November 28, 2010

*Upcoming Event

Please join me for some festive fun!

Love & light,
Jay Jii


November 27, 2010

Black Friday: Bliss, Boxes, and Boats

After a truncated work week and a blissful Thanksgiving Day, I was ready to stroll into the official holiday season with a grin on my face. I woke on the morning of Black Friday -- a day normally set aside for marathon shopping sprees and super sales -- and headed out to the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts to see a matinee of Mooseltoe.

Now, there are quite a few Off-Off-Broadway type of theaters on Long Island; Port Jefferson's Theater Three, John Engeman Theater in Northport, Smithtown Theater for the Performing Arts, and the Gateway are a few that immediately spring to mind. Though, the Patchogue Theater definitely ranks among the nicest, being of a quality that one might expect to find on 45th Street in Manhattan. With that in mind, I took my seat in the front mezzanine and reflected on how lucky I was not to be standing on a crowded line at Walmart.

Mooseltoe is a whimsical tale about a moose and his dream to fly with Santa's reindeer. It features a cast of singing and dancing moose, penguins, walruses, elves, a snowball, a mountain that turns into a Moose King, and Santa Claus. The production is lively, colorful, and fun. An hour's worth of holiday delight with a happy ending. An excellent beginning to what would be a eventful day...

Upon returning home after the show, I had the task of taking the Christmas boxes out of the garage. It is so wonderful to lift the lids on cartons that have been sealed for 11 months and see all of those decorations again. It makes my heart feel giddy. A cup of hot cocoa and Nat King Cole in the CD player was all it took and I was ready to spend the afternoon decking the halls!

As the evening rolled around, I took a little break from decorating to attend the First Annual Huntington Harbor Parade of Lights. 

In the crisp November air, I stood on the Huntington docks with the other spectators and watched as a procession of boats sailed into the harbor, all dressed in holiday style. Lights twinkled and shimmered on the surface of the water as giant Santas swayed in the sea breeze. The scene quickly turned into a great celebration as the audience broke into Christmas carols and cheered wildly whenever an elaborately adorned boat would sail by. The captains made sure to blow the foghorns for the groups of onlookers. It seemed that the entire perimeter of Huntington Harbor was lined with people waiting to get a glimpse; I could hear applause coming from across the harbor!

This was a great thing to experience. Being that this was the first year of the event, there weren't many boats involved, though it had such a wonderful atmosphere that I can see it growing over time. I can't wait to see what kinds of boats show up next year! :)

"Is any among you in trouble?
Let them pray.
Is anyone happy?
Let them sing songs of praise."

~James 5:13


November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your Thanksgiving Day
be a cornucopia of enchanted moments!
Wishing you bright blessings,
a gracious heart,
and a delicious turkey.

Love & light...

Jay Jii

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute,
once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently
as the heart of gratitude will allow."

~Edward Sandford Martin

"He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart."

~J.A. Shedd

"For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!"

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Dear Lord; we beg but one boon more:
Peace in the hearts of all men living,
peace in the whole world this Thanksgiving."

~Joseph Auslander

"Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home."

~Wilbur D. Nesbit

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel,
to set in the hearts of honest men;
but be careful that you do not take the day,
and leave out the gratitude."

~E.P. Powell

"The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies;
but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and,
as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find,
in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"

~Henry Ward Beecher

"Thanksgiving comes to us
out of the prehistoric dimness,
universal to all ages and all faiths.
At whatever straws we must grasp,
there is always a time for gratitude
and new beginnings."

~J. Robert Moskin

"Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace,
the celebration of work and the simple life...
a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry
of the turn of the seasons,
the beauty of seedtime and harvest,
the ripe product of the year –
and the deep, deep connection
of all these things with God."

~Ray Stannard Baker


"Not what we say about our blessings,
but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving."

~W.T. Purkiser

"So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart."

~Arthur Guiterman

"Thanksgiving, man.
Not a good day to be my pants."

~Kevin James


November 23, 2010

An "1863 Thanksgiving"

On Sunday, I went to Old Bethpage Village Restoration to celebrate an “1863 Thanksgiving.” My first stop was at the Visitor Center to view the old-time photographs and wall-sized map of the grounds that are on display there. Then, it was out through the rear door to step into a different era.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration is a place that gives visitors the unique opportunity to travel back in time and experience life in a 19th century American village. On 209 acres of rolling hills and gravel paths, more than 55 antebellum structures -- all moved to the site from other locations -- provide the setting for costumed staff members to demonstrate various crafts such as blacksmithing, hat making, decoy carving, loom weaving, hearth cooking, and slate writing. The village also features historic music, military re-enactments, and old-time baseball tournaments.

With the sun sparkling through the deep orange hues of the surrounding trees, I spent the day strolling through the historic, antique-filled buildings, enchanted by their rustic decorum and old-fashioned charm, feeling as though I had just walked into a scene from the mid-1800s.

I was delighted by the Thanksgiving meal preparations. The air was permeated by the wonderful smells of wood-burning stoves, roasting food, and baking pies. I took in the savory aromas as a woman prepared vegetables at the fireplace in the Kirby House. All of the recipes and culinary methods used are from the 19th-Century. It was great to watch and really left me feeling as though I had experienced an old-world Thanksgiving.

At lunch time, I stopped in the Noon Inn -- a tavern from 1850 -- for a snack of birch beer and pretzels (the only items on the menu) and to listen to a storyteller. In the Layton General Store, I joked with a girl in Civil War-era garb as she attempted to capture a stray honey bee in a plastic cup while struggling to stay in character. I ambled slowly through the grounds of the Powell Farm, with its livestock, barns, carriage shed, smokehouse, and other out buildings all boasting hand-hewn beam and wood peg construction techniques.

Perhaps my favorite event of the afternoon was the fiddle playing in the one-room schoolhouse. This lively, foot-stomping music had my heart dancing along with every note.

Overall, Old Bethpage Village Restoration provided me with a wonderful jaunt into another time. It was the perfect way to spend the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I will be going back to the Restoration on an evening in mid-December for a candlelit evening of traditional Christmas caroling. Should be cool. :)

Today, may you wrap yourself in the ecstasy of a creative moment, remembering to always speak the language of hospitality and gratitude…

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not he burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

~Isaiah 43:2