Friday, February 27, 2009

glass nightmare, fear, and a rightous riff

well it always can be worse... 8 fingers lack bandages.
the last two weeks have been rough. and there is my shoulder...
Ok, so I have ignored it for many a year, because it was generally OK as long as I did not put my hand behind my head or try to hit a ground hog with a stone. Basically I could get through life without much pain, and I am rather good at ignoring pain... had much training growing up.
But the last month or so has been different and with it becoming difficult to do much of anything... fear hit. Sure it is going to be cold and snowing this weekend, but spring gardening is coming and fear fear fear. The man of hope had given up on his bodies ability to heal by itself, so I called a doctor. X-rays today. PT next Monday. Return to doctor in 4 weeks. It feels bad, even for my tolerance to pain.
So last night Mosaic Woman says check this out... 12 HS jazz bands are playing at our local high school Friday night (tonight). I say, "cool I could use some live music" and to be filled with the hope that teens will keep jazz alive.
Six pieces of glass to go and 4 suncatchers will be set to foil. So into the studio I go. (OK, it's not the nest place for my shoulder) The first four go smoothly. Then I change glass and it ignores my score lines. The glass breaks underneath my pattern piece ripping it in half. Peeled off, glued back down... same thing. Again. I switch to a new type of glass throwing away anything left of the other glass. This one again goes off the score line. Now I am not centered. And a sharp point slices through my left middle finger just below the fingernail. I ignore it and again the glass breaks off score. The same sharp point now pierces my left index finger. The pattern pieces are a mess and blood is flowing out of both hands. Enough.
This morning in the shower a thought that has been recurring comes to mind. How does my long hair stay and my shoulder heal? and as the warm water flows over me, I think of the jazz concert...

and I this song comes to mind and to quote another song on Joe Jackson's tribute to early jazz...

I can.... it makes me 9 foot tall when I am 4 feet high. Hip Hip!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

if I keep writing ...

A friend I have worked with for twelve years comes into my classroom. His role at the school has changed so this is an unusual visit this year. I say, "Can I help you?"
Not really.
He walks past my students who are learning about the reasons and consequences of the Missouri River "sinking" faster than expected.
He stares out the window where the aloe is in all its glory.

Wordless he walks back to the doorway, turns, says, "can I talk to you a minute?"
I think, "hmmm what did he expect to see? what student needs to be "dealt" with???" I am so wrong.
He tells me a friend has died. He tells me someone had said, "go tell Stratz before the e-mail gets sent."
Two men who shared their sacred stories. two men who listened with open hearts to mine. two men who always greeted me with a smile for 12 years. enough. I don't want to be missing smiles and hearts. It won't stop.
So my stoic heart turns and we continue on with the geology lesson.

The heart that was so warmed by these men is finally touched. Again, it happens with music, with amber glass in my hand, with God in my studio.
and a CD chosen randomly has the song that broke through my stoic self. It starts this way ...
I should be getting some sleep
I try and I try but I can't keep
From picking apart everything that we said
Yeah, I shouldn't be running this maze
Trying so hard to find a way to raise up the dead...

Kim Richey "I know" from her album Bitter Sweet.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

more sad news after yoga--- Yes Indeedy Man has died

Many a public person has died since I started blogging, and finally a tribute...

Several years ago Mosaic Woman and I started listening to jazz, and around here that means you turn to WRTI. We soon discovered a show with a wonderful name, wonderful DJ, and wonderful music...
The Historical Approach To The Positive Music hosted by Harrison Ridley, Jr.
Each week for 4 hours the man would take you through a jazz history lesson, often focussing on the life of one musician. I never listened to an entire show, but you knew he would be there. Well he did miss three shows in 32 years. Then several weeks ago he was missing. Then again. Then a third time. One night I would hear about a severe stroke. The voice on the radio was not comforting about the man's condition.
Thursday, driving home, I hear that he had died. Harrison loved the music and that love came out with a simple phrase, "Yes Indeedy." How many times did we all hear him say this? The song would end, and he would start out with that phrase. To us, he was Yes Indeedy Man.
did I say 4 hours, it was more like 3 hours and 56 minutes, because you knew the man was starting the show when you heard this tune... Blue Horizon by Sydney Bechet. The tune fits my mood.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

driving with uncertainty

My blogger buddy Jim often drives to events with not a lot of certainty of what will be spoken by himself when he gets there. I know the feeling. Last night as I drove over to Gwynedd Friends Meeting House for my spirit group, I was wondering where the spirit has taken me this month. Only four of us show up, and as we sat in silence waiting for the spirit to move us to speak, I breathed in and out.
One by one the others were moved to speak, and I sat, listened, and then after silence asked a question or two.

and resonated. I love that word. Listening to the stories of others, in silence, allows their words to trigger cells in my brain, and I ring with the spirit myself.
My friend, who showed up this year, from my old UCC church, speaks of joy. When asked to say more about the joy of working in a daycare, she speaks of ignoring the negative rants of co-workers (I ring) and connects the joy of little ones with the sadness of a still birth years ago ( I ring as I think of Robin, Linda, and Cozy.)
Next our leader leaps in and speaks of meeting with Jesus. Imaginative prayer. And again I ring as I think of how I have fallen away from my prayer life. When was the last time I placed myself into a story from the Bible? I think of my return to yoga.
Then the other male in the room speaks of a hymn that brought tears to his eyes. Asked about it he recites the words, "precious Lord take my hand..." I am ringing. I wonder if his body quakes as mine has done in the midst of a congregation sing a hymn. I ask, "The music, does it touch your body?"
I am the only one who has not spoken. We have moved clockwise. My resonating body is now ready to speak and I talk about the above and end with my desire to be on the jet stream riding the flow, enjoying my scientific brain and my spirit filled life.
here is my latest ... It is one of the two designs I recently drew during an in-service at work.
what do you see? I see a trillium and I see the trilogy. I am on the jet stream.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


ask me about my Wednesday...

a leg cramp woke me...
students in crisis mode...
me, yes me screwing up the labeling of seeds we planted
90 minutes in a dental chair...
paying for those 90 minutes...
eating gruel for dinner...

but that would be only half...

the vibe playing of Milt Jackson...
having a hoot planting pepper seeds...
a household budget that has a fund to pay for medical emergencies...
a dental hygienist who happens to know my assistant, who I say is a wonderful person...
the love of a good woman...

tonight I randomly pull out a cassette and listen to February. It may be the roughest month for me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

more on love, and I reveal a favored love song

OK, so the last post did not get me any comments, so undaunted I speak more on love...
After Church on Sunday, a friend with little ones and I talked about addictions. She asked me how I stopped. Answer.... I didn't want to lose Mosaic Woman's love. More... We were driving across the country and at the end of that adventure we would be living together in Oregon (yes, some ministers feel we are spiritually ruined, their words not mine). A slip here and there for a few years, but now still in love with M and in love with my job ... it has kept me clean for many many years.
Tonight in the stained glass studio, this song came to me. And there I was twenty years old hoping that someone would love me till my heart stopped. Maybe having flashbacks and dancing while working with glass is a bad idea, but no cuts occurred.
I wish I found the song without video. But hey, I clearly thought I was a freak back then. Took me many years to see myself as just being an imperfect human like the rest of you. The dancing with the floor lamp may just be worth getting past the body parts flashed on the big screen, and to the end.
It was a hard day at the office, because students I care for had a really hard day at the office. Peace be with them. Seeing myself as human, clearly helped in seeing my students as human. No matter how freaky we act at times.

Monday, February 16, 2009

dating and adventures

Mosaic Woman and I try to do plenty of both.
Friday night when left the John Blake concert we were handed a pamphlet for the Berks Jazz festival out in Reading, PA. By the time we fell asleep we had plans for a big date in April.
But first we needed reservations in a historic hotel, but it was filled. So I searched other hotels, but nothing caught our interest and part of the adventure would have been staying where the late night jazz was playing.
So I went a searching and landed at the Cape May Jazz Festival. Now we have been tempted to go in the past, but the emphasis was a bit too heavy on the blues for Mosaic Woman, so onward...
I landed at the Women in Jazz Festival in Washington DC at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Ok, now that is a way to celebrate the beginning of a life shared, but it was the same day as M's spring concert and a gardening workshop I am teaching. onward...
On to our favored place in the Poconos, the Deer Head Inn, but nothing caught our fancy. onward...
So I turned to a closer place, Philadelphia, and we found one amazing jazz concert. Ordered tickets and to make it truly a celebration of our first kiss, booked a room in a historic art deco hotel.
then we went on a cheap date for Valentine's Day. Seniors in the music program at Moravian College give recitals, for free. We showed up in a room filled with folk half our age, well a few years less than half my age. The music by jazz pianist, Jeremy Sweet was just amazing. May he play many more gigs and I just sent him a message at facebook to pass on my best wishes.
now for connections. Friday night we bought a CD by the pianist, Sumi Tonooka, and on the CD she played a cover of Tempus Fugit (this is not smooth, but is cool even if a bit agitating) by Bud Powell. Jeremy Sweet chose that tune for his recital.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

one word stays in my head

Imagine you are a knitter...
You go to your knitting group one week and tell your friends, including one who makes mosaics, about your 19 year old son. He has juvenile diabetes and has been refusing to wear medical tags. Your voice is filled with love and concern. A week later you are not at the knitting group. Your son went to bed and never woke up.
I come home from yoga and ask Mosaic Woman how knitting group went. She tells me.
One word keeps circulating through my thoughts.... enough.
Last night I watch people, who survived their younger days, play jazz. Two black violinists, an Asian pianist, and a Russian bass player named Boris get my attention.
But it is Doc Gibbs standing in the midst of his percussion that has me thinking about communicating with God. It was too late last night. Too early right now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

more jet stream philosophy: vitalist vs mechanist

Is there a vital force that makes life exist or is it all mechanical and chemical. The vitalists which once were king hang on but their realm has become the land of mystery. If we don't know, than there must be a God. The mechanists and most of my students hold that if you can't prove there is a vital force than there is none. In science, I don't preach vital forces. If I can't prove it, it is not the realm of science.
The Jet stream is where I want to be, riding the stream... one the edge of science and the other edge of the spiritual. I do believe that makes for some fine partnerships.
Sometimes the jet stream gets broken. Earlier this week, I hand out four weather maps, cutting across northern PA is a stationary front, in the same area on another map, the jet stream is a mess. Unfocussed one could say. Things get stagnant at times when I like the weather, stop flowing.
Then there are the nematodes and rotifers that live in ponds and survive when things dry up. The resurrectionists cried out that they come back to life. The anti-resurrectionists said they still have a metabolism. Truth turns out that they change some things around at the cellular level, but do stop their metabolism. If one's metabolism stops, is one dead? Do they come back to life? Does it matter? Does anyone ever win this arguement.

If I can prove how a nematode functions, will that destroy my faith?
Sometimes I feel it takes two minds to keep aloft in the stream.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A thin Line

Fridays in geology we discuss a weather related topic and we hit the jet stream this week. Geologically speaking it is a thin line between cold and warm air. After weeks of it being south of us, we are now enjoying the warmth from it going back north.
My friend in Oregon, who has found me, sends a note. She has noticed that I have changed and speaks of a friend who has requested prayers. And I wonder if I have a jet stream myself. It meanders in one direction and I sit in church and feel moved by the spirit. Then later I sit in church and rationally wonder why I even bother to go.
Bird watching seems to linger as part of who I am. At school we are trying to feed birds and I had not seen any till a noisy flock of starlings showed up on Friday. A much hated bird by many a birder, I just hoped that their noise might attract other birds. I didn't wish them to choke to death as I might have in the past. Leaving for the weekend a flock of bluebirds catch my eye and I hesitate before I go to my car. 45 minutes later, a hawk flies across our street as we pull up to our house. We walk not to the house, but to the hawk. A Cooper's, I do believe.
My students ride this meandering wind with me. Am I more interested in having control by being full of authority or do I have the classroom I desire by relaxing and letting more joy and fun enter. Some have told me about this roller coaster and I welcome them to the ride. And thank them for their comments. I learn much from their critiques.
Awareness seems the key as it often is these days. Aware of where my jet stream is headed before it creates a storm I did not see coming. Sometimes I imagine being in the stream, and it feels good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

on my knees

On Tuesday I was on my hands and knees taking a photo of spring creeping into Pennsylvania, when a colleague came around the corner. She thought I was praying. I could have been. To a God, who six hours before the ground got covered with five inches of snow, gave me a sign of hope. A couple of weeks ago a woman who I have worked with for years lost a college aged son in an automobile accident. I send a card with my prayers included. May those amazing powers of hope, joy, and love come and help her through these dark times.
Today five inches of snow had covered my sign of hope and when I got to the school I am told more sad news as I check in. Again I hope that the sadness is felt and then some how released.
At work a friend had forwarded me an internet prayer chain thingee. Is she too in need of prayer? I will ask her tomorrow as she will hopefully be stopping by my room. I sent her an e-mail and told her I would pass it on, but no tags and no "do this in five minutes."
As I sit here hoping for joy to melt sadness, I have made my wish. So I will finally read the words I have pasted below. The words I am to pass on. The words are by St Therese and they came to me the day after I blogged about praying at night, in silence, with her at the Jesuit Retreat Center.
Here my friends...
'May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.'

I am sad. I am hopeful.
if these words touched your heart as they just touched mine. Pass them on... and on... they have been flowing for hundreds of years by folk like ourselves.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Diane Schoemperlen paved the way... even if I took a wrong turn

When I started this blog and created a profile, I added Diane Schoemperlen as a favored author. Every now and then I click to see how many other blogspot bloggers favor her, so far there have been none, other than myself.

These Monday nights with Episcopalians discussing Joe Paprocki's book has made it clear how myself and a friend have met in the middle from different directions. She was raised Roman Catholic, while I was an Evangelical Lutheran. I read Joe's words, and see many things that were missing from my early faith which have come to mean so much by my visits to the Jesuit Center. The Jesuits have introduced a mystical aspect to Christianity to what I remember from my youth. My friend is often reminded of what troubled her (but also things that do not trouble) from her childhood. She sees limits placed on faith which have expanded by leaving the Catholics. We are moving in opposite directions and find much common ground.

Prior to my first 8 days of silence, I read Our Lady of The Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen. It is a simple story line. Mary, after 2000 years of petitions, is worn out and decides to take a break from it all at the house of a single woman. It introduced me to a world that was alien to me. And then I went off to be with the Jesuits. What happened was intense and I petitioned to Mary.

the wrong turn. On that retreat I found a statue and would sit with Mary as the long days came to an end. I would pray for healing. As the years have passed, this became a favored spot of mine. Late at night sitting on the floor. Then one night I saw a tag and when I arose, I saw that it had not been Mary all these years, but Saint Therese of Lisieux, who ironically was a saint who I knew something of.

Oh well... there are many ways to God, and petitioning to Mary, by visiting St. Therese worked quite well for me