A Festival of Trees – Thankful for Community

Dinos in the Museum Christmas tree
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!
Dinos on the tree? Perfect at a museum!

Generally we have a house rule that the Christmas season doesn’t kick off until after Santa waves at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but this year, Chris and broke the rules. We’re going wild now that the kids are grown and out of the house 😉 Friday night (yes, almost an entire week before Thanksgiving) found us heading to the Berkshire Museum for a fundraiser highlighting a Festival of Trees.

Persuading me to go was not difficult. 🙂

As a newbie to the area, it was really cool seeing all the different business represented. And seeing community members themselves coming to support the museum.

Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Local businesses created trees based on songs. It was up to us to figure out while songs each tree represented. See that one on the left? It’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” 
Ribbon Candy on the Cookies
Ribbon candy on the cookies
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
Holly Jollytini and snacks. So festive!
There's just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture.
There’s just something about seeing classic animations highlighted next to classic sculpture. 
Funky tree toppers
Funky tree toppers
A “tree” made by musicians. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree. 
Info about the musicians' tree.
Info about the musicians’ tree.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
Chris enjoying the delicious hot chocolate and cookies.
My favorite room - the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers :)
My favorite room – the ones with the trees from local daycare and child centers 🙂
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There's nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
Chris took this pic of me by one of my favorite singers. There’s nobody quite like Ella Fitzgerald, imho.
So many creative trees!
So many creative trees!
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
See Chris in the tree in the corner? That one had woodsy sounds inside. Calming.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.
Had to take this one for our Bri, who loves pugs. Great tree topper, and the list is what the animal shelter needed donation-wise. So smart.

The video above this paragraph gives a bit of the feel of the museum. Love how the art is surrounded by so many different trees. If you listen closely, you can hear the high school choir singing “Silent Night” in the background.

The video below is of a tree depicting “Stairway to Heaven.” It was created by our friend Mark and his team. I think they did a fabulous job.

Museums

I think I might become a museum junkie. I’ve been researching the treasures of Massachusetts and have found some incredible deals. Back in my other post, I talked about the importance of being back in the art corridor for my artist husband, but the actual reality of it is pretty fantastic.

After spending a few decades in the boondocks, where large art museums were a long drive from me, the proximity is a treat. We had different, natural art in those years, and believe me I met many artists (musicians, performers, masters in kitchen arts, etc) who are amazing, but I did not have easy access large places one can stroll through on a rainy day.

For a few weeks, we researched — read tons of pamphlets, hit web sites and talked with locals and tourists. Then we took the plunge and purchased season passes for the Berkshire Museum and for Mass MoCA. This gives us all sorts of opportunities to see lots of exhibits and artistic styles as well as to attend performances and go to openings and other activities. My favorite part of our plan is that the Berkshire Museum membership came with reciprocal passes to over 1,000 institutions (art and science) across the US. Even Utah 😉 (that’s where the majority of my kids live).

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One of my favorite parts of the passes is that we can go back any time we want this year, so we don’t have to feel rushed. If we only want to pop in for an hour, that’s okay.

I love the inspiration one derives from a museum visit. And I also love the human connection — the vibe of appreciation from other gallery viewers. The paintings and educational tidbits on the plaques link me to the past and spark my imagination in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I mean, really, did you even know that some snakes change their sleep cycles from diurnal to nocturnal? I never knew this before. I’m certain there is a children’s story in there somewhere.

Imagination officially ignited. This is good stuff.

Catching up to Me – and our Trip to DC (and Surrounding Areas)

IMG_20150614_122615884I somehow missed June, and I blame it on my kids. Hudi pretty much finished his school year months ago (he homeschools through a virtual high school), CJ is out of college, and Zeb is in college. No school days were pushing (punishing?) us through the long days of June so we forgot to stress and just enjoyed.

No graduations in our immediate family this year, no exams. We began celebrating summer in May, and I missed June. Work hard, play hard. Life sure is fun.

So here is my attempt at a catch-up. The next few posts will highlight some of our warm-season adventures.

As a summer kick-off (a month or so ago) we traipsed down to West Virginia to drop Zeb off at Camp Sandy Cove, where he is a counselor this summer. On the way, we stopped to visit with Zeb’s godparents and other family members. Such fun!!!! We also spent a day touring in Washington, DC.      (CLICK ANY PIC TO SEE IT BIGGER)

Zeb was a total favorite with this awesome little dude who wanted to be wherever Zeb was.

Even trying to dance like him.

On our way out of the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, we stopped to get Zeb’s girlfriend from the airport (she’s also working at Camp Sandy Cove this summer). We dropped them off at camp with yet another friend (the one who told them about this awesome job) and headed back home.

A whirlwind tour, but lots of fun. And a really cool part was that I used my mi-fi to work while on the road so I only missed one work day, and my awesome co-workers cheerfully covered for me on that day 🙂 Lots of fun and no guilt.