Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We wish our readers a happy and healthy 2011!

Glückliches Neues Jahr, Zurich!

Photo: Zurich Tourism

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Day

Yet again, a bit of inclement weather and Parcel 6 loses power. What grid are we on anyway? Not that there weren't plenty of things to do without heat or electricity, but my camera was charged and the ice patterns on the glass doors were intriguing.

Is it me, or do you see a poodle?

An elephant?

Oh, you'll never guess the identity of this frozen creature. It's my husband shoveling our walkway before it turns completely to ice . . . .

Then, mirabile dictu, power was restored before PSE&G's estimated time of 6:30 pm and all was right with the world . . . the world of Parcel 6, that is.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Crossing

Tonight's weather brings to mind another stormy winter night in our area 234 years ago. On Christmas night in 1776, a howling nor'easter hit the Delaware Valley. In the midst of the storm, George Washington's army crossed the Delaware River and defeated a Hessian garrison at Trenton. In a second battle at Trenton several days later, the Americans held off a British counterattack, then slipped away. Marching north, Washington's men struck again and defeated the British at Princeton.

Months earlier, just a few weeks after the Continental Congress had boldly declared American independence, a powerful British force had landed in Brooklyn and captured New York after decisively defeating Washington's army. As the remnants of the Continental army fled west across the Delaware, British forces occupied New Jersey and advanced on Philadelphia.
The American cause seemed lost, but Washington and his men did not let the Revolution die. Their victories at Trenton and Princeton shook the British and turned the tide.

Historic parks mark both sides of the Delaware River where the winter crossing occurred—the Washington Crossing Historic Park is on the Pennsylvania side, and Washington Crossing State Park is on the New Jersey side.

2010 Trader Joe's Favorites

Click to enlarge the image.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

We wish our readers good tidings of great joy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Frohe Weihnachten

Photo: Zurich Tourism

To Our Dear Friends in Zurich, Switzerland

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."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Early Tuesday morning people in the Princeton area who set their alarm clocks and braved the 29º temperature (real feel 16º) were able to witness an astronomical event of a lifetime—a winter solstice lunar eclipse. As the Earth passed directly between the Sun and the full Moon, its shadow covered the lunar surface and transformed its normal bright whiteness into a deep copper glow. This event was especially significant because this lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice, something that hasn't happened in 372 years and won't come around again until 2094.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Hospital Draws National Attention


Princeton Landing's new neighbor, the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, is attracting national attention. McClatchy Newspapers recently published a story about the innovative energy-efficient design of the new hospital, which is under construction on Route 1 south of our community. McClatchy is the third largest newspaper company in the US, publishing 30 newspapers in cities across the country.

The new UMCPP will generate electricity using its own natural gas power plant. Heat generated as a byproduct will make steam to heat and cool the facility and sterilize hospital equipment. This "co-generation" of electricity and steam is part of a broader design strategy intended to make the new facility a national model for sustainability, environmental responsibility and energy efficiency.

The McClatchy Newspapers story was written by correspondent Renee Schoof. It is one of several news media reports on the new UMCPP, including stories in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nature Guide: Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Photo: NASA

Winter begins on Tuesday. Early that morning—for the first time in 372 years—we will experience a total eclipse of the Moon. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer tells us more about this remarkable event.

"This year winter officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere at 6:38 pm EST on December 21, 2010, the shortest day and longest night of the year. This is the winter solstice, when the sun reaches its lowest point in the northern sky. But for the first time since 1638, the morning of December 21 will offer an additional astronomical treat: a lunar eclipse. The full Moon will pass almost dead center through Earth's shadow.

"The eclipse begins Tuesday morning at 1:33 am EST. At first the Earth's shadow will appear as a dark red sliver at the edge of the lunar disk. Gradually that sliver will expand to cover the whole face of the Moon, which is known as totality. Totality will be reached at 2:41 am EST and will last 72 minutes.

"During the moments of total coverage, an eerie amber light will color our landscape an unusual coppery red. This reddish color comes from sunlight that passes around the Earth's edge and is reflected back to Earth by the Moon while the eclipse is underway.

"It will be cold, so if you want to go out for a quick look, wait until 3:17 am EST. That's when the Moon will be in deepest shadow and will display the most fantastic shades of coppery red. You may want to catch this sight while you can. The next time a lunar eclipse occurs on the winter solstice is in 2094."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blake Edwards

1922 – 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas List

Breathless by Jean-Luc Goddard

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nature Guide: The Star of Bethlehem

Giotto di Bondone, Adoration of the Magi, Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy

The original version of the story of the Star of Bethlehem, or the Christmas Star, is found in the second chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. It describes a bright star that led wise men, or magi, from the east to find the infant Jesus. Over the centuries the Star of Bethlehem has become one of the most important symbols of the Christmas season. Our Nature Guide Jon Latimer tells us the story.

"Experts today think that Jesus was born between 7 and 1 BC, with the spring of 4 BC as the most likely date. Astronomers are able to recreate the sky around the time of Jesus’s birth and have looked for a natural explanation for the Christmas Star. The three astronomical events most often proposed are a supernova, a comet or a conjunction of planets.

"A supernova is an explosion of a star which suddenly becomes a bright object in the sky. They are rare, but one occurred in the constellation of Capricorn during March and April of 5 BC. This star suddenly appeared and glowed brightly for about 70 days before fading away.

"Comets appear almost every year. An interesting candidate was recorded in 4 BC. It did not have a tail, which made it look like a star. However, the wise men of the time would probably have recognized it as a comet. And comets were usually considered omens of bad things to come rather than signs of good fortune.

"A conjunction occurs when two or more planets seen from Earth appear to approach one another. In June of 2 BC Venus and Jupiter appeared to be so close together that they merged into a single, very bright star in the constellation of Leo. In those days Leo was considered the ruling constellation. This impressive conjunction would have certainly been noticed by the wise men of the time and might have inspired them to follow it west.

"Any of these astronomical objects could account for what Matthew described. But if you don’t find them convincing, then maybe the Christmas Star was the result of some other natural event . . . or maybe it was simply a Christmas miracle."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas List

Peter suggests Seasons . . . dreams . . . by Anne Akiko Meyers

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Annual Meeting

Outgoing Board President Paul Nolting with resident Claire McNew

The Princeton Landing annual meeting was held last evening at The Smith House. Election results for the 2011 FVCSA Board of Directors were announced by Bernie Siebers, chairman of the election committee. The candidates received the following number of votes:

Mari Molenaar 486
Phil Blocker 467
Rich Ciarciello 458
Mike Barnett 381
Bill Hart 348

Mari Molenaar and Rich Ciarciello were re-elected to two-year terms. Phil Blocker and Mike Barnett were elected for the first time, also to two-year terms.

Bernie Siebers and Joe Shambe, two long-time leaders in the community, praised outgoing Board President Paul Nolting for his many years of service to the community, especially his last two as President of the Board.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas List

Jazz Piano Christmas by Beegie Adair

Monday, December 6, 2010

Polls Close at 5:00 PM

Ballots for the four open seats for Princeton Landing's Board of Directors must be received at The Smith House by 5:00 pm today. If you've lost or misplaced your official ballot, call the management office at 243-9292 for a replacement. Election results will be announced at the annual meeting, which takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, December 7, at 7:30 pm.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas List

Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1 by Mark Twain, edited by Harriet Elinor Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer and Michael B. Frank

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas List

Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn (available December 7, 2010)

Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Greg Lawrence (available January 4, 2011)

"If you produce one book, you will have done
something wonderful in your life."
— Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To our Princeton Landing neighbors
and all of our readers
celebrating the Festival of Lights,

Happy Hanukkah to you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Attention Parents: Holiday Event

Princeton Shopping Center will host Party with Santa & Snowy on Saturday, December 4, from 12:30 to 3:00 pm at the outdoor courtyard. Santa Claus and Snowy the snowman will arrive by fire engine at 12:30, driven by the Princeton Fire Company. Children may visit with Santa and Snowy and receive a free gift. Parents are welcome to take a photo of the visit. There will be refreshments and craft projects. Rhythm 'n Balloons will provide holiday rock and roll. Princeton Shopping Center is located at 301 North Harrison Street in Princeton. Click here for directions.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

Friday, November 26, 2010

Forrestal Village Holiday Event

Click on the photo for details.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Palmer Square Holiday Events

The Palmer Square Annual Tree Lighting will be held on the Green on Friday, November 26, beginning at 4:45 pm. Santa Claus will be on hand to help light the tree, a 65-foot Norwegian spruce that holds over 32,000 lights. The event will feature Holiday Brass and the Princeton High School Choir. There will be a reading of the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Before the tree lighting, from 3 to 4 pm, meet the characters from American Repertory Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

On Thursday, December 2, the Annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony will take place at North Plaza on Hulfish Street at 5 pm.

On Friday, December 10, there will be a Holiday A Capella Jam featuring a variety of Princeton University a capella groups from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Palmer Square Green.

From noon until 2 pm every Saturday and Sunday in December, and on Christmas Eve, musicians and carolers—and Santa—will stroll throughout Palmer Square. Click here to go to the official Palmer Square website.

Holiday Visitors

While I was enjoying my coffee this morning, a Bald Eagle flew low over our garden. It circled once more and joined its mate high in a treetop across the street. So many things to be thankful for . . . hope you had a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day
by L. Maria Child

Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
To have first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow—
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood—
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Act of Culture

At noon on Saturday, October 30, singers brought together by the Opera Company of Philadelphia infiltrated Macy's in Center City, Philadelphia, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. Over 650 choristers from participating area choirs—including Princeton Pro Musica—performed to the delighted shoppers. The OCP Chorus and throngs of singers were accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ, which is the world's largest pipe organ. The event is one of the 1,000 "Random Acts of Culture" to be funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation over the next three years. The purpose of the initiative is to transport the classical arts out of the concert halls and opera houses and into communities to enrich everyday lives. Click here to learn more about the program and view more events. This random act was planned to coincide with the first day of National Opera Week.

Hallelujah for Random Acts of Culture! And Hallelujah for Sister Rose Christine who sent us this video.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jill Clayburgh

1944 – 2010

John Rubinstein and Jill Clayburgh
Photo © 1972 Martha Swope
from my original cast album
of the Broadway musical Pippin

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall Back

Remember to move your clocks back one hour tonight. Daylight saving time ends at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 7.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Diwali

Wishing Our Princeton Landing Neighbors A Joyful Diwali

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Better Together

Okay, what can we say except we love this guy! He rescued a baby hummingbird after it was attacked. Love this guy . . . .

The song is "Better Together" by Jack Johnson.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for pointing this out.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

The Smith House was even scarier than usual today when goblins, ghosts and the occasional superhero and princess attended Princeton Landing's Halloween children's party.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nature Guide: Praying Mantis

We’re always happy to add another entry to our growing list of creatures. Fortunately for us, a few weeks ago we received this very cool photo from Mari Molenaar, a neighbor and member of the Princeton Landing Board. Mari photographed this praying mantis on her deck in Parcel 7. So far we’ve written about the Differential Grasshopper, the Angular-winged Katydid and the Daddy Longlegs. So I asked our Nature Guide Jon Latimer to give us a few facts about the praying mantis.
Mantises are an order of predatory insects that contains more than 2,200 species worldwide. Two species are common in our area. Both have slender bodies that resemble twigs and serve as camouflage. Both also have two spiked forelegs. When they are held in an upright position, it looks like the mantis is praying, which is why they are called praying mantis.
The Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) is native to our area, but is more common farther south. It grows to about 2½ inches long and its color ranges from dusty brown to gray or green. The larger European or praying mantis (Mantis religiosa), above, is far better known and more widespread. It can grow to 3½ inches long and its color ranges from tan, like Mari’s, to bright green. A native of Europe, this species was accidentally introduced into the US in 1899 in a shipment of nursery plants. These praying mantises thrived in their new home and spread throughout the eastern US. The species has even been named the official state insect of Connecticut.
Mantises are often considered “good” bugs because they prey on insect pests that can injure garden plants. Actually, they are formidable hunters who will pursue anything small enough to be successfully captured and eaten. Their color and shape allow them to blend into the foliage around them and ambush their prey. They use their forelegs to catch and hold their quarry and usually devour it very quickly. Mantises are known to hunt butterflies and moths, caterpillars, aphids, flies and various other insects.