Anniversary in Aurora

Lori and I had a wonderful overnight-er in Aurora NY at the Aurora Inn to celebrate our anniversary. It wasn’t quite as spectacular as last year’s anniversary in Venice but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, a fabulous dinner, and then a wonderful walking tour of the town to learn about Aurora and its evolution, particularly its transformation under the singular vision of Pleasant Rowland.  We will be back.

I’m Hanging It Up

It’s official: I am now retired from my (brief) 2-year career as a court clerk. It’s been fun and interesting working in our town’s court and seeing the New York State justice machinery working on the front lines. I leave with a deep respect for the fine people working for our town–they’re uniformly devoted to doing the best for the community and are a pleasure to “rub elbows” with.

I’m sure I’ll be seeing them again when I stop in to pay taxes, tweak some court software, or appear for a speeding ticket.  Meanwhile, I’m having a blast continuing my education at the Corning Museum of Glass and readying for my next career as a “Glass Guide” (docent).

Assuredly Winter

There’s no disputing it at this point: Newfield has started deploying Winter. We hope it’s at least a proper job of it–useful for snowshoeing, skiing, etc.–and none of that wimpy cold dreary gray eternity we sometimes get.

Our neighbors down the hill put up their Christmas lights just in time for the first substantial snow of the season.

Along an Esker

Our friend Stella joined us for Thanksgiving and a post-Thanksgiving recovery hike at Sweedler Preserve in Ithaca. The weather was brisk if our pace was not.

There is a lovely esker running down the Lick Brook gorge in Sweedler Preserve that features dramatic side drop-offs.

Glass With Class

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.

The Buck Stops Here

A young buck paused amidst the similarly-colored goldenrod making him difficult to spot unless he was moving.

Can you spot him? He blended in quite well as he slowly passed through our field of past-prime goldenrod.

Update Nov. 17: Our buck has returned and is less shy than during his initial visit. Now he feeds contentedly in our yard.

Cornell Arboretum Post-Peak

We were a couple days early for peak Fall colors last weekend and we were a couple days late for peak colors today.  Peak colors at the Arboretum were estimated to be approximately 2.337 days ago.

Guided Walk in the Arboretum

Created in the 1960s by Cornell undergraduate architecture students, these sculptures enabled students to learn first-hand about sculpture, design, engineering, and carpentry.

The Cornell Botanic Gardens is one of the many great gems in our area.  We joined a few other folks for a splendid walk through parts of the F. R. Newman Arboretum led by “Garden Guide” Dr. Peter Davies, a retired Cornell professor (46 1/2 years!) and expert on plant physiology.

We learned about fall colors, the dominance of green chlorophyll pigment which breaks down in the fall to reveal the yellow and orange carotenoids, and the anthocyanins generated by some species to create the vivid reds and bronzes, notably red maples here in the northeast.

We also learned of the effects of, and losing battle against, invasive species and the homogenization of the biosphere throughout the world.  We also learned of Ithaca’s four seasons: pre-Winter, Winter, post-Winter, and Construction season.

It was a comprehensively entertaining and interesting stroll on a beautiful Fall day. The Arboretum is a wonderful and ever-changing place to visit any time of year–highly recommended.

Back To School For Me

This piece, made from soda lime glass in a Corning Museum of Glass studio is my first-ever attempt at hot glass forming. (Substantial assistance was provided by a very experienced glass blowing instructor.)

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?