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12/5/2004 - Christmas Lists Due... Each year as our family is preparing for the Thanksgiving dinner, we are always talking about Christmas. The rule in the house is that Christmas list are due by Turkey day and there are no exceptions... Well,sometimes we relax the rules here and there.  My list always looks the same from year to year.  Clothes for work, Candy, computer diskettes or CD's and I always ask for my special Boris Vallejo calendar. Depicted here on the right is a sample of this type of art that I admire so much. And yes, my wife and daughter generally induge my tastes and grudgingly go out an purchase the calendar for me.  You can see more of this art work at BorisVallejo .  So... if you don't know what to get me why not send me a Boris original? 

11/28/2004 Christmas Begins... This year, like every year, the Christmas season begins early for our family.  My wife Alice insists on getting a head start on the holiday decorations.  Actually it's like we had a crew of elves come in the day after Thanksgiving cause it's just about done already.  Here's a shot of Alice and Liz sitting with Sugar and Meatloaf our pets.  As you can see the tree in the background is just about done which we'll be enjoying for the next few weeks.  Now since Christmas lists were due and collected the girls are already getting an early start on the Shopping.  That reminds me, I have some gifts to buy of my own!

11/25/2004Thanksgiving... Ahhh My favorite holiday and this year was no exception!  As usual we slept a bit late but woke up on time to watch the annual Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. Our daughter Liz had driven up from Washington DC the night before which took her from 1 to 6 PM but she arrived safe and sound.  While the bird cooked all day we sat and caught up on things as a family.  My mother and Aunt Beck came over for dinner but left before 8 so we could enjoy Survivor and the latest Apprentice show.

11/22/2004 - National Treasure The Movie This Sunday after church my wife and I went out food shopping to make sure we had a start on Thanksgiving this week.  We're planning to have my mother and aunt over but that's a different story.  After shopping Alice had an idea to go to the movies and selected National Treasure .  It was a great movie!  Like Raiders of the Lost Arc only better since the search was all about America.  They had a nice history lesson with some very patriotic themes plus the movie was 'clean' -- limited violence and some real cute characters.  Definitely worth seeing and I give it two thumbs up.

11/21/2004 -- Stephen Ministers...  This Sunday at our church BRPC  the service was dedicated to the works of The Stephen Ministers The group is dedicated to helping local people work through significant life changing experiences such as the death of a loved one.  These people are called to this work though their own experiences and use that strength to help others.  Our own goup is headed by my sister the Honorable Helen E. Hoens.  This sunday she delivered the Sermon which touched on her own life long struggle with her son's Autism while holding out the invitation of hope and help from her passionate devotion to the work of the Stephen Ministries.  This is a picture of Helen after the service during the meet and greet.

11/15/2004 CircleK Insight Where was Liz this week- end?  Well Liz is a board member of New Jersey Circle K which held its annual 'Insight'  retreat this weekend. CircleK For three days the group camped out in Northern NJ where they bonded and planned for the events of the rest of the year.  According to the pictures a great time was had by all.  She used our digital camera to take tons of pictures including this one where she is proudly wearing her district board sweatshirt.  Now she's heading back to DC to finish up her semester then it's back to Richard Stockton.

11/3/2004 -- Our daughter Liz has been spending alot of time lately in Arlington VA and Washington DC both studying and interning at www.aauw.org so with all that on her plate it's hard to imagine that she has time for competitive sports yet here she is holding a Gold medal from the Womens Soccer team.  I was always good at Soccer... Well I thought I was good... OK... I Stunk but I always thought I had soccer in my future at some level and this must be it huh...  To be the proud father of a Woman holding the Gold Medal!  Well apparently Liz was out and about over the weekend and crashed a party with some friends from work and this is the result.  It must be nice to be invited to 'hang' with the beautiful people at a dinner to honor the womens Soccer team and that' our Liz.  She should be home in a few weeks to spend time with our family again and enjoy the holidays and we're all looking forward to that.  Maybe when she gets home we can break out the Soccer ball and kick it around.  See you soon Liz!!!!    

11/1/2004 Election Day Eve... Every 4 years the American people gather at polling places from 6AM to 8PM, casting their ballots to elect a new President and Vice-President.  This year it's a classic showdown between the 4 year veteran Predident George W. Bush and in this corner the challengers John Kerry and John Edwards.  What a slug fest this is going to be.  All indications are that it will be one of the most exciting elections since the Bush Cheney victory by one vote (In the Supreme Court).  In the Hoens family my daughter Liz and my wife Alice are firmly behind the Kerry campaign and hoping for their candidate to win the day.  For me, I'm not much for politics actually and tend to be one of those 'Undecideds' all the way to the booth.  Coming from a staunch conservative republican background I never dared to tell my father that I had voted for a non republican and now that I am married to the daughter of an Irish american postal worker I can't look her in the eye with a vote for the republicans either.  And so I am left again with no where to turn.  All the people around me with their minds firmly made up but me.  And here I sit thinking that when I was born... this was a free country...

10/31/2004 Halloween (2) This year we had over 50 kids at the door all with their hands out.  The Costumes were great.  Many of the costumes were hand made with a few of the store bought ones on the really little children.  There were lots of parents, friends and neighbors early and as it began to get dark the older kids came out and took over the streets.  Up and down and through the windows were heard the shreeks and screams of these youths.  Of course we felt no fear at all with our trusty hound Sugar about and standing guard.  All night I heard, 'What a cute Dog you Have!'!  That's Sugar!

10/31/2004 Halloween Eve!!  The fall season is not complete until the local kids have their Halloween night.  This year they got great weather and had lots of fun.  Here are our fist trick or treaters in their impressive costumes and after their treats they were nice enough to pose for this picture.  As you can see from Alices expression in the backgrpound,  she really loves to have these local visitors drop by the house to enjoy their candy with us.  Happy Halloween!!!!!

10/30/2004 -- There's a lot of excitement this weekend as we prepare for this election day.  My mother is  working the polls here in New Jersey, as usual, and our daughter Liz is down in Washington DC planning to enjoy the event from there.  As you can see we have our sample Ballots and are carefully making our choices for the big day next Tuesday.  Don't forget to get out and Vote!  We'll be watching this important election very carefully.

10/26/2004 -- One of Alices favorite hobbies is decorating the house for the holidays.  Beginning with Labor Day, the house is a flurry of activity watching her bring out her fall decorations and setting them all up.  In this picture you can see her little Witch, (that drives our dog Sugar crazy) and her Big Halloween pumpkin in front of our working fireplace.  We really like having all the children drop by the house dressed in their colorful scary costumes too.  Happy Halloween!

10/20/2004 --In the Fall Alice likes to spend some time in the kitchen working on her baking.  I really love it when she makes Chocolate chip cookies. My part is putting in the chips and of course being around to eat the cookies themselves.  In this scene Alice is working on a batch of her famous Cupcakes and there I am on hand to catch her reviewing her old family recipe.  Is that a Betty Crocker box this time honey?  That's OK, your secret is safe with me.  And those cupcakes turned out great.  Thanks Alice!

10/16/2004 -- Well with the nice Fall weather kicking in Alice and I decided to spend a day driving up north towards New England.  We love that area in general and are planning to get back to Vermont or Salem Mass someday soon.  This weekend we stopped in Rock Tavern New York at a little know motorcycle shop occ.com .  One of my favorite times of the week is Monday night on the Discovery channel watching Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. building the Chopper of the week.  At the shop we saw the Santa Bike, The Commanche Bike and Codys Old School chopper.  As usual Alice used her time wisely and spent it looking over the racks until she came up with this clock.  I suggested that it would look great in the living room and you can see Alices reaction depicted here in this lovely picture.

10/14/2004 -- This is our house with a fresh paint job.  The nice thing about living here is that they come by every 4 years and re-paint our house (outside) for FREE!  This is great huh.  And don't you love Alices fall decorations.  More to come next week.  Gotta Go!

9/25/2004 -- Alice and I spent the weekend visiting with Liz in DC.  We met up with Liz on Friday night after she got out of work at www.aauw.org and then we went out to a local Mexican place for diner.  For me it was truly a first to see my 21 year old daughter both order and consume a drink -- {I think it was a Pink Pina Colata} and I took a quick sip too.  We met up again on Saturday morning to drive around DC and made it a point to stop at the Vietnam Memorial.  I had never seen it before so for me it was a moving experience.  We also visited one of the local malls so the girls could do some shopping.  Later, we dined at www.the .  Sunday we had breakfast at IHOP then Alice and I headed home.  Liz will drive back up later this week.

9/24/2004 -- Alice and I are here in Washington DC to visit Liz.  Sugar is at the Kennels and Meatloaf (The Cat) is at home resting.  This picture Liz took with my Camera and Emailed to me.  We'll be enjoying the sights for the weekend and be back home on Sunday night.

9/20/2004 -- Happy 21st Birthday Liz!!!  This time it's Liz's turn to be featured on the web page.  We're so proud of Liz.  She is currently a student at Richard Stockton College and is spending this term down in Washington DC as an Intern with the www.aauw.org .   Now this isn't the first time she's been away from home on her birthday but we always try tosend her something or at least call her.  This year Alice and I are going down to visit her in Washington DC this next weekend so we're all looking forward to that. Once there, Alice has some plans to help Liz decorate her room and then we'll probably spend most of Saturday visiting the sights of DC.  Please feel free to email her at  lizhoens@gmail.com with your birthday wishes.  Happy Birthday Liz!!!

9/18/2004 -- It's a Bouncing Baby Boy! Born this day to the beaming and proud parents Erin and Pete Kazella his name is Ryan Peter Kazella.  And the whole family has been kavetching and carrying on all weekend.  This is the biggest news in a long time.  Now... he was born at 4:00PM which makes him a Virgo/Pices rising; and since Virgo is my favorite sign this is a good thing for me too.  Remember that Liz still has my digital camera in Washington DC so I had to borrow this picture from a website on the Internet but Erin promissed to ask Pete to eMail us an official picture for the website soon.

9/16/2004 -- This is a shot of Hurricane Ivan which is heading for the southern coast of the United States as we speak.  According to the current track, the storm will make landfall either in Baton Rouge LA or Mobile Alabama. Now this is the second big hurricane this season and from what we hear there's another one Jeanne on the way.  It's hard to tell why this is happening to us this year but it seems like a busy Fall season already.  The good news is that this is not affecting us directly but I hope everyone else stays safe and sound. 

9/14/2004 -- If you're looking for me this week I am at a company sponsored training course in JAVA.  Most people don't know what this is but in a nutshell it's one of the programming languages of the internet.  Created by www.sun.com/java it allows you to create easy to use webpages which look and feel more like Visual Basic applications.  Right now they're spending alot of time teaching remedial Object Oriented Programming concepts and hopefully by friday I'll be able to write my first 'Hello World' program. 

9/12/2004 -- On Sunday afternoon we all gathered at Erin and Petes house to celebrate the birthday of their son Jack Kazella.  This was his second birthday and his dad made it special by inviting the town volunteer fire department over with the pumper truck.  All the kids had a grand time taking rides in the truck and ringing the Fire bells.  There was a large crowd on hand with plenty of food and cake. All the grandparents were there along with brothers sisters, family friends and neighbors.

9/11/2004 -- Saturday night with Jean and Ron Marcianno, Alice and I attended September Song, the first in a series of shows by www.ridgelightopera.org at St. Marks Episcopal Church.  Once again The Mighty Corson Art Players dazzled and amazed me with one great number after another.  Although it's not fair to single out anyone from this loyal ensemble, it's always a treat to hear Lauran Corson singing Papagena, Lee Gregory was marvelous as was, John Graff as Nicely,Nicely in Sit down, You're Rockin the Boat.

9/8/2004 -- Liz is settling down in Washington DC at her internship with www.aauw.org .  This past week, she's been going into work and starting on a few projects.  Her first order of business was to get her new Email address HOENSL@aauw.org up and running and now she's ready to go.  This week she'll be meeting with a few Senators to discuss ideas which are important to the AAUW plus get a feel for how Washington DC works. She's already made some key contacts who may be able to help her in the future and with Grad School.  Alice and I are scheduled to visit her in a few weeks so maybe I can get a few pictures of her beautiful apartment and some shots of the town.

9/3/2004 -- Today at 5:00PM:PST I was sitting here hitting the refresh button on http://www.kevinrose.com/ where the King of TechTv was poised to give away 1000 invites to Gmail.  And at the strike of the hour, I snagged one of the coveted prizes johnhoens@gmail.com .  I instantly fell to my knees and promised both Kevin and God in heaven that I would post any invites I get in my Inbox backup on Kevins website... Pay it Forward!  But I gotta tell you, it was one of the wildest feeding frenzys I've yet witnessed my friends, and I couldn't help reading the desperate pleas of thousands of loyal techtv fans who were not as lucky as I, whining and begging for just one invite... It was a pitiful display of poor sportsmanship to those of us few Winners in the crowd... But Better them than me as I politely thanked Kevin and his forward thinking team of loyal devotees who made my day and probably my whole summer. Thanks Kevin!!!

9/2/2004 -- Here comes Hurricane Francis and this could be the biggest one in a while.  I got this AP Photo from Yahoo News service.  Anyone who is reading this in the Florida area please listen to your local officials and continue your orderly evacuations.  We're all praying for you.  Liz, don't forget to bring an umbrella...

9/1/2004 -- Our daughter lizhoens@yahoo.com is off to Washington,DC to begin her fall internship with the www.aauw.org American Association of University Women.  For her trip I bought her a $1200 Hewlett Packard laptop and gave her my Digital camera... Oh Well... Since she hasn't had time to email me any pictures yet I had to 'Borrow' this picture from the internet.  Don't forget to email Liz and wish her good luck in DC.   "Picture(s) courtesy of Keith Stanley, www.kestan.com". 

8/29/2004  --  What a great day we had for the Baby shower.  It was a little hot outside but we managed to keep it cool inside for all the women that came to celebrate this event with us.  The girls spent a few hours talking and catching up.  After the initial chit-chat Erin opened her gifts. She got alot of baby clothes... what else?  After dinner I took some pictures.  In this one here, in the front row is Erin(left) the guest of honor next to my wife Alice(right).  In the back left is Alices sister Karen (Erins mom) next to our daughter Liz(back right).  After pictures we had dessert and coffee and went on to enjoy the rest of the evening together.

-- And here is a special picture of my wife Alice and her best friend Jean Marciano taken at Erins baby shower.  Jean can always be counted on to come, lend a hand and stay to help clean up.  Now that the kids are graduating college we're all making plans for what's next.  More to come in future updates! 

8/26/2004 -- Hey Everyone!  The lovely young lady seated on the left is our (pregnant) niece Erin -- working on baby number 2, and guess what?  A Surprise baby shower for Erin will be at our house in Basking Ridge on Sunday 8/29/2004 beginning around 3PM.  The shower is being planned by my wife Alice and Erins mom Karen.  Peter is helping out with the guest list and by watching my buddy Jack on the day of the event.  Now we're not sure if it's a boy or girl so you'll need to work that into your plans. Feel free to park on the street in front of the house.  For directions just click on the Contact  page. Hope to see you then!

8/25/2004 -- Our daughter Liz came home from Belize the other night and we're really glad to have her back here.  She told us all about how much fun she and the rest of her college class had working with the children and studying the climate, flora and fauna of the countryside.  While in Belize, Liz had the opportunity to do a little snorkeling on the reefs a few miles from the shore.  She took some stunning pictures of nurse sharks and eels using a waterproof disposable (non-digital) camera that she bought.  The picture on the left is from the movie 'Open Water' which Liz and I watched this evening... This was all her idea.  The story is about a young couple who were accidentally left beind in the ocean while diving a few miles off the coast.  After the movie Liz commented that it was better to have seen this particular movie after rather than before her trip.  For me the movie was OK.  I would rather have seen 'The Village' or the new 'Exorcist' movie but it was fun to be able to spend some time with my daughter before she heads to Washington DC for her fall internship with AAUW.

8/21/2004 -- This is Alice with our nephew Jack Kazella.  The son of Erin and Peter Kazella,Alice and I were asked to babysit this Saturday night so the kids could hit the town. Jack was a model citizen and a great kid to have around.  He had plenty of rest before he arrived so we were in for an entire night of the kind of fun that only a parent can remember and truly appreciate.  We tried to break up the night with a well thought out program of dinner, movies, snacks and diaper changes.  In between these events, Jack spent alot of time chasing our dog Sugar and jogging in circles between the kitchen and living room.  The best news is that Jack was a very happy child who managed to amuse both himself and us all evening.

8/21/2004 -- This is Jack Kazella.  Isn't he the cutest baby in the world? And I have to admit, this is a great picture huh?  The nice thing about my digital camera is I can take 50 or 60 pictures and eventually come up with a one in a million shot like this one.  Look at those blue eyes and how he's sitting there with his hands folded looking like a perfect little gentleman.  These are the times we remember.  Jack Kazella is the son of Erin and Peter Kazella.  Erin is Alices sister Karens daughter.  We   get a chance to see Jack from time to time but this past saturday night we got a chance to baby sit and spend some quality time with Jack while Erin and Peter attended a wedding. 

8/13/2004 -- Well, no Hoens family trip to the beach would be complete without an officially sanctioned minature golf tournament.  Yes, we take these events very seriously and they've caused many an argument over the years.  This time I got close but I lost focus on a few holes and fell behind.  Alice and her 18 stroke handicap was able to beat me by 3 strokes to give her the bragging rights for this year.  I'll be back next year I promise!

8/12/2004 -- Here we are in Ocean City New Jersey enjoying some time away at the Beach.  Alice and I wasted no time at all getting our beach gear and hitting the beach... well truth be know, Alice hit the beach and I walked the boardwalk.  This is a shot of Alice getting ready to bake away for two hours under the sun.  She also spent some time in the cool ocean surf which she described as 'Nice and Warm'.  I hadn't spent any time in Ocean City for many years so for me this was an interesting experience.  I walked around trying to find something that I would remember from when I was a kid living in Elizabeth and my neighbor Neil asked me to spend a few days with his family, but alas... I couldn't remember a thing except for the name of the town and the fact that there was something about this place which drew me back all these years later.  And Yes... I think I rediscovered something very special all over again in this quaint ocean resort town full of friendly people, broad sandy beaches, and long boardwalks. 

8/10/2004 -- Alice and I will be spending a few days at the Northwood Inn Bed and Breakfast in Ocean City NJ. www.northwoodinn.com We just wantto take a few days to relax while Liz is off in Belize.  We've always wanted to try a B&B plus I haven't stayed in Ocean City for many years so this will be a chance for us to do both. Hopefully they have internet connections in the room!

8/8/2004 -- Today our daughter Liz began her journey to the tiny nation of Belize which as you can see from the map is just south of Mexico on the eastern side of Central america.  Liz has been planning this trip for quite a while now as part of her political science degree at Richard Stockton College.  For me this meant geting her and all her equipment and gear to the Philadelphia airport by 6:00AM.  Once at the Airport the class met up with their professor and dad(me) was dismissed for the long solo drive home. While in Belize the class plans to teach and help out with conservation projects along the lines of 'Teach a person to Fish and you feed them for a lifetime.'  They will also be hooking up some computers that they brought from here and will donate to the local school.  If Liz takes any pictures I'll upload a few for you to see in a few weeks when she gets back home. 

-The Shakespeare group has had a great run this year with their production of The part of Sir John Falstaff was played by    who delivered night after night of memorable shows.  The whole cast and crew deserves a round of applause for their hard work and dedication to this art form. 

8/1/2004 -- Last night we attended my sister Helens birthday party.  My mother was so happy to have all of us together to help celebrate this with her.  This is a picture of Helen opening one of her presents.  Seated on the left is my brother's new son-in-law Jamie and you can just see my wife Alice on the far left.  Helen was happy to see us all there and took some time to thank us all.  Many more Helen!

7/31/2004 -- This picture of our table on the cruise was just emailed to me by Carmine Carbone.  In the back left are Carmine and Evette Carbone, John and Marilyn Rivera, Alice and Myself.  In the front are Evette's mother, her friend and the two ladies from Pennsy.  It was a fun table and I thank Carmine for sending me this great picture!  Thanks for the Memories! 

-- Well... We left the boat deck behind and arrived home safely.  The boat docked in New York City at 8am but took us until 11am to get off and into the Limo.  Most of that time we were up on the deck enjoying breakfast and coffee while the ship cleared customs.  In the end they called our number and we walked down the gangway, picked up our luggage and headed for the doors.  We already miss the ship but got some great ideas for future cruises! jmh

7/30/2004 -- Too late to upload any new pictures.  I only have 10 minutes left on my 100 minutes for $55.00 deal... And I couldn't connect to my email from work... Not sure why but maybe that was a good thing.  I'll catch up with them over the weekend.  We had a blast!  Definitely worth doing again.  They fed us 3 meals a day!  Times up.. gotta go! 

7/27/2004 -- The Carnival Victory ship will  be our home for the next few days.  We're taking the time to enjoy,relax and just plain vacation.  Yes... I found the internet cafe and for 50 Cents a minute I can send updates to my website and check my Email.  We sailed from New York harbour up the coast to St John Canada and now we're heading around to Nova Scotia to spend the day there.  More Updates on the Way!

7/26/2004 -- Off we go for a week of fun and travel on the Carnival Victory ship.  We'll be leaving today from New York City at 5pm and then stopping in both Halifax and Nova Scotia Canada.  Along the way we'll be eating, swimming, relaxing and just enjoying the cruise.  I'l be taking lots of pictures and maybe I'll upload a few from the boat.  Bon Voyage!!!

7/25/2004 -- The farewell performance of Seussical the Musical was played on Saturday night.  Under the threat of rain the show went of as planned and turned out to be one of the performances of the six show series.  This latest of the Plays in the Park Series will go down as one of my personal favorites and a real crowd pleaser it was. It was so much fun to see the looks on the faces of the children... especially when the water soakers came out.  Per tradition the cast and crew met sunday to strike the set and prepare for the next show, The Merry Wives of Windsor, being performed this and next week.

7/18/2004 -- Saturday night's performance of Seussical the Musical was the one to see so far.  The performers came together like a true ensemble cast and treated us to a very special show.  Alice had a big group of friends and fans show up to see her including Jean and Ronnie Marciano, Mary Francis Malone, Katie and her mom from Dr Gerhards office along with Tony and Joan Pelligrino from Dr Sullivans.  Liz and I were there of course sitting in the center a few rows back next to Lauran Corson(the Cat in the Hats wife and an opera singer of note) www.ridgelightopera.org .  The park was mobbed with familys and children all there to enjoy the show.  Many Kudos to director Jaye Barre, Lorrie Lane and the entire cast and crew! www.trilogyrepertory.com

7/16/2004 -- Last night's opening of Sussical the Musical was the best I've seen in many years and I've come to expect alot from the cast of Trilogy.  Alice did a fantasiic job playing one of the 'Whos' of Whoville.  This role for Alice included Singing and Dancing in addition to handling signs and props.  The next performance is tonight 7/16.  Let's hope the weather holds!  {And they got through the first act when the rain came.  Hope for Tomorrow!}

7/14/2004 -- Alice and I will be leaving for our cruise in a few weeks.  We're going from New York to Canada on the Royal Carribean Victory www.c4carnival.com/carnival/victory.html   Should be fun. And Yes, I'll be bringing my laptop and working on my Website from the internet cafe while Alice cruises the pool and shuffleboard court. I'll have my digital camera with me and I'll upload some pictures from the boat to the Website for you to enjoy.  JMH