Saturday, February 11, 2017

FirstService Residential Drops the Ball—Again

(click to enlarge)

After the second snowstorm of the season, it is disheartening to see that our snow removal contractor BrightView has done more damage to the Parcel 6 corner and berm. The shrubs that were trashed in the first snowstorm were pushed back and covered with snow once again. This time snow was piled high, creating a filthy wall along the front of the berm. Lower branches of the trees were pulled down and broken in the process.

It's perplexing that our snow removal contractor would treat the landscape in such a harsh and damaging way when another part of their own company is responsible for its care in other seasons. What's even more discouraging is that our management company FirstService Residential hasn't done anything about it.

Photos: Paul E. Nolting

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black History Month

The Gift to Sing
by James Weldon Johnson

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
      I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow's somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
      And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
      And I can sing.

Photo: Carl Van Vechten

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Let Us Remember Who We Are

                                                       Photo: Paul E. Nolting

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore

1936 – 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Photo: AP/John Minchillo

"The Constitution does not begin with, 'I, the president.' It begins with, 'We, the people.' So don't try to divide us. Do not try to divide us!"
— Gloria Steinem

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow Removal Trashes Shrubs

We're one snowstorm into the season and the beleaguered Parcel 6 corner is in trouble again. Our snow removal contractor drove a plow up onto the corner, next to the Parcel 6 monument, crushing and uprooting the shrubs. The plow also dumped gravel from the road in front of the damaged plants (click photo to enlarge).

What can we say? We just hope repair and replacement doesn't take our management company FirstService Residential as long as it took them to replace the monument sign the snow removal contractor damaged last year—about 8 months.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Read, My Child, Read!"

In 2016 Congressman John Lewis received the National Book Award for March, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell


by Claude McKay

Now the dead past seems vividly alive,
    And in this shining moment I can trace,
Down through the vista of the vanished years,
    Your faun-like form, your fond elusive face.

And suddenly come secret spring's released,
    And unawares a riddle is revealed,
And I can read like large, black-lettered print,
    What seemed before a thing forever sealed.

I know the magic word, the graceful thought,
    The song that fills me in my lucid hours,
The spirit's wine that thrills my body through,
    And makes me music-drunk, are yours, all yours.

I cannot praise, for you have passed from praise,
    I have no tinted thoughts to paint you true;
But I can feel and I can write the word;
    The best of me is but the least of you.

                            Photo: Vincent Hoban

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Congratulations, Vice President Biden

Today President Obama awarded Vice President Biden the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at a surprise ceremony at the White House. The president added that he was bestowing the medal "with distinction," an additional level of veneration that has only been given to three other recipients: Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MLK Day of Service in the Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands on Monday, January 16, 2017, for a cleanup in the Mapleton Preserve on the National Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From noon to 3 pm volunteers will be clearing small trees, brush, vines and trash in the historic Mapleton Preserve. You are asked to bring any tools you may have, such as saws, clippers, loppers and rakes. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather—work gloves, sturdy shoes, warm clothing and hats are recommended. For more information, visit the FPNL website or call 609-683-0483. Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park is located at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. (If using a GPS, use 145 Mapleton Road, Princeton 08540 as the address.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thank You, Mr. President

Photo: John Gress/Reuters

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017


by William Carlos Williams

Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                    Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                    And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.

Photo: Henk

Friday, December 30, 2016

First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve

Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands invites everyone to a First Day Hike in the Mapleton Preserve on Sunday, January 1, 2017, from noon until 2 pm. For anyone who made a resolution to walk more, this is a great opportunity to start the new year off on the right foot with an easy hike through the Mapleton Preserve.

The walk will start at the Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. Dress for the weather whatever it is. The walk is free and all are welcome. For more information, call 609-683-0483 or visit the FPNL website.

Photo: Jonathan Michalik

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds

1932 – 2016

Photo: Cliff Lipson

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher

1956 – 2016

Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.

Photo: Riccardo Ghilardi

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Postcard

Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Twas the night before Christmas . . .

A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Monday, December 12, 2016

FirstService Residential Dropped the Ball—Again

Early this morning without any notice or warning from management, a construction project began on my home. Six trucks, 10 or 12 workers, ladders, scaffolding and other equipment suddenly appeared. Soon there was chaos on my roof—pounding hammers, removing of nails, stomping footsteps. After searching for the foreman, I was told they are replacing the wood trim on all 24 townhouses in Parcel 1, a job that will take about a week and a half. He added that I might want to move my car to a safer location and watch out for falling lumber when I enter and exit my home.

It is difficult enough to wake up and discover your front yard has been turned into a construction zone, but it is even more inexcusable that our management company, FirstService Residential, did not notify homeowners in advance of the project. We are constantly reminded of bagel breakfasts, "holiday" celebrations, etc., but there was no notification about this major construction on our homes. Isn't management supposed to serve residents? Who is responsible for carrying out the simple courtesy of letting us know what is happening to our homes?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It's Emily Dickinson's Birthday

I'll tell you how the Sun rose
by Emily Dickinson

I'll tell you how the Sun rose –
A Ribbon at a time –
The Steeples swam in Amethyst –
The news, like Squirrels, ran –
The Hills untied their Bonnets –
The Bobolinks – begun –
Then I said softly to myself –
"That must have been the Sun"!
But how he set – I know not –
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while –
Till when they reached the other side –
A Dominie in Gray –
Put gently up the evening Bars –
And led the flock away –

Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. For more of her poems, click here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Celebrate the Season at Princeton Abbey

To celebrate the holidays, Princeton Abbey is hosting a concert featuring Princeton Pro Musica's Chamber Chorus on Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 1 to 3 pm. All are welcome to attend at no charge, compliments of the Princeton Abbey.

"As a new business in the Princeton area, we want to give back to those who have welcomed us so warmly," explains Katherine Walden, with the Princeton Abbey & Cemetery. "We look forward to sharing the Abbey with the community at this special time of year and are honored Princeton Pro Musica is helping us celebrate the season with song."

The program will feature traditional holiday choral pieces and will also include audience participation. Light refreshments, with hot chocolate and cookies, will be provided afterwards.

The Princeton Abbey is located at 75 Mapleton Road, Princeton, NJ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Question of the Week

This is what it looked like outside a neighbor's house this morning. Crows were picking through the plastic bags and flew away just before I took this photo.

Are trash cans optional in Princeton Landing? FirstService Residential? Covenants Committee? Anyone?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving Day Walk at Mapleton Preserve

Join Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands for a walk in the woods on Thanksgiving morning. FPNL's annual Thanksgiving Day Nature Walk in the Mapleton Preserve takes place on Thursday, November 24, 2016, at 10 am. The program will begin at the main office for the D&R Canal State Park, 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. Come work up a Thanksgiving appetite while searching for signs of what our local wildlife is having for dinner. Learn about turkey tail mushrooms (photo above) and enjoy the abundance and subtle beauty of late fall.

This walk is free and all are welcome, but preregistration is requested. Please call 609-683-0483 to reserve a spot. For more information, visit the FPNL website.

Photo: Karen Linder

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Leonard Cohen

 1934 – 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An American Tragedy

"Late last night, as the results were coming in from the last states, a friend called me full of sadness, full of anxiety about conflict, about war. Why not leave the country? But despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do."

Read "An American Tragedy" by David Remnick in The New Yorker.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall Back

Remember to move your clocks back one hour tonight. Daylight saving time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 6.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

"Schools of Kingston" — KHS Meeting and Talk

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at 7:30 pm, the Kingston Historical Society will have its annual meeting and talk. After a very brief business meeting, there will be an illustrated presentation on the "Schools of Kingston." The program will include reminiscences of six former students of one or both of the school buildings which remain in Kingston, the Kingston Free School built in 1871, on Academy Street at Route 27, and the Laurel Avenue School built about 1923, on the corner of Laurel Avenue and Union Street. The program will be led by George Luck, Jr., at the Laurel Avenue School.

Both schools have had additions since being built, but changing times led to both schools being "decommissioned" about 1988 and 1998. Fortunately they still exist. The Laurel Avenue School was recently renovated and is now being used as the YingHua International School.

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn the history of these old buildings that we drive by all the time. All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit KHSNJ or call 609-223-3877.