January 26, 2013

Milling About Mills Pond

Every few months, while on my way home on one of those rare days when I get off from work at a early hour, I like to make a stop at the Mills Pond House Gallery to check out their latest art display. The old house is utilized by the Smithtown Township Arts Council to promote the arts through exhibits, events, and classes and has featured the works of artists from all over the nation. I love the fact that a place like this is so near to my job. It is located mere minutes away from the office. After a day of data entry, it's nice to have an artistic retreat right around the corner. To top it off, the showcases are always free to the public.

Through February 8, the Mills Pond House is hosting an exhibit called "The Ones That Got Away: Celebrating Long Island Artists." As I browsed around the gallery's four rooms, I saw quite a few works that I really liked, though, my favorite was a piece by one James Berger called "Jungle Eyes." It shows a tiger done in oil on canvas. I also noticed a great piece by Jim Scovel. I had met Jim at a library exhibit in early 2012; he's a good guy and it was nice to see his work again.

"Jungle Eyes"
James Berger

"Cranes Neck"
Vivian Gattuso

"Dreams of Glory"
Jim Scovel

"Bridge In Springtime"
Judy Liu

"Tomorrow Le Cirque"
j. lefsky

"Old Point at St. Michaels"
Michael Kutzing

"Turbans, Mermaid, and Rose"
Shawn Sullivan

Arntian Kotsa

Joe Miller

On Fridays, the Mills Pond House also has an evening of "Jazz In the Living Room." I really wanted to go last night, but, looking at the snowflakes through my window, I thought better of the whole idea. I'll catch it the next time. Instead, I worked on a little bit of poetry. I ended up with what I hope is a pretty good piece. May your weekend be pure delight. Cheers!

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left."

~Ecclesiastes 10:2


January 19, 2013

Kitsch In the Kitchen

Lately, I've gotten heavily involved in revamping the interior design of my house. You may recall about two weeks ago that I said I was going to clean out my kitchen. Right after I posted that, I spent a few days ripping apart all of the cupboards and drawers. Once everything was neat and uncluttered, I found that I had become bored with the pumpkin hue that had been adorning the walls for the better part of ten years now. It looked dull. I felt inspired to give the room a fresh coat of paint and I was leaning toward something in the red family. I decided on a lively color called "Grenadine." The moment that I dipped the brush into the can and slathered that tincture onto the wall, I could feel the atmosphere pop and I was very excited. I've been working on the room ever since. I picked up some new artwork and I even used chalkboard paint on one of the columns to lend a whimsical feature. I really love the way my kitchen has turned out. Whereas before it was drab, now it has flair. So far in this spruce-up tour of my home, I've finished the living room, the studio, and the kitchen. I'm going to keep at it until the entire house is complete. Next up, I have a spare room that is in dire need of a makeover.

Other than that, I've just been doing simple things. I'm in process of writing a new piece of music. I've come up with some poetry, which I'll probably post to my other blog in the days ahead. I started watching a TV series called "Heroes" on Netflix that so far is pretty good. Today, I worked on a Glow-In-The-Dark jigsaw puzzle with my daughter that was a lot of fun. Perhaps this weekend, I'll go out somewhere to honor MLK Day. Basically, everything is good. Hope it is with you too. Cheers!

"One thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus."

~Philippians 3:13-14


January 11, 2013

Class Projects: Iroquois Stars & Air Cars

Lately, I've been having a very enjoyable time helping my son with some assignments that he had to do for his school. One such project that we worked on was an Iroquois Journal that would chronicle a five-day span in the life of one of the tribe's young people. The entries needed to be both informative and personal. Being that we had visited the Iroquois Museum in Cobleskill just two years ago, we already knew quite a bit about some of their stories and traditions. With just a little more research, we were able to put together a fairly detailed report. To accompany the journal, I plugged in my hot glue gun and went to work making a Longhouse out of some twigs and dried leaves that we had gathered up from the backyard. While the tiny structure we created didn't end up looking like a Longhouse exactly, we were very happy with it and had a lot of fun putting it together. I guess we did a pretty good job because my son ended up getting an A+ on the project. Here are the journal entries:

Day 1:

During a terrible rainstorm this past week, our tribe’s Longhouse got a leak in the roof. Father and I gathered a bunch of wooden posts and elm bark shingles to make the repair. We spent the entire morning in the hot sun. The Longhouse is a sacred dwelling where we hold tribal meetings, conduct ceremonies, and participate in social dancing. The name Haudenosaunee translates into “People of the Longhouse."

Day 2:

After our evening meal, my friends and I went to the lake to do a little bit of night spear fishing. Once we had rowed from shore in our birch bark canoes, we used torches to illuminate the surface of the water. Sometimes during the day, we also go fishing in shallow waters, but this requires us to stand still for very long periods of time until the fish swim nearby. This time out, we caught some Largemouth Bass. 

Day 3:

Today, I learned to make traps to obtain hides and meat. We made simple snare traps using ropes and bent saplings to catch smaller animals. For bears, we piled logs into a box-shaped trap. Meat was used to lure the bears into it and the great weight would cause the logs to topple over. I enjoyed my time in the woods. The pelts will really help keep us warm in the winter. 

Day 4:

This afternoon, I was watching my sister playing with her cornhusk dolls by the river. Grandmother had taught us about the reason why cornhusk dolls have no faces. She said that the Creator made them to look after the children. One day, one of the dolls saw its reflection in a pool. It got so wrapped up in looking at itself that it forgot all about the children. When the Creator saw that the children were in danger, he punished the doll by taking away its face. That is the reason cornhusk dolls are made without faces.

Day 5:

Following our morning meal, I paid a visit to Uncle to see how his porcupine quillwork is progressing. My uncle is a very skilled quillworker and he has been hard at work on a war shirt for about a year now. The process involves the softening and dying of porcupine quills and then the weaving of them into leather. I can’t wait to see the shirt when it is finished. Last year, he made me a medicine bag and it is beautiful.

Another class project that I really liked was the making of an air-powered car. This little invention can whiz across our kitchen tiles with ease. So cool! Cheers!

"My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor
all day long."

~Psalm 71:8


January 4, 2013

Inventory & Repertoire

At the end of every December, I like to give my house a good cleaning. I think it's a good idea to start off a new year in a fresh environment. This time around, I have taken on the task in great depth. For the past several days, I've made a point of looking at all of the items that I own and giving each one a stringent evaluation -- keep or don't keep. I've dug into nooks and crannies of the house that wouldn't normally see any traffic, such as the boiler room. I've gone through toolboxes and junk drawers and cabinets full of paperwork, removing bags and bags of stuff and recycling all that I can. Even things that are still technically functional aren't exempt. If I don't use it and it's just taking up space, I don't need to keep it. Someone described what I am doing as a taking of "inventory" and I kinda like the sound of that. It makes things simpler. I must say, it's a wonderful feeling to be free from so much useless clutter and the rearranging of the open area has introduced me to new ways of doing things that I wouldn't have thought about otherwise. I've also uncovered a few things that had been misplaced like my Backgammon board (it's a nice, plush one with stone pieces that look like caramel). At this point, I'm about half finished with the house. Next room, the kitchen.

Other than that, I've started learning some new material and getting myself ready for a poetry show that I'll be giving in mid-February at the Conklin Barn in Huntington. It has been a while since I've performed and I'm looking forward to returning to the poetic stage. Hopefully, I'll be able to deliver a good set with a few surprises. Wishing you a melodious weekend. Love & light...

"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him."

~Psalm 28:7