Tales From The Ipe!

I sit by and watch the river flow. I sit by and watch the traffic go.

Attending the American Young Voices concert in Newark

A few months ago, Josh, his friend Kaiya, and a number of other 5th graders signed up for this American Young Voices program through school. Me being me, I didn’t know any of this. One day, he brought home a CD with a medley of cover songs, which he was supposed to practice at home.

Turns out, all of the practicing was leading up to the American Young Voices concert at the Prudential Center on May 26. Apart from my wife, Josh, and most everyone involved, who knew?

The kids participating were heading to Newark directly from school in the morning. Lily was hanging out with friends for the evening. Nums and I made plans to drive to Newark for an early dinner at Fornos, then drive to the Prudential Center. Dinner was excellent — you can’t help but appreciate an informal dinner date on a Thursday night.

We made our way to the Pru Center, got our floor seats, and saw a few of the parents. It was rather amazing to see so many thousands of kids from all over NJ participating. I think it was nearly a third of the area. There were professional singers and musicians on stage who sang and played along with the kids, a conductor, and an emcee for evening.

All in all, it was pretty cool. After the concert ended, we made our way back to the car. Josh and the rest of this classmates would be returning to the school via school bus later that night.

While we waited for Josh to get home, we picked up Lily, and started packing for our Boston road trip Friday morning.

Josh’s Spring Concert

It’s a busy week here for the Ipes, what with Boy Scout pack meetings, multiple concerts, and our upcoming road trip to Boston later this week. Among other things, Josh has two concerts this week. The first one up is his Spring Concert. He’s a member of the band, and still playing the trumpet. We’ve been pushing him hard these past few months (since his last concert) to practice almost every night, and he’s experienced a marked improvement. Practice makes perfect, you know.

I took photos of the rest of the band, and the kids in chorus. Spot your kid if you can.


Ice cream with the kids

I wouldn’t recommend unemployment, but if I had to name the only benefit of being “between jobs”, it’s being able to enjoy extra time with the family.

Especially eating ice cream on a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Josh & Lily (and their CMB Karate Demo Team) performed at the Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton

20160515-DSC_0267On Sunday, May 15th, the CMB Karate Demo Team performed this year’s routine down at Arm & Hammer Park, on the field, before the actual game started. It was pretty cool. I tried to get some good shots using my telephoto lens. A little too close for really good pictures, but I didn’t have a lot of time to switch lenses.

The kids were pretty excited to perform on the field, and they did a nice job out there. Afterwards, we all returned to our seats, and watched the game on a nice sunny (and windy) Sunday.

The end of an era — Lily’s last dance recital

13230150_10209618439122770_4055507283697973083_nIt’s the end of an era . After 5 years, Lily is done with dance. No more jazz hands. No more ballet. No more hip hop. No more… wait, I think that was it. Just three kinds of dance.

Truth be told, she was kinda done after last year, but held one more year to hit the 5-year mark. We did switch her to All For Dance, a different dance school in Robbinsville, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.  She was done. I hope she got something out of it. An appreciation for dance. Working with other girls. Maybe she’ll barely remember the experience. Who knows. We certainly were not going to force her to participate in an activity she wouldn’t enjoy.

This is parenting. You introduce them to different experiences, and find out what they like and don’t like. Josh used to love dinosaurs, but now, meh.  Both kids sorta liked soccer, but lost interest after a few seasons. Anyhow, here are photos from her last recital. No more dance costumes and Saturday morning classes!

Biking the hills of Morris county with my old friend Chris

My old childhood friend Chris and I decided to “walk the walk” and actually go biking together. Chris lives in northern NJ and found a nice route starting in Morristown and winding through the hills. I’ve biked Morris county at least twice, and it’s pretty scenic. Nice rolling hills, and good views. What’s not to love? We ended up riding 30 miles around Morristown and the surrounding towns and hamlets. I really enjoyed it. I was also gobsmacked by the homes of the extremely wealthy.


I’m mostly terrible at golf, but doing it for charity is okay

Picture it — Thursday, May 12th. Peddie Golf Course. Hightstown NJ.  The sky is a clear blue, and the sun is shining brightly. A handsome Indian who has only golfed once in his life, with amateur skills rated “terrible at best” is invited to golf in a foursome for charity. The charity is to benefit East Windsor’s local police athletic league and maybe, I don’t know, orphaned immigrant raccoons. Friends insist, “Hey, why don’t you come golf with us? It’s for charity, and our preferred guy had to work at the last minute.”

What do you say? You say, “Sure.”

We played “best ball”, and that made the 18 holes go faster. I enjoyed walking around and trash talking…… people ahead of us who couldn’t hear me.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in New York City

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, including my mother, sister, and my beautiful and vivacious wife.

This morning, we dressed up, presented our gifts to Nums, and then we were off! First, brunch at Panera Bread. Ooooh, aaaah. Soon enough, we were back on the road to New York. We had two hours to drive to Midtown, park the car, and get to the Winter Garden Theater to catch the 1pm of School of Rock.

Great show, btw. It was very entertaining. It was funny to see the understudy take over the lead after intermission, but he was good too. This was the kids’ first time attending a Broadway show, and I believe they enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we took a leisurely walk around Midtown to the Russian Tea Room on 57th St. We had 4pm reservations for our first time ever visit here. Nums has always wanted to go to the Russian Tea Room, and there’s no time like the present. Tea time was very nice and fancy. What else can I say?

After tea, we took a walk through Central Park nearby. It was a beautiful day, which was really nice to experience after all of these recent rainy days. The kids ran around climbing the rocks and played on the playground. We eventually made our way back to the parking garage and drove home. Great afternoon in Manhattan.

I bought myself the AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II lens and I don’t regret it

It’s been over year since I got a new lens — a NIKKOR 50mm prime lens. It’s a very nice lens, but I could use a good zoom lens for all of these karate demonstrations, softball games, school performances, etc. I think you need to have one in your repertoire if you’re into photography. We have a number of events coming up starting this month, so I figure 16 months is long enough.

I’ve had my eyes on the NIKKOR 55-200mm ED VR II for over a year and it hasn’t dropped in price all that time. I ordered it from Amazon yesterday and they somehow delivered it 24 hours later? Incredible. In my brief testing this evening, it’s easy to use, reasonably light, and the photo quality is excellent.

I can’t wait to use it later this week!



It’s been a long time coming — introducing my new ride

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here. It’s finally here. I should probably name it. Would that be weird?

After bidding my old bike a fond farewell, I dropped it off so that we could transfer the cyclocomputer, the saddle, my little saddle case, and my 105 pedals. What with all the rain and cold weather we’ve had this week, I haven’t had an opportunity to ride it. It’s supposed to be 72 degrees and beautiful on Monday, so I plan to hit the open road soon enough.


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