth your effort.






Simple steps for avoiding cold and flu germs

Posted in Family, Personal on January 23, 2009 by maryrestaino

Here are some simple things you can do every day to help prevent colds and flu:
1. Wash your hands – Most germs are spread by direct contact; germs can live up to several hours on surfaces. Wash your hands twice every time you wash them. When in public restrooms, use paper towels to touch faucets and to open the door when leaving the restroom. Sounds overly cautious, but recommended by the Center for Disease Control to protect against germs. If no sink is available, rub your hands together very hard for a minute or so, which helps break up cold germs. Or rub an alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto your hands. Scrub under your fingernails every night and change your hand towels frequently.
2. Don’t touch your face. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. The average person touches or rubs his/her eyes, nose or face 20-50 times a day, according to Jordan Rubin, Ph.D., author of the book The Maker’s Diet. Also, don’t cover your face with your hands when you’re sneezing. Because germs and viruses cling to your bare hands, muffling coughs and sneezes with your hands passes along germs to others. Use a tissue instead and throw away immediately. Keep several boxes of tissues in your work and home space to maximize the likelihood of use.
3. Drink ample fluids – Keeps you hydrated as it flushes out your system. Recommended amount of fluids for an adult is eight eight-ounce glasses daily.
4. Exercise Regularly – Aerobic exercise helps increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells by increasing blood and oxygen circulation.
5. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption – Both suppress the immune system in many ways. Smoking also dries out nasal passages and alcohol consumption dehydrates.
6. Eat a healthy diet with vegetables, fruits and yogurt – The natural chemicals contained in dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits gives vitamins contained in food a boost. Also, eating a daily cup of yogurt has been shown in studies to reduce susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. Researchers theorize the beneficial bacteria in yogurt stimulates the immune system.
7. Run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10 seconds or store it in hydrogen peroxide (rinse thoroughly before using), to kill germs. Once you’re finished brushing, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Replace your toothbrush at the beginning of every month and after you’ve had a cold.
8. Take a garlic supplement every day.
9. Sit in a sauna or breathe in warm air from your blow dryer for 20 minutes. Both have been proven to reduce susceptibility to cold and flu germs.
10. Reduce stress – Stress has been proven to increase your chances of getting sick. Don’t blame yourself when things go wrong and meditate daily.

Ten easy ways to reuse everyday items

Posted in Family, Personal on January 21, 2009 by maryrestaino

Ten easy ways to reuse everyday items
Saves you money and is good for the environment.
1. My husband plays the guitar and had an idea – cut out guitar picks from old credit cards and other plastic cards. He uses a guitar pick as a model and cuts around it. He claims it works!
2. Reuse old packing materials and bubble wrap envelopes. I remove the old labels or cross them out and put lines through old postage stamps and bar codes. Boxes can also be reused if you remove packing labels or cross them out and cover them up.
3. “…cut up the heavy plastic wrap from the cases of bottled water and use it as a waterproof liner for shipping…use brown paper cut from grocery bags for the outer wrapper.” 1
4. Reuse old spaghetti sauce jars. I wash them and use them to hold small items, such as change.
5. A cat bed can be made out of a flat box, just put a blanket inside of it. They’ll love it!
6. Small containers such as film canisters or toy cases from a vending machine can be made into cat toys. Put small items such as bells or buttons in them, close them up and toss them across the floor. Cats love things that rattle and make noise. Discard when toy cracks or breaks.
7. Reuse plastic grocery bags. I put garbage in them or use them to hold clothes that I’m donating to charity. They come in handy when you run out of garbage bags. Just be careful, they leak sometimes. Another way to go green with shopping bags: purchase reusable grocery bags for a small fee.
8. Don’t discard water you cook with, pour it over your plants. It is filled with nutrients.2
9. “Used dryer sheets can be used to clean your iron, just run the iron over it on medium heat.” They can also be used to freshen up shoes.“Stick used dryer sheets into drawers to keep clothes smelling nice.”
10. “Make scratch pads and phone message pads out of old photocopies”.3
You can think of many more creative ways to reuse common disposable household items. Research on the Internet for even more ideas.

Can video game playing become an addiction?

Posted in Family, Thoughts on January 19, 2009 by maryrestaino

I think so. I have three children, 2 boys and a girl. The two boys, especially, can play for hours on end if I don’t intervene. I wondered if I was the only parent with concerns, apparently not.
According to some studies, the excitement of video games causes the brain to release an addictive chemical. Some countries, like South Korea, China, the Netherlands and the United States, have responded to the concern of video game addiction by opening treatment centers.
What makes these games so addictive? Media literacy specialist, Dr. Charles Ungerleider explains that “they’re very compelling with increasing complexity, so a child becomes more facile, yet wants to know more and apply new skills.” Playing video games becomes a problem when it is “taking a youngster away too much from other activities,” says Ungerleider. “Then the parent has to intervene and limit the amount of time the youngster spends with the video game.”
Dr. Brody, head of the media committee at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, says that addiction to computer games can be caused by psychological problems such as antisocial personality disorder, depression, and phobias such as social phobia. He believes that many addicts want a way to escape reality and then find that they can create a whole new persona on an online game and live their life through their new online personality. Through this they can start to like fantasy life more than reality due to newfound friends and power, and therefore, refuse to be drawn away from it.
Dr. Karen Pierce, a psychiatrist at a children’s hospital in Seattle, treats at least two children a week who play computer and video games excessively, and “treats it like any addiction.”
Not all professionals believe video game playing is bad for kids. Professor of Computer Science, Maria Klavee feels video games, if not too violent, can “offer some real opportunities for puzzle solving, strategic and critical thinking”. Klavee says parents should “provide a selection of activities, not just the ones that have the most action or are addictive. Choose some that involve problem solving or good story lines. Also aim for a balance in your child’s life. Sports are important, reading’s important. Just think of computer games as one more component in a child’s exploration of what’s out there in society.”
Research in treatment is still in the preliminary stages. As with other addictions or dependencies, it is believed the most effective treatments are a combination of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy and twelve-step programs.
In our household, it is a constant battle for me as a parent to get my two sons away from the video games. As a result, I refuse to buy the new systems on the market now. They are playing older systems, such as Nintendo 64 and Game Cube. My children weren’t allowed to buy new video games with their Christmas money as well. I thought they would eventually tire of playing the old video games and just quit. It hasn’t happened yet.




What am I?

Posted in Personal, Poetry, Thoughts with tags on January 17, 2009 by maryrestaino

What am I?

I inspire

Show my desire




Or depress

I can lift you up

Make you laugh

Bring you down

Make you cry

I warm your heart

Cut you to the core


Put together with others

We mean so much

Or nothing at all

I can wear a mask

Or let you see who I am

Wear your armor

Until you know for sure

I am the written and spoken word


Mary Restaino