I stopped by Geoff McKonly Furniture last week to meet the owner and get a tour of his workspace. It reminded me of my grandfather’s basement workshop from many years ago.
Geoff does beautiful work—I got to see two projects in process, one a table he is constructing for a show at the Delaware Water Gap, and the other is a bed. The bed’s headboard has a unique feature, a beautifully curved “crack” between two boards, in a departure from his original design. He like to bring features of the wood to the overall structure of a piece.
Geoff has been at One Cottage Street for a few years now, and before that he was designing and building boats for many years in Philadelphia. (I’m originally from the Philly area.) I noticed a lot of cleverly placed curves in his designs, and Geoff told me that comes from his time building boats.
He also teaches workshops at the New England School for Woodworking, including one this weekend a building an Adirondack chair. I’d highly recommend Geoff if you are looking for finely crafted custom furniture.
My son and I recently visited the Beneski Museum of Natural History on the Amherst College campus. Another hidden gem in the Pioneer Valley. We went on a summer weekday and nearly had the place to ourselves, which I liked, being able to linger over exhibits.
I felt like I could get a lot closer to the reconstructed skeletons than I can in other natural history museums. We got much better views of skeletal details and a better sense of the scale of these animals.
If dinosaur tracks are your thing, there is an extensive collection of those.
Do not miss out on the drawers! There are drawers throughout with smaller fossils, etc. that are very cool.
There are very well-explained exhibits on our local geology and how fossils are formed. In fact, I didn’t have enough time to fully explore those, and I need to go back.
Oh, and admission is free! What are you waiting for?
I noted in a previous post that I had filmed a conference for the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT). The topic was “Tangled Truths: Helping Couples Recover from Sexual Trauma”. It featured presenters and panelists from across the state. Northampton-based Yana Tallon-Hicks presented on human sexual development and education, and Easthampton-based Mike Lew talked about his experience working with men who have been victims of sexual abuse.
As always when I am filming conferences, it’s like continuing education for me. I learned a lot about the valuable and heroic work being done with survivors of sexual trauma. I was most impressed by the therapists’ respect and honoring of those survivors for their bravery in dealing with their trauma.
I filmed two lectures and a panel discussion that day and created a DVD for MAMFT. They are going to make the DVDs available for purchase through their website.
From the MAMFT website: “We are the professional association for the field of marriage and family therapy in the state of Massachusetts…We represent the professional interests of 450 marriage and family therapists throughout the state of Massachusetts.“
Filming conferences is always personally rewarding for me, because I am always learning something new. Technically, each one presents a different challenge. For this conference, there were two individual lectures (one with a powerpoint presentation) and a panel discussion with 5 presenters, along with some projected video clips. It helps when the conference center runs smoothly and is technologically up-to-date!
From their website: “For groups from five to 300 people, the Smith College Conference Center gives its guests unparalleled customer service and value. Several rooms of varied sizes are available for your meeting, conference, lecture, retreat or special occasion. Equipped with the latest audio/visual capabilities and an on-site, professional-scale kitchen, the Conference Center offers accessible solutions for all your event needs.”
Gearing up to film Williston Northampton’s convocation in a couple of weeks. You probably didn’t know that Brad Hall, a Saturday Night Live alum, is also a Williston Northampton alum. I was filming the Williston commencement a couple of years ago when Mr. Hall came back to campus to give the commencement address.
Capping off a very entertaining talk, Mr. Hall got out his guitar and left the students with some memorable musical advice. He brought down the house.
I recently filmed a series of focus groups for the company Brooks Adams, out of Richmond, VA. The focus groups met at the Lathrop Community in Easthampton, MA. I learned a lot about independent and assisted living options for folks 55 and older. I found the Lathrop Community to be very unique due to their commitment to lifelong learning for residents and their association with the Quaker-run Kendal Corporation.
From their website: “Brooks Adams from GlynnDevins offers senior living communities customized research, sales and consulting services to help you make smarter business decisions.” My wife worked in the training field for many years, and so I’ve picked up on what makes for a great facilitator. The staff from Brooks Adams were terrific and ran a very efficient focus group.
I had the opportunity recently to film a wedding in Childs Park, Northampton, MA. This was the first time I had filmed in Childs Park, and the setting was beautiful. The ceremony took place near the garden house and the formal garden, where everything was in bloom. The bride and groom wrote their own vows, and much Motown was played at the reception. I can’t post the highlight video due to music copyright restrictions, but here are some stills.
Great first session with Jon Reed on creating content for social media—lots of great tips shared around the room. Next, Val Nelson led a session on finding your social media sweet spot. After lunch, Steve Sherlock led a session on how to write a blog post (using his photo below). Adrian Dahlin of the Conway School facilitated a session on social media challenges for non-profits. Finally, Paul Bogush led a session on body language and interpreting non-verbal communication.
I learned a lot in every session and would enthusiastically encourage anyone who wants to improve and/or share their experience with social media to attend a podcamp.
I was lucky to be able to film the Maya Lin lecture at Smith College last night. I only knew of her work designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall while she was still a college student. I didn’t know the rest of the story about what a busy and remarkable career she has had as an artist and architect.
Took a walk around Look Park in Northampton today after dropping off my kids’ carpool at school. I haven’t been there for a while, and didn’t realize the the Willow Lake dredging project had already been completed. The lake now looks to be in great shape. The bandshell by the lake makes a great location for weddings, if you’re looking for a beautiful spot outdoors. And if you don’t want to travel to another location on your big day, the Look Park Garden House is a great place to have a reception.
I was in Greenland, NH, yesterday, taping Rudy Wilson Galdonik. Rudy is a humorist, speaker and author—in her words, a nearly bionic “menopausal mom with an attitude”. She addressed an audience of women at Bethany Church and will use the footage on her website.
In an effort to help you out with your New Year’s resolutions, I recommend Lynne Marie Wanamaker. If you’re looking for a personal fitness trainer, she’s the best, especially if you feel guilty about last year’s resolutions. She totally gets it, she’s non-judgmental, and she really knows how to tailor a program to fit your needs.
I have to recommend Schneider Plumbing & Heating of Haydenville. Bob Schneider came out and fixed our non-working boiler the day before Thanksgiving, with just a day’s notice. He was prompt, explained everything, and fixed the problem in about half an hour. We were able to tidy the house and prepare our feast in comfort. And we were relieved that our guests wouldn’t have to keep their coats on!
It’s always nice to return to Beit Ahavah. Rabbi Riqi Kosovske leads an inspiring service. It was my first time at Mill 1 in Holyoke, and I enjoyed videotaping in the space, which is a large, open, brick-walled room in an old factory building. Klezamir provided great music, there were games for the kids, and there was a photo corner where the kids could get pictures taken while dressed up in crazy accessories.