Thursday, June 30, 2011

Authentically Local in Iselin New Jersey

Authentically Local
Two things yesterday made me think about "local."
One - the "hyper-local" news blog for Woodbridge InJersey ending, and then
Two - I went to the Farmer's Market in Woodbridge.

I talked about Woodbridge InJersey already. Now I want to tell you my thoughts about the farmer's market.

When my husband and I went to the Parker Press Park last night, we really went to listen to the music. Shopping was also on the agenda, but not the main goal.

I was surprised that I didn't see a lot of people shopping. I'm not sure if that's because we got there so late, or if it's because no one wanted to buy anything. Maybe they were only there for the music too?

Of course, my first thought when I looked at the produce was that it seemed expensive. Of course, I don't know my prices really well - I have a few friends who ALWAYS know what things cost and where, but that's not a skill I've ever developed. But yes, it seemed high even to me.

But then I thought about it. My husband and I like to shop local, whenever possible. And we always stop at farm stands we drive past, at least we try to whenever we can. We believe that we should support all of the small business people in this country who are trying to make a living.

And of COURSE a small local farm won't be able to compete with a huge corporation who can ship in produce from Mexico and overseas and wherever you see the labels on your fruit from. Plus - it's a well-known fact that the longer produce sits around, the more nutrients it loses; so I assume that if it's sitting on a truck for a while to get to the supermarket, it's losing some nutrients, right?

So we made a point of buying sweet bi-color corn and fresh beets for dinner tonight, and two pints of blueberries for a snack. (They are DELICIOUS!)

I'm not the only person thinking about the whole "local" thing. I found a website called Authentically, which was apparently started by a lot local news outlets and blogs just like mine. This is what it said:
“Local” has recently emerged as one of the most potential lucrative corners of the economy, and corporations are rushing to it like speculators to a gold rush. Economists estimate the local advertising market is about $100 billion a year, and numerous organizations are making a play, including Groupon, Living Social, Google, Facebook, Apple and AOL.

Yup, that's what I'm talking about. We need to spread some of that money around here some.

 “The Authentically Local campaign seeks to illuminate the difference between authentic local businesses and those that are just cashing in — before every town in America becomes one giant strip mall,” said Debbie Galant, founder of Baristanet, who plans to announce the campaign at the GeoWorld Summit in New York City. “This is not just about us, the owned-and-operated sites that write about place. It’s about place.”

The website also said:

Yes, you can eat at an Applebee’s or buy your paint from a Home Depot. You can buy your books on Amazon, or download them to a Kindle. You can use an iPhone app to find the closest movie. But there’s a difference between something that’s geographically convenient and something that’s authentically local.
And the difference is this: Local doesn’t scale. Local isn’t McDonald’s, even if the McDonald’s is right down the street. Local doesn’t send profits back to a home office somewhere else.

So, please - support your local businesses!

If you have a local business, please email me and I'll write a story about you! :)
There is no cure for birth and death 
save to enjoy the interval.  
~George Santayana,
"War Shrines,"  
Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies, 1922

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Photos from Tonight's Show at Parker Press

The Parker Press Historical Site
Produce at the Farmers Market
Mayor McCormac introducing the Concert

The Willie Nile Band

Hyperlocal News in Iselin, NJ

The "Hyperlocal" news website Woodbridge InJersey came to an offical close today with a letter from founder Ted Mann. You can read it HERE... or at least, you can for now... I guess at some point they'll take down the whole site.

I feel sad about it ending, because it was a good place for local information, and I was really happy when the Iselin Times was included. I guess (especially in the beginning) it kind of "validated" my own blog, seeing that a real reporter thought some of the stories I wrote about were worth putting on a REAL web site. Now, I feel like I've accomplished something, since I've outlasted that same real news page.

I guess a big part of the reason I was able to outlast it was because this is a hobby and not a business or a career for me. I don't make any money here... sure, I'd LIKE to, but it hasn't happened :) LOL. Maybe someday.

For some reason, I just enjoy telling people how wonderful Iselin really is, and sharing fun things from around town, and taking pictures and writing stories. And I get a LOT of enjoyment out of seeing my viewership rise. Every month the number of people who look at the Iselin Times increases. So far this month, 1757 people have viewed the site. That's up from 1597 in May and up from 1168 in April. And a lot of that traffic came to me from Woodbridge InJersey's links.

So now that Woodbridge InJersey is gone, will I still have any readers? That remains to be seen. But I hope that you keep checking the Iselin Times! Thank you!

The Iselin Library Summer Program

Today, the Iselin Library will kick off it's summer program, "One World, Many Stories," with a special program for kids from kindergarten to 7th grade from Goowin's Balloowins.  The program is scheduled to run today at the Iselin Library from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.

I LOVED the library when I was a little kid.  (At least partly because the library was air conditioned, and my house was not!)  And I loved to read.  It was great for my own children when they were little, too.

I recommend that if you haven't already, you sign up your children for the summer reading club today!
There are a lot of summer programs to look forward to.  Here's July's calendar...

Woodbridge Wednesday Music
AND Farmers Market Tonight!

Every Wednesday this summer, there is a "Woodbridge Wednesday" free concert at 7:30 PM at Parker Press Park, 400 Amboy Avenue in Woodbridge. Bring a lawn chair and relax to some new music!
Tonight, it's the Willie Nile Band, which is "New York Rock." 

Today also marks the opening day of the Woodbridge Main Street Farmer's Market. It will be open from 3:00 to 8:30 PM every Wednesday from now until September 28th.

The Quote of the Day

What saves a man is to take a step.  
Then another step.  
It is always the same step, but you have to take it. 
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, 
translated from French by Lewis Galantière

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Movie Director Comes to Iselin - Part 2

Kat Brooks visited Iselin the other day, to meet with Sara. Kat is a famous producer, director and film-maker; Sara, an Iselin resident, is one of Kat’s 5,000 facebook friends. They had never met before.

Photo of Kat Brooks - courtesy of Sara
How did this meeting come about? Well, one day, when Kat was feeling ill and alone, she reached out to facebook, to the “friends” she didn’t know. Almost immediately, more than 50 people responded – they would LOVE to meet her! So Kat began a journey, making a movie about coming FACE2FACE with these people. (My previous post about Kat is linked HERE.)

Kat and Sara met in Kennedy Park this weekend, and had tea and talked, and became REAL friends – not just “facebook” friends. Sara told me it was a great experience. “Kat was super nice,” she told me. “We talked about a lot of personal stuff.” While they got to know each other, they played a little basketball…according to Sara, Kat didn’t want to leave until she made 3 baskets in a row. “Then, we went to downtown Iselin, and we got henna tattoos at Kangan Beauty, near the corner of Correja and Oak Tree Road. We also had some Indian food, Samosas (stuffed pastry shell with a savory filling),and Masoor Daal (lentils).”

Photo courtesy of Kat Brooks
“They were shooting a Hindi film down in Iselin when we were there,” Sara told me. “It was cool to see, they had a HUGE camera. Kat just had a small HD Sony Hard drive camera.”

Kat, a very spiritual person, left a few gifts with Sara, before saying her goodbyes: she gave her a rock salt lamp, incense and sage, which is known for its healing properties.

All in all, Sara felt that the meeting went very well. “It’s a life-changing experience,” she said. “I want to reach out to other people, just like Kat did with me.”

What is a Salt Lamp? From
“A salt lamp is simply a chunk of mined salt that has been hollowed out to allow room for a lightbulb or tiny candle. The light glows through the medium of the salt crystal, which can range in color from a dark salmon pink to a pale orange. Salt crystals for salt lamps are mined in Russia and central Europe as well as in the Himalayas. Salt lamps make attractive accent lights. Their main attraction, however, is that the heating of the salt causes the crystal to release negative ions (often called simply 'ions').

Negative ions have long been considered healthy; the sea air, mountain air and the air around swiftly running water is high in negative ions. Indoor air, recirculated air, and air around electronic equipment is very low in negative ions. Many office workers who suffer health complaints around fluorescent lighting and computer monitors report considerably less fatigue and headaches if the concentration of negative ions in the air is increased. Why negative ions may be beneficial is only partially understood.

It has been shown that negative ions in the air bind with airborne pollutants, making them heavier so that they fall to the ground, and therefore are unavailable to be inhaled. Many modern air purifiers - the so-called 'ionic air cleaners' - use this technique to provide cleaner indoor air for allergy sufferers. Some studies seem to indicate that an increase in negative ions in the air increases bloodflow to the brain, which would have the effect of improved concentration. The salt lamp is an attractive alternative to the utilitarian look of an air purifier.”

I hate stories about crime in Iselin.

But I guess I need to be truthful.  Crime happens here too. 
So if you want to read the story about the guy who tried to rob the KFC over by Woodbridge Center, you should go to because they have the details.


How come when I google Iselin, the Iselin Times doesn't come up in the first page of entries?
I don't want to pay google for an ad.  Especially since I'm not making any money.
Everyone who reads this - try it for me.  Google Iselin.
Then scroll down to where you find ANY entry for the Iselin Times, and click on it.
Will it make my page ranking better?  I'm not sure, but I hope so!
Another thing I'd like to try - I would like to have a really good "+1" ranking, see it on the bottom?  I'd appreciate it if you'd click on it.  I want to get a lot of "+1"'s from people.
I think it might be the next big thing.  :)

Plays in the Park in Edison - ANNIE!

 I went to Plays in the Park in Roosevelt Park (in Edison) to see "Annie" last night. As I expected, it was a great production!  Sure, it's not Broadway, but it's close enough for me... especially on a nice summer evening at $7.00 a ticket!
C'mon, you remember Annie, right? I think EVERYONE saw it when they were kids. It's a cute musical with a lot of catchy tunes. "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow" ranks right up there with "It's a Small World After All" in the list of songs that you can't get out of your head once you've heard them. And it's a nice, family friendly story, and they do a nice family friendly production. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

As I watched this story, set in the Great Depression, I couldn't help but draw parallels to today's economy and wonder how our own Great Recession will seem, when it's finally history. Maybe all we really need is a sunny outlook for everything to turn around... (nah, I doubt it's really going to be that easy!)

The actors and actresses were all wonderful. Of course I loved the actress who played "Annie", Emma Schwartz. She did a great job and has a lovely voice. All of the orphans were adorable, especially the littlest one... what a sweetie. My very favorite character was Miss Hannigan. I think that Vicki Tripodo plays the BEST Miss Hannigan I've ever seen! She was very funny, rather like a drunken female Archie Bunker. I loved hating her.

All in all, I highly recommend that you go to see this production of Annie before it finishes up it's run.

1530 people in the audience last night! It's amazing what a great show & beautiful weather forecast can do! Come see ANNIE again tonight!
It was a full house for a great show on a beautiful night!
The original Broadway production of ANNIE won seven 1977 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Book and Score. It ran for 2,377 performances, and has subsequently been produced all over the world. The original production is one of the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history, and ANNIE continues to be one of the most successful musicals ever.
Boasting one of Broadway's most memorable scores, including "It's the Hard-Knock Life," "Easy Street," "N.Y.C." and the ever optimistic "Tomorrow," you can bet your bottom dollar that ANNIE will bring a smile to your face.

Annie is playing through Saturday, July 2
(No Sundays) at 8:30 pm
Adults - $7.00, Senior Citizens - $5.00, Children 12 and Under Free

 More great information from the FAQ's on the Plays in the Park Website:
Our box office opens at 5:30 p.m. and that's when we let those people who have been waiting on line in and on to the lawn area to put down their chairs. A lot of factors figure into how early the line begins to form, and how long it might get: the weather report, the day of the week, and the type of show. It is hard to generalize, BUT a blockbuster family musical such as WIZARD OF OZ, on a sunny Friday with no predication of rain, will most likely find a line forming about 2 p.m. in the afternoon, often building to about 200 patrons by the time we open the gates. This is the first rush, and these early birds take up the first several rows. Then, over the next few hours until 8:30 p.m., there will be flurries of activity. But please keep in mind we comfortably seat 2000, so there are still plenty of spaces. You DO NOT have to show up this early. It is a rare occasion indeed for us to turn anyone away, and more often than not it is because there are no more parking spaces. On a night where there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms (which is just about every night it seems), the line will form about 4 p.m. and will reach 100 or less by 5:30 p.m. So judge accordingly, but keep in mind that the first few rows are not necessarily the best position for SOUND --- higher up on the hill is more in line with the speakers.
Q: Do I have to bring my own chairs, and what kind should I bring?
A: Yes, we provide the lawn - you provide the seats. And when you accommodate as many as we do, there is a need to be specific as to the type of chairs allowed. If your seats are too tall, then the people behind you won't be able to see; and if you bring a blanket or a seat that is too low, you won't be able to see.

Hairspray - Wednesday, Jul 13 through Saturday, Jul 23 (No Sundays) - 8:30 pm

Godspell - Wednesday, Aug 3 through Saturday, Aug 13 (No Sundays) - 8:30 pm

Here are some links to articles you might like!

I spend my morning surfing the web, and these are a few articles you might be interested in:
did an article on JFK's Graduation.  Did you see it?  There were some photos, too.
did a good informative article on the Dismal Swamp, which is a Middlesex County environmental treasure. 
published an article about Woodbridge Township's credit rating - which is "solid," in case you were wondering.  That's good.

The Quote of the Day

There is no hope for a civilization 
which starts each day 
to the sound of an alarm clock. 
~Author Unknown

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fireworks All Around Iselin

The Fourth of July is a spectacular holiday - and this year, I'm going to really celebrate.  But I definitely want to make my plans I did a little research. I love fireworks.

Well, to be clear, I love professional firework displays, put on by the experts.  I DON'T love it when my teenagers want to shoot off firecrackers.  I worry too much.  I've heard of plenty of people getting injured from shooting off their own firecrackers.  I'm also pretty certain it's illegal to "manufacture, store, sell, transport, use, dispose of, or possess explosives in any manner."  (And yes, firecrackers are explosives.)

And yet - I've been getting junk mail from places that sell fireworks over in Pennsylvania - they sell them, but I don't think it's legal to shoot them off in that state either! 

So anyway - here are some places that you can go to see Fireworks, have a great time, and be safe.  Make your plans early, and have fun!

July 1st 

Alvin P. Williams Memorial Park in Sewaren - (Rain Date, July 2nd)- Gates open at 4:00 - bring chairs or blankets, and maybe some bug spray! You can look at the town's flyer HERE.

July 2nd

Sayreville's Kennedy Park Independence Day Celebration - - (Rain Date, July 3rd) - 4:00 PM - free rides, musical entertainment and food available - entertainment at 7:00 pm, Glen Burtnik and Friends "Summer of Love Experience" Music from the Woodstock era.

July 3rd 

Red Bank "KaBoomfest" - Be sure to check their website HERE! Transportation is available on the North Jersey Coast Line.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Iselin, New Jersey

Summer is settling in nicely here in Iselin, New Jersey.

What will you be doing with yourself today?

Today might be a nice day for shopping. Maybe you want to go to Woodbridge Center, or Menlo Park Mall, or maybe even to Downtown Iselin to look at the beautiful Sari's and 24 carat Gold Jewelry? But - it's going to be a lovely day - so maybe you want to spend some time outside, gardening in your yard or picnicking in Merrill Park? Perhaps you'd like to travel. You can hop on the Garden State Parkway south and hit the beaches... or Garden State Parkway North and travel to the mountains...perhaps the New Jersey Turnpike South and head to Philadelphia, or New Jersey Turnpike North and drive into New York City?

Enjoy your day!

The Quote of the Day

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them. ~John Shirley 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Movie Director comes to Iselin - Part 1

I had a chance to interview Katherine “Kat” Brooks in advance of her visit to Iselin.  Kat is in Iselin to film for her newest movie project, “Face2Face.”  Her idea for Face2Face arose when she realized that even though she had almost 5,000 friends on facebook, it had been a month since she’d had a hug from anyone.  She decided she wanted to actually CONNECT with some of the people that she was supposed to be friends with.  One quick post on her facebook page – “The first 50 people who say yes – I want to come meet you,” – and it was begun.
Kat told me, “I’m meeting 50 people, and the plan is to take eight of the most profound stories, and combine them into a feature film and send it to Sundance. But…EVERY story is so profound! …People are being very open, so real.” She said that with so many compelling stories, it’s going to be very difficult to edit all of the footage down into one single movie.

Kat’s mission is more about connecting and helping people than just about making a movie. “Any profit from the movie is going to charity, the Trevor Project, which reaches out to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth who are suicidal.”

I asked Kat to tell me about her experience in TV and Film.  “Most of my work was in reality TV. That’s how I paid the bills.  But I always wanted to make movies.”  While she was making her money directing reality shows, she was also studying the craft of film making, and writing scripts.     

Katherine’s film and TV credits include(among others:)three seasons of the Emmy Award winning show "The Osbournes", the "Newlyweds" starring Jessica Simpson, MTV's groundbreaking "The Real World", and "The Simple Life" starring Paris Hilton.

Katherine moved into directing feature films after gaining critical praise for her short films, Finding Kate and Dear Emily… Since then, Katherine's work has been screened at over 100 festivals around the world and she has garnered dozens of awards.
Katherine's first feature film, Loving Annabelle,(writer/director), starring Erin Kelly, Diane Gaidry and Academy Award nominee Kevin McCarthy, made its premier at the prestigious Cinequest Film Festival in 2006, and won both the "Audience Award" and "Best Actress Award" at Outfest(among many others.)

Her second feature,
Waking Madison, stars Sarah Roemer, Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue, Will Patton, and Golden Globe-winner Frances Conroy. The R-rated film explores the journey of a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder.

Entertainment One will release the psychological drama-thriller film Waking Madison on DVD July 12.

(The Questions I asked Kat are in Green Italics.)

How did you get started making movies and TV?  What would you recommend to young adults who are interested in becoming a filmmaker like you?
“I am not “pro” film school,” Kat replied.  She went on to explain that between the amount of information on the internet, and just getting out and making your own films – through trial and error - you could teach yourself everything you need to know.  “Movie is about life experience.  (And there are many places that you can learn more about the craft.) So much information is readily available – for example, a lot of DVDs have director’s commentary.   Put your money into film.   Get out there and make a movie.   “Hands on” experience is what going to teach you the most.  I watch two films a day; on line, you can find probably any screen play ever written.  If you want to write and direct, read screen plays every day.  Everything is at your fingertips.  Certainly, some people thrive in school and enjoy it, but if you don’t – or if you can’t afford it -- you can just get out there and start shooting film anyway!”

How is a project like this funded?
Kickstarter is the best way for artists and filmmakers to fund projects - it's a great platform to get people to donate for rewards,” Kat explained.  She explained that she is constantly looking for creative ways to raise funds; for example, her web site at has a sponsor page. And she gives a lot of credit to some of the really wonderful people who have supported her fundraising efforts.
Face2face was scheduled to start filming June 5th.  Are you moving as quickly as you expected?  Are you on schedule? 
Kat, obviously a “go-getter” kind of gal, said that yes, she’s right on schedule, and she’s moving forward at a good pace.  “I’ve gone through 5 states already.  I started in Indiana, and I’ve visited 15 of the 50 people on the schedule.”  

What is your definition for the word Friend?
“Someone that you can trust and that trusts you, someone who doesn’t judge, but  loves you unconditionally, someone who is honest, who accepts you and makes you feel good about yourself, someone who inspires you… a true friend is rare, I think… you are lucky if you have a handful.”

And how were these people chosen?  Was it really that random, or did you research a little first before you agreed to meet with them?
 “It really was the first 50 people -- complete fate!   No research was done in advance.  Although two of the original group had to drop out for personal reasons.”

And Have you been able to make real friend connections with all of these random people that you didn’t really know?
"I’m floored that I’ve connected so well! I just thought it could be a little strange at first, or something, but everyone has been so comfortable, we’ve connected immediately, beyond what I could have imagined."

Do you find that after you’ve connected with these people, you really do still want to be friends with them? 
“Absolutely,” Kat said.  “I would say of the 15 I’ve met so far, I feel really connected to over 50% -- and I feel like I would totally keep in contact with them. One of the girls I saw in Saratoga will be in Jersey on Saturday on my day off, so we are going to get together and hang out.”  Kat said she does believe that the people she is meeting from a random post on her facebook page, where she has almost 5,000 friends, can become real and sustained relationships.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Kat in Iselin!

The Quote of the Day

Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you
 Ogden Nash quotes (American Writer of humorous poetry who won a large following for his audacious verse. 1902-1971)

Friday, June 24, 2011

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More about the High School Graduation

There are some really great graduation photos
on - did you see them?

And I got my video finished... it isn't great, but it's my first video with this new little camera I got. It's pretty shaky and it zooms around too much. I edited it on Youtube's editor, which helped tone down some of the shakiness (I was surprised you could do that!) and I used one of Youtube's free songs; the hardest part was finding a song that seemed to fit. I like it, anyway. Tell me what you think!

a Movie Maker comes to Iselin

Celebrate "Take your Dog to Work Day"!

Did you hear about the big day tomorrow? It's "Take Your Dog to Work Day." You can read all about it HERE. I wanted to tell you about it today, because you'll need time to make plans to celebrate. In honor of "Take Your Dog to Work Day," here are photos of the Office Dogs, Pearl and Bailey, at Maglione's Italian Ices in Iselin. They are happy little dogs, who are almost always in the office to greet customers. Stop in and say hi!

"First celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day® was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event asks pet lovers to celebrate the humane-canine bond and promote pet adoption..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Congratulations to the Iselin JFK HS Class of 2011!

It was a lovely afternoon for the JFK High School Graduation. The whole ceremony was held outdoors on the football field, with slightly overcast skies and a few rain drops brightening as the day went on, becoming sunny and lovely.
Speeches by Valedictorian Shifa Gandhi and Salutatorian Pranav Badami, and by the Class of 2011's President, Anthony Williams, were very nicely done - as were the speeches by the dignitaries.
I took a bunch of photos - but I must admit I took mostly photos of my own kid, sorry! I have a short video, too, but I'm trying to figure out how to work that. It isn't that good yet, but maybe I can make it a little better. I'll try to download it later.
Here are some of the photos I took... but if you have photos of your own that you would like me to put up here, email them to me at!

Congratulations to the Graduates
of Iselin Middle School!

Congratulations, Graduates! I wish you all the best... I'm sure you'll do great in High School!
My own kid doesn't go to IMS anymore, so I didn't actually go in to the ceremony. I would like to have put better photos up on here, but this was all I've got. HOWEVER, if you were there and you want to send me YOUR photos, I'll try to put some of them up! Email them to me at!

Into NYC for the
Eddie Vedder Concert at the Beacon Theater

One of the best things about living in Iselin (I know, I say this all the time) is how close you are to everything else.
Last night, we took the train into NYC so we could go to the Beacon Theater for the Eddie Vedder Solo Concert.
I wanted to do a whole story on the train, as well as on the concert, but it just didn't work out for me. I'll have to do a story on Metropark another day.

The Concert was WONDERFUL. Eddie Vedder, normally the front man for the rock/grunge supergroup "Pearl Jam", has put out a new solo album - "Ukelele Songs." This concert was a solo concert in support of the new album. He also mixed up the set list with songs from his previous solo album, "Into the Wild," and with a few Pearl Jam classics. He also played a few songs in collaboration with other artists - he had a string quartet for a while, played a few songs with Glen Hansard, who opened for him, and a few great songs with Neil Finn (from Split Enz and Crowded House.)

I would have taken pictures and video myself, but the Beacon employees made announcement after announcement that NO CAMERAS where allowed.  So I expect that this video might not last too long on youtube; I won't be surprised if it's taken down.  Anyway, I wasn't about to get a camera taken away from me, so I didn't bother trying.  Plenty of other people ignored the security though.  It was almost funny.

The music was pure and beautiful, opening with a whole set of ukelele tracks. Eddie is really great at expressing emotion through his lyrics and his voice. The peak moments for me were when Eddie played "Long Road" in tribute to Clarence Clemmons, "Millworker"- after referring to the lawsuit in the news lately (Walmart), "Unthought Known", and "Hard Sun."

I guess the down-side to the concert was some of the audience, who must not have known what to expect. Anyone walking into the concert expecting it to be a Pearl Jam concert in a small venue must have been disappointed. I had been to the Newark solo concert last time around, so I had a better idea. The "audience participation" was great when it was a sing-along in support of the show, and not good at all when it was the audience just trying to mouth off - for example, yelling out the names of Pearl Jam songs they wanted to hear. Please.

All in all, though, it was a great experience. I wish I had tickets to tonight's show, too. I'm not sure if they are sold out - I imagine they are, though.

From the Eddie Vedder FAN CLUB WEBSITE:
Eddie Vedder at the Beacon Theater, New York, NY -- June 21, 2011
Show 1 Set List -- 01. Sleeping By Myself 02. Without You 03. Goodbye 04. Can't Keep 05. Light Today 06. You're True 07. Long Road 08. Sometimes 09. Betterman 10. I Am Mine 11. Millworker-(James Taylor) 12. No Ceiling 13. Far Behind 14. Long Nights w/ Glen Hansard 15. Guaranteed 16. Rise 17. Just Breathe w/ string quartet 18. The End w/ string quartet 19. Unthought Known 20. Arc

Encore Break 1 -- 21. Wishlist 22. Sleepless Nights w/ Glen Hansard-(Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant) 23. Society w/ Glen Hansard-(Jerry Hannan) 24. Throw Your Arms Around Me w/ Neil Finn-(Archer, Falconer, Howard, Mills, Seymour, Smith, Waters) {Hunters & Collectors} 25. I Got You w/ Neil Finn-(N. Finn) 26. Lukin 27. Porch

Encore Break 2-- 28. Hard Sun w/ Glen Hansard & Neil Finn-(Peterson) 29. Dream A Little Dream-(Gus Kahn, Wilbur Schwandt, Fabian Andree)

String Quartet Members: Lorenza Ponce Violin 1 Robin Zeh Violin 2 Amy Kinball viola Amy Ralske cello

In case the Beacon video is taken down, here's a version of Long Road that I expect will be OK.
NYC After the Show - still awake and alive!

Woodbridge Wednesday Music Tonight!

Every Wednesday this summer, there is a "Woodbridge Wednesday" free concert at 7:30 PM at Parker Press Park, 400 Amboy Avenue in Woodbridge. Bring a lawn chair and relax to some new music! Tonight, the band is Girsa, which is Irish Folk Music.

On Graduation Day

The big day has finally arrived. It's GRADUATION DAY at John F. Kennedy High School in Iselin. The ceremony will be held today at 2:00 PM.

If it rains, you'll need tickets to get into the gym; each senior was given two tickets. I'm hoping for a nice sunny day, in which case the ceremony will be held on the football field. Of course it's looking like a 50-50 chance of thunderstorms; it figures. I'm bringing a rain poncho.

My youngest son will be graduating today, so I'll definitely be at the high school, and hopefully I'll have some photos to post later.

I also have a few words of advice for the class of '11, but I doubt they want to listen to me. I didn't want to listen to old people when I graduated, either. But for what it's worth, this is what I have to say.

Think. Think about what you want out of your life. Spend a little time day-dreaming about it. Day-dreaming isn't always a bad thing. Set some goals - some that you know that you can reach, and some that are grandiose dreams that you doubt you'll ever achieve. Some practical things, and some amazing things. And then spend some time thinking about one little, tiny thing that you can do TODAY to get one step closer to those dreams. And write down those ideas and goals and little tiny steps, so you can look at them and think about them again later.

Your life grows one step at a time. Every little step you take, every action, every decision, as small as it may be, sets you off in a direction. Make those little steps count. You'd be surprised at how fast time goes by - try not to waste it. Don't veg out too often. Try to take a few little steps in the direction of your dreams, every single day. Sooner or later, you'll get to where you want to be.

Don't be afraid. When you think about your dreams, a lot of times your mind will start playing tricks on you. You'll hear your common sense say something like, "That's just silly," or "It's too hard to do that." Or maybe you'll just get REALLY TIRED, and need to lay down a few minutes, or you'll decide to zone out with a video game for a while. Don't listen. Instead, take one, little, tiny, step. Move forward.

Don't get so attached to STUFF. Things won't make you happy.

Don't get involved with the drama. A lot of people SAY they hate drama, but get involved with it anyway. Why do so many people seem to LOVE the drama? It's exciting, it's addicting. But it isn't healthy. You need less excitement and less drama and less STUFF than you think you do.

Instead, try to find JOY in life. Joy is way better and more fun. I can't tell you where to look because it's different for every person. But I can suggest that it's hidden in peace, and in appreciation, and in love, and in thanks. It's also hidden in working hard - no one seems to expect to find it there, and you might not see it at first, but you can find joy in hard work if you keep looking in the right place.

Congratulations on your graduation. Good luck and best wishes. I hope you find all the joy your heart can hold. There is plenty to go around.

The Quote of the Day


To laugh often and much, 
to win the respect of intelligent people 
and the affection of children, 
to earn the appreciation of honest critics 
and endure the betrayal of false friends, 
to appreciate beauty, 
to find the best in others, 
to leave the world a bit better, 
whether by a healthy child, 
a garden patch, 
or a redeemed social condition; 
to know even one life 
has breathed easier 
because you have lived. 
This is to have succeeded! 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ukelele Tuesday

And did I mention, I'm going into the city tonight to see the Eddie Vedder Solo concert??? VERY EXCITING!!! At the Beacon Theater - You can try for tickets at their website, which is HERE.

I'll tell you all about it late tonight, when I get home! :)

North East Corridor delay

According to, New Jersey Transit's web site, at 8:35 AM when I looked at it,
Northeast Corridor service between Trenton and New York has resumed as of 6:45 a.m., subject to 10-15 minute delays due to residual power problems.

Apparently there was a transformer fire in New Brunswick.  You can read more HERE on CBS

I hope it all clears up soon!
I'll have another story on train travel from Iselin tomorrow.

A summer photo... and the Quote of the Day

Today is a great day for a trip to the beach.  I took this photo last summer, and I can't wait to take more some time soon.

Of course, most of us have to go to work today.  If you are working too, just stare at the photo for a while and daydream; that's what I'm going to do...

“The cure for anything 
is salt water - 
or the sea.”

--Isak Dinesen

Happy Summer!

Today is the Day!  Summer officially begins on June 21, 2011, at 1:16 p.m.

According to,
"The word solstice comes from the Latin words for "sun" and "to stop," due to the fact that the Sun appears to stop in the sky. The Sun is directly overhead at its most northern point at "high-noon" on the summer solstice, creating more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere on this day then any other.
On the solstice, we also hit the longest day of the year. From here on out, the days begin to get shorter."

The also gives the times of sun rise and set; today, we will have 15 hours and 6 minutes of sun.  The sun rises at 5:26 AM and sets at 8:32 PM. It also gives the rising and setting time for other planets, and the REALLY long range weather forecast, if you are interested.  The Almanac says,
Summer will be drier and slightly cooler than normal, with the hottest periods in mid- and late June, early July, and early to mid-August.
Hmmmm... that sounds like a good bet!

Monday, June 20, 2011

“On Monday, when the sun is hot,
I wonder to myself a lot:
Now is it true, or is it not,
That what is which and which is what?'”

A. A. Hodge quotes (American Biographer, one of the Princeton greats, son of protestant theologian Charles Hodge, 1823-1886)

Today is another hot Monday, and this quote reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.  I've got an "Alice in Wonderland" theme in my head today because I've started a painting of the Tea Party.  But now, I must go, because I'm Late! I'm Late! I'm Late!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I was scanning the news online today, and came across this article. Now, I'm not a sports person, so normally I don't read the sports stuff at all. But I know this guy from JFK High School! So, I reprinted part of the article here. I haven't had a chance to talk to Coach Smith at all, but I want to tell him - Congratulations Coach Smith! I hope you hit it out of the park! (Or whatever the appropriate sports metaphor is!)

Click here to see the whole story: New Jersey City University - JERRY SMITH APPOINTED HEAD BASEBALL COACH AT NEW JERSEY CITY
JERSEY CITY, NJ ( | Accomplished high school coach JEREMIAH 'JERRY' SMITH, JR. has been selected as the 11th head baseball coach in the 65-year history of the New Jersey City University baseball program for the 2012 season.
Smith, 33, makes the jump to the college level after seven successful seasons at JFK Memorial High School in Iselin, NJ, where he posted a 120-70 record (.632) from 2005-11, culminating in capturing the 2009 New Jersey Group III state championship and the North II, Group II state sectional crown. The 2009 Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) and 2008 Home News Tribune Coach of the Year, he guided the Mustangs to GMC division titles in 2008 and 2009.

The Quote of the Day

"Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party."
Jimmy Buffett

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Woodbridge Township School District Book Fair at Barnes and Noble

Please come out and support the Woodbridge
Township School District fundraising and literacy campaign!
This event will benefit all 24 public schools in the district!
Come out for guest readers, student performances, raffles & prizes.

Visit to support us online from 06/16/11 to 06/20/11 by entering Bookfair ID10489284 at checkout.
Event Schedule
Enjoy a Custom Smoothie -- the Mustangs Muscle Maker
Thursday, June 16
Featured Schools: #1, #4/5, #9, #11, #14, #23, #25, #28, AMS, FMS, WMS & WHS
WTSD 2011-2012 HW PASS (any school, any subject) for every child entering 1-6pm
FREE ITALIAN ICE COUPONS FROM RITA’S for every child entering 1-6pm
Store Scavenger Hunt with McDONALD’S & DENNY’S PRIZES while supplies last
2:00 pm -- School #4/5 Choral Group
2:15 pm -- Middle School and High School Student Readings
2:30 pm -- WHS Step Team
2:45 pm -- WHS Drum Line
3:00 pm -- Special Guest Reader -- Director of Personnel Mrs. Joanne Shafer
3:15 pm -- WHS Jazz Choir
5:30 pm -- School #11 First Grade Reading Celebration
Friday, June 17
Feature: Teacher Appreciation Day & JFK Student Art Display
12:00pm -- Elementary Literacy Coaches Meeting, Café
1:30pm -- Award-winning poet Edwin Romond (, author of
Alone With Love Songs and Dream Teaching, shares his faculty program Teaching Life
2:15pm -- Grade 2 Curriculum Celebration & Debriefing Meeting
3:30pm -- G&T Student Readings
Saturday, June 18 & Sunday, June 19
Feature: Dedicated Shopping Days for Father’s Day, Graduations, and Summer Reading
Shop in the store or online for the duration of the event 6/16-6/20 with VOUCHER ID # 10489284
or tell the cashier you are with WTSD. Remember to pass along vouchers to everyone you know!
Monday, June 20
Featured Schools: #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #24, #26, #27, CMS, IMS, CHS & JFK
2:00pm -- School #21 Choral Group
2:15pm -- Special Guest Reader
2:30pm -- School #18 Physical Education Teacher Story Share
2:45pm -- Middle School and High School Student Readings
3:00pm -- Special Guest -- Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Crowe
3:30pm -- CHS AcaPatriots

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photos of the Car Show on Main Street in Woodbridge

The car show was tonight... I am so glad I got there! Here are a few photos. Well, maybe more than a few. I couldn't BELIEVE how many cars showed up - and each was more exciting than the one before!

The next Car Show will be July 20th. If the weather is as nice as it was tonight, make sure you get there!

The Last Full Day of School!

All schools in Woodbridge Township have scheduled early dismissals beginning tomorrow, Thursday, June 16, through and including the last day of school, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.
High schools will be dismissed at 12:10 PM.
Middle schools will be dismissed at 12:45 PM.
Grades 1 through 5 will be dismissed at 1:10 PM.
A M kindergarten, and A M pre-school disabled, will be dismissed at 11:35 AM.
P M Kindergarten, and P M pre-school disabled, will begin at 10:30 AM, and will be dismissed at 1:10 PM.

But... you already knew that, didn't you?

Anyway, I hope you did.

I'm really going to miss getting the Honeywell Alerts when my youngest son graduates high school next week!

Main Street Woodbridge Car Show

It seems like there's something going on almost every night this summer in Woodbridge -- you never have to stay home!  Tonight, it's a Classic Car Show on Main Street. A nice place to go after dinner, take a little stroll around, and day dream about the car you had when you were a kid. Or maybe the car you WANT to have when you have the cash!

In July - 
the Car Show will be held on July 20th... Be there or be square!

Quote of the Day

Who says nothing is impossible.  
I've been doing nothing for years.  
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day!

I remember when I was a kid, celebrating Flag Day in school, we would sing "You're a Grand Old Flag," and we'd color in the Stars and Stripes...
...and when my kids were little, in Cub Scouts, we would have a special ceremony at the T. Nulty Post 471 American Legion, where the gentlemen of the post would teach the Cub Scouts (and anyone else who was interested) all about how you officially retire the colors.
This year, I'll probably just celebrate Flag Day by hanging up my American Flag... as long as it isn't raining.

For more information on the history of Flag day, you can go HERE

Quote of the Day

I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color,
a symbol of yourself,
the pictured suggestion of that big thing 
which makes this nation. 
My stars and my stripes are your dream and your labors.
They are bright with cheer, 
brilliant with courage, 
firm with faith, 
because you have made them so out of your heart. 
For you are the makers of the flag 
and it is well that you glory in the making.  
~Franklin Knight Lane

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,

I saw this video on Facebook called "Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,"
and I have to admit, it made me cry.
(I can be very mushy some days. Not every day, mind you, just SOME days.)

You should watch it.
Anyway, it reminded me of The Sunscreen Song. The Sunscreen Song was full of good advice for people graduating and moving on to the next stage of their lives.

So in honor of the end of the school year, and the beginning of summer, I bring you these videos.

(If you receive my blog posts in an email, you might not see the videos. You might have to come right to the blog... )

Elementary School Field Days

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When my kids were in Elementary School, they had so much fun at the Field Day, right before summer vacation. Field Day at Robert Mascenik School 26 is going on today - have fun, kids!

The Quote of the Day...

Monday is a lame way to spend 1/7 of your life. 
  ~Author Unknown

End of the Year Activities

The school year is winding down to a close finally.

JUNE 16, 2011

JUNE 17, 2011

8th Grade dance at Iselin Middle School:
JUNE 17, 2011 - 6:00 PM

JUNE 20, 2011

So I guess you should be studying, if you are in High School!
And then... the main event...


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Quote of the Day

I found this quote HERE on Stumble Upon - one of my new favorite ways to waste time!
It was a quote by Diogenes, which was done in graffiti by Banksy, which was shown in a website called "My Modern Met", which was reprinted on Stumble Upon. I decided I liked it enough to quote it.

Ahhh, irony.

Photos from the Relay for Life

Survivor Cindy Lizzano and Organizer Michelle Daichman
The Relay for Life kicked off right on schedule tonight.  It was a misty, cool evening, and it would have been fine... we set up tarps and canopies... but then we heard it was possible that thunder and lightning was on the way.  So we didn't make the whole night.  I wonder if anyone else is still out in the field?  Some tents were set up that looked like they were in it for the long haul.

The Relay's opening laps honored cancer survivors and their caretakers.

The luminaria were lit around the track, and they looked beautiful.

My team and I only lasted until 11:30-ish... but we had a great time.  Next year, hopefully the weather will cooperate.