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March  28

A New Temple Of Culture For Montclair?

Baristaville has MAM, Yogi’s Museum, and the Historical Society. Could we be getting a new Make Up Museum?  While we were down at Bradner’s Pharmacy collecting vintage medical and beauty supplies, we learned that none other than Bobbi Brown had beaten us to the Old Spice, Maybelline, and 4711 Cologne.  That's right, Montclair’s makeup maven scooped up all the old fragrances and face paint from our favorite apothecary, which sadly, closed down last week... Those items are intended for display in a future museum of her making, Bobbi told the owner.  We don’t know where or when, but let’s hope the Bradner's collection stays in town.

March 28, 2006 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (37)

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April   9

Cherry Blossoms and Memories

Cherry1 Kathleen Galop grew up in the Forest Hill section of Newark. She’s a third-generation Newarker. Her father was a fire captain and two of her uncles were fireman in Newark. She remembers her father being called to duty during the Newark riots vividly. Wondering, after three days, when he was coming home. Or worse yet, if.

But she also remembers another Newark. A memory that’s shared by thousands of people who lived there during the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, memories of fabulous shopping and entertainment, swanky mansions and lush neighborhoods.

In 1975, while working as a corporate attorney at The Prudential in Newark, Golub, along with Gary Brian Liss, an environmental engineer for the City of Newark, decided to create an eternal flame for their beloved city, the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.


Since then, some 2,700 Japanese cherry trees take center stage, in a burst of pink, from April 10-23.

As vice chair & secretary of the Branch Brook Park Alliance, Galop likes to think those trees helped pave the way for the “Newark Renaissance”. Now a documentary on Old Newark is in the works.

For Cherry Blossom Festival events starting this weekend, see Thrills.

April 9, 2005 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (3)

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January  22

Not the Biggest Losers

This story gives new meaning to the phrase cookie-cutter wedding. John Townsend and Michele Sarao ofWest Milford (only 30 miles away) have won an all expense paid wedding at a Dunkin' Donuts shop and a honeymoon trip to the Bahamas for submitting the most outrageous wedding proposal story.

The couple was among six finalist couples from the New Jersey corridor (New York to Philadelphia) chosen in the “Dunkin' Donuts Hole-y Matrimony Contest”.

Hard to believe no one could outdo this bit when John gave her three identical boxes marked "yesterday" with a picture inside from when they began dating; "today" with a recent picture; and, "tomorrow," with a picture of John holding a banner that said "Will you Marry Me." When Michele turned to look at John he was holding an engagement ring.


We can understand why Dunkin' Donuts threw the contest. PR is PR, after all. What we can't fathom is a bride who would willingly accept cardboard-box catering or a pink-and-orange color scheme. Except, perhaps, for Malibu Barbie.

January 22, 2005 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (0)

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January  13

Poof! Insta-Grocery Shopping

Our Suburban Archeologist lets us in on an amazing secret.

We are all desperate housewives, especially at 2:59 when it's time to pick up the kids. Just when we're a third of the way down our to-do list -- ding! -- mother's little hindrances arrive home. Who can blame us if we're always looking for the next labor-saving device -- whether it's a cleaning squadron or a Blackberry?

For most people, the Internet's a help. From banking to ordering pet meds. Even paying those endless Montclair conveyor belt parking tickets (I’m in the acceptance phase and I refer to them as my way of giving to the “Montclair community fund”) on njcourtsonline.com. And, as someone who does not “do” math, nothing compares to PayCycle.com for our company’s accounting needs. But as resident Suburban Archaeologist, I’m always digging for new time saving-treasures. Have I got a gem for you.

The most sublime time saver of all? Online grocery shopping at Nutley Shoprite. I practically skipped with joy down Lorraine Street when I realized my days of lumbering through the grocery store were O-V-E-R. I’d rather chew glass than crisscross through the supermarket ever again, pushing a 500 hundred pound cart, escorting two kids to the bathroom (at different times, no less), buying snacks to the tune of "Mommy, Mommy you forgot my balloon!" and getting half-way through check-out before realizing I'd forgotten my deli order.

So I’m feeling rather smug about my discovery. Ok, it’s not available at Brookdale Shoprite (my supermarket with a heart), but who cares? And even if the service is $10 extra, you save money. In fact, my first grocery bill was half as much as the usual one because I didn’t impulse buy.

Click on shoprite.com  to create a master list (which takes little time). Don’t worry, it’s got the all pictures, specials, brand names and aisles to guide you. Plus, you can modify that list anytime to make it smaller or larger. Choose the pick-up time in the drop-down box. (You need to plan pick-up about four hours ahead). Go to the Nutley Shoprite on Franklin Street, pull into the far end of the store parking lot, back in, and a sensor alerts an employee you are in the pick-up  area. So far, I’ve never seen a waiting line. An employee greets you at your car window (the first time with flowers for using their service) and poof! insta-shopping in less than five, count ‘em guys, five minutes. They take my debit card to pay and load up my trunk with my order. Yes, full serve. As if I were buying gas.

Drawbacks? Sure, there's the occasional snafu. Once, for instance, I got a single apple instead of a whole bag. I learned my lesson and ordered more carefully the next time. A small price, I think, for squeezing an extra 90 minutes into a 24-hour-day. Isaac Newton would be proud.

Lisa Finan

January 13, 2005 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (9)

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December  30

The Deep Fried Twinkie Defense

Our suburban archeologist, Lisa Finan, starts us off with her New Year pledge. Feel free to append your self-improvement ideas in a comment.

Every New Year’s Eve I think back to when I was fourteen, when my best friend and I watched New Year’s Rockin' Eve on TV, hosted by Dick-the-worlds-oldest-teenager-Clark. Unfortunately, we were young enough to party (as it was called in the dark ages in Southern California) but not old enough to do it. So while our parents went out dancing the Fox Trot and drank Cable Cars, we waited for the ball to drop on TV. A lot has changed over the last 30 years. Like the personal and national security of my country. Not to mention our morals and ethics. Back then,  a kid didn’t need playdates because we were safe enough to run outside and play all day until mom called us home for dinner. And our leaders didn’t antagonize other countries to the point that they wanted to bomb the hell out of us, on our soil. We were all pretty much in the clear. It was America the beautiful. And I am waxing nostalgic.

But as some things never change, I still stay up to watch the ball drop. Now it’s with my husband and kids. This year though, I’ll be glad to ring out 2004. I think we’ve besmirched our national character quite enough for one year. I for one am ashamed. In fact, when we were in vacationing in Southern Italy this summer, I tried to play Canadian, but my size gave me away. My husband got away with it because he’s still trim. But I found myself apologizing on behalf of my President for being such a jerk, and that truly, Americans were still ok. We liberated you, remember?

Never mind the President’s behavior, there’s an entire laundry list of people and personalities who have behaved badly. And I seriously think we can blame it on the twinkie defense.  The deep fried Twinkie that is www.supersizeme.com. With a steady diet of sugar-fried-salt coursing through our veins, it’s no wonder we’re acting crazy. And yes, TV is also a culprit. I used to think that was out the the question. But viewers insist on watching people like themselves eat maggots and relish in the fact that participants get fired, well, need I say more? I’ve taken matters into my own hands and locked my kids out of channels that contain maniacal, sugar frenzied, toy-ridden commercials blasting at ear piercingly high decibels.

That done, there’s still the matter of the criminals and bullies. Take Martha Stewart for example. She was a naughty one this year. Always pretending to be the picture of perfection while going postal on her staff everyday. There’s a work ethic worth emulating. I’m sure she’s happy to get “this ridiculousness” over with. Ah, then there’s Abu Ghraib. Yeah, thumbs up Lindy. That’ll be a nice one for the family photo album someday. The Pistons/Pacers basketbrawl was a keeper. Nice sportsmanship guys. The kiddies are really looking up to you and your multi-gazillion dollar contracts. And last , but certainly not least, those permissive parents who were too busy pull out a bag of vegetables and a chicken breast out of the freezer for their kids which nicely contributed to a national epidemic of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in children.

I’m ashamed that Americans are in such a carbohydrate induced stupor that they’re not bothered that 35.9 million Americans live below the poverty line – 12.9 million of them children. I think these were the numbers that inspired Roosevelt to institute the welfare system after the Depression. I’m positively rigid when I think that 42 percent of Americans still think Saddam Hussein was "directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out" the 9/11 attacks. That Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld couldn't find time to personally sign letters of condolence to the families of troops killed in Iraq. And that Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz couldn't remember the number of soldiers who'd lost their lives in Iraq. There never was a kinder, gentler nation.

So, in order to make a more perfect union, in my house at least, I have decided, character building, versus nation-building, begins at home. As one of the few parents I know who give my children age appropriate chores, they’ve got more coming in 2005. We’re going to give to the food pantry and help out once a week at Tony’s Kitchen. stlukesmontclair.org. And there will be more vegetables, less TV and more chores. Sounds simplistic. But at least it’s a lifestyle I can defend.

December 30, 2004 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (17)

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December  14

How About A Bathroom Tour?

Introducing Lisa Finan, our Suburban Archeologist, whose humor writing will be a regular feature of Baristanet.

Whenever the two year old is suspiciously quiet, I know she's trying to get a drink of water from the toilet bowl. Should there be a sudden surge of stamping upstairs from the four year old, he's racing to relieve himself. And, if I can't find my husband, I know he's in the "library".

For some, the ultimate home improvement bliss is a new kitchen (designed by an expensive architect and including artfully hidden storage). For me, it's all about the the bathroom. This is the hearth of our home.

Feng Shuists claim it's such a sensitive area of the home that they warn against leaving the lid up, lest the good "chi" or energy escape down the drain. I guess that's what the whole flushing your money down the toilet thing is all about.  Maybe that's why money is always tight when you're a parent. All this time I thought it was property taxes.

In our old digs, the bathroom was not only the smallest room in the house, but also the most inconvenient. It was the size of the ones on airplanes and its location on the second floor made it frustrating. With two kids not entirely housebroken, the Stair Master couldn't have done better a better job on my thighs. Although somehow I never really saw the results."Upstairs Downstairs" took on a whole new meaning.

Eventually, we moved out of the house because of the bathroom. We simply couldn't wedge a family of four in it simultaneously. Inevitably, while Daddy was shaving, Mommy was inserting her contacts. And the kids were visiting. Either we needed more bathrooms, or a larger one, or both.

In our new home, there are so many bathrooms that my hairdresser (read single) asked if any are off limits. Obviously, he doesn't have children. What mother in her right mind would keep that room off limits to her kids in potty training? Go already. And don't forget to flush. Forget them wiping themselves. It's not going to happen for a long time.

Unless you've actually got a tub or shower, by the way, it's not really a bathroom.  For example, our yellow bathroom downstairs is a powder room because that's what you call tiny bathrooms with an even tinier corner sink. Upstairs is the pink bathroom also known as the ensuite or a Jack 'n Jill for the kids. And in our bedroom is the green bathroo --the master bath, adjoined to our room. This is also known as daddy's bathroom.

If you ask me, instead of putting on a kitchen tour next year, Glen Ridge should put on a bathroom tour. You gotta go!

Readers can write to Lisa at llfinan@aol.com.

December 14, 2004 in Suburban Archeologist | Permalink | Comments (5)

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