Tag Archives: patch.com

The Village Green

starting a new venture

The Village Green of Maplewood South Orange is a new venture by Mary Barr Mann and Carolyn Maynard-Parisi. Both women are experienced journalists who I got to know while doing freelance photography for Patch.com.  After Patch took a different turn with their local reporting, both of them decided it was time for them to leave .  Mary told me that after leaving both she and Carolyn were continually approached by folks begging them to start something new, bring back the old Patch, etc.  Carolyn agreed saying, “Many local news ventures don’t succeed, but I think we have a great chance making a go at this because the community knows and trusts us and has already shown such support – and we have been up and running less than a month!”

A few months ago, they approached me asking if I’d be interested in doing some more photography with a “new website they were starting.”  I was excited for them and enthusiastically told them yes!  I could not wait to hear more about their new project. Earlier this month, I got an email asking if I could do Fourth of July photos for the new site.  Of course I agreed!  I had taken photos at community events for years while working for Patch.  It was always so much fun to do.  I got the chance to be out and about in the community celebrating our two towns and reporting happy news.  It is what I loved to do and I loved seeing the photos up on Patch.com.  I was sad when that job ended so I am really looking forward to doing it again.

I loved when Patch.com was about neighborhood events and small town news.  I loved that I could go to maplewoodpatch or southorangepatch and see local freelance writers and photographers reporting about the community, but after it changed, it was missing that home town feel that it used to have.  The Village Green wants to bring that back and I am all for it!

The Village Green provides day-to-day, granular news coverage of the issues that matter to the people of Maplewood, South Orange, and environs — including education, redevelopment, taxes, public safety, governance, local business, the arts and culture, and lifestyle — with fairness, thoroughness, humanity and a distinct voice.

The photography job doesn’t pay a lot, but I call it my “lunch money” or “manicure money.”  Truthfully for me, it isn’t so much about the money.  I have written about how much I love my community many times on my blog, and promoting it through photography, my favorite hobby, is a pleasure!  Getting paid for it is just a bonus!

I am so excited to start working for them!  I wish them all the success in the world!  Locals, check out their site.  I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

A Birthday Message


rainbow heaven

On Tuesday, I blogged about a beautiful rainbow that appeared in the sky in the early evening. https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/rainbows-and-dreams/

I posted my photo on Facebook and the editor of our local Patch, http://maplewood.patch.com/articles/photo-of-the-day-rainbow-over-soma  asked if she could use it as their, “Photo of the Day”.  Of course I said yes.  Later that evening, the editor received this email and forwarded it to me.

“This rainbow holds some serious significance for a friend of mine who lost his wife, to cancer this weekend.  His daughter had her 8th birthday Tuesday and he gave her a bike.  When he took her outside to ride it, the rainbow was in the sky and they decided that was her mom’s birthday present. He was telling the story repeatedly at the wake last night and I’m sure that helped him get through the grueling process of greeting so many mourners.  Long story I know but we were wondering if we could get a copy of this photo to frame for the family”.

Of course, I wrote back that I would happily share the photo with him.  In my email to him, I had asked him if he had read my blog, because the kids and I had just talked about the rainbow being a “message” from my mom.  He had not read it, so I shared it with him and he wrote back to me,

“Claire I just read your blog and now I’m convinced more than before that the rainbow was truly sent from Heaven! I’m praying for you and your husband and am confident things will work out best of luck!”

Something so simple, that beautiful rainbow, which inspired me to write, got the attention of someone else who saw it and felt something significant too.  I can only hope that every time that little girl sees that photo, she will be able to think back to her birthday, and remember that gift from her mom.  I don’t even know her, but knowing how sad I am after losing my mom, I can not imagine the grief that she is experiencing as a child.

I wish that family peace and comfort and hope that they know that they have been in my thoughts for the last few days and I am so glad that this stranger reached out to me because it really has helped me to believe that our loved ones are really up there, watching out for us and sending us messages of love.

Do You Judge?

judge others

Today I saw an article on the internet on “How People Judge You”.  It was about how to make a great first impression when going on an interview.  It seemed shallow and superficial, with ideas for how to dress and how much makeup to apply.  I never thought of “judging someone” as a positive thing.  Yes, of course a first impression is important perhaps in a job interview, but should it be judged solely on looks?  I don’t think so.

But I really began to think about it.  Do you judge others?  I have to confess that I do find myself doing it.  It is not something that I am proud of.  I don’t know why I do it.  Is it human nature to judge others? I know I am not alone in this and I wonder why it is so common place.  Is it because we feel that, “we know best.”?  Why have people become so critical of others or have we always been this way? Are we insecure or judging others to distract ourselves from our own weaknesses?  Is it because we stereotype others? I  honestly am not sure.

I know that I have been out, in a restaurant, or a store and been critical of how another parent is disciplining their children.  Maybe it is because there is so much “advice” on how we should raise our children.  Who is the one to say what is right?   I have heard stories on the news and thought, “I would never do that”, or “how could they let something like that happen”?  Do we really know why people do what they do?  If we are not in their shoes, do we have any idea of what others are going through?

I saw an experiment on Patch.com

Experiment for those who want to participate: I want you to look at people you see and interact with today, like the people that you see walking down the street, people that you work with people that you interact with in a store or office or school. I want you to first look at them as you would normally, like a group of boys walking down the street.

What are your thoughts about them what do you think about them what are you judging them for? Is your first reaction “what are they up to?” or “Are they out causing trouble?” or are you wondering what type of kids they are or have you judged them and already labeled them?

Now I want you to look at them again, but this time relate them to someone you love: your kids, your mother, father, siblings, friend, anyone that you have unconditional love for. Look at them and see their qualities that are good. In doing this you are changing the energy and bringing more positive energy into your life.

Interesting!  Thinking about it in a different way.  Seek out the good, positive qualities.  What a nice thought.

Perhaps we can learn from judging someone by taking the time to get to know them after you judge them and find out how accurate you were.  With practice, you might just become better at reading someone you meet the for the first time.