Lori, Marie (neighbor friend), and I took a one-day introductory class in glass blowing at Corning Museum of Glass recently. It was a blast. We each created several pieces designed to introduce us to the fundamentals. I can confidently say that none will be classified as art or serve any useful functional purpose. There were no severe burns and our instructor, Ross, was a patient and skilled (and entertaining) instructor. The best thing we developed in class was an increased appreciation for the gaffers (master glass blowers) who make it look so easy to create spectacular pieces.
I am very fortunate to be selected to train to become a Corning Museum of Glass “Glass Guide” (formerly called a docent). I’ll be trained over the next several months to learn the basics of the art, history, and technology of glass; become more familiar with CMoG’s glass works and resources spanning 3500 years; and learn how to help the Museum’s guests have an enjoyable and rewarding experience at the Museum.
I was motivated to pursue this as a retirement activity to do something worthwhile for the community, challenge my brain with continuous new learning experiences, and “rub elbows” with some superbly talented Museum staff and a rich variety of guests.
Basically this is about my health. Lori and I have the fundamentals of diet and exercise covered but I need something to keep the noggin healthy. Research has shown that challenging the mind is crucial to it’s continued function and combating many of the effects of aging. Similarly, maintaining quality social interactions has great benefits for emotional and mental health.
I couldn’t think of a much more effective way to keep mentally active than working at a world-class museum with the world’s largest collection of glass objects, the world’s most comprehensive library of all materials related to glass, and an extraordinary staff devoted to research, teaching, and sharing the fascinating story of this one substance.
My first day of class I even got to make my first piece of glass art in one of the glass studios. How cool is that?
Returning from a great concert by Pat Metheny at Smith Opera House in Geneva with friends Bill and Lanie, we stopped by for a quick visit to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a curious juxtaposition of the NYS Thruway and a 10,000-acre wetland refuge for birds and other wildlife. Our brief cursory visit was rewarded with egrets, herons, kingfishers, ospreys, geese, and all kinds of other brown ducks we weren’t familiar with.
Lori and I had the pleasure of visiting Corning Museum of Glass‘s New Glass Now exhibit, an extraordinary display of contemporary work from artists all over the world. We were highly impressed by the skill and creativity showcased in this spectacular collection beautifully displayed by the Museum. See it if you’re anywhere in the vicinity!
Lori, a patriotic American, was born on the 4th of July but we choose to celebrate not just her birthday but her birthmonth. A joint birthday celebration dinner with our friends Bill (birthday on July 3) and Anne and their daughter Sydney is now a traditional kickoff for the month’s observances.
A hike, preferably in insufferably hot humid weather, is another kickoff event for the month. This year we cut things a bit short and enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the Cascadilla Gorge Trail after enjoying breakfast and coffee at Collegetown Bagels.
Next up, we’ll have a nice dinner at Gola Osteria, joined by Mike and Kali. Eventually we’ll get back to a proper heat-prostration-inducing hike designed to delight Lori as she marvels at Paul’s inability to cope with miserably oppressive tropical heat and humidity. Yes, just non-stop fun for all of July. Happy birthmonth Lori!
Twelve years ago Lori acquired a new Toyota Prius and put 137,000 miles on it over years of mostly trouble-free use. She has traded it in for a new Audi A3. It’s bolder, sportier, and much more fun (much like Lori). Of course Lori does bold and sporty in a careful and responsible manner so this is not an outlandish impulsive leap. You can bet she’s factored in speeding-ticket fines in the total cost of ownership.
Congratulations to Lori on her wonderful new (belated) retirement present to herself.