Tuesday, March 31, 2009


there I was planning out my geology class this morning...

when I was interrupted by a phone call from Mosaic Woman. She was in the ER. Walking from the car to work she took a nasty fall. Good news--- No broken bones in her hand, No loose teeth, No stitches needed where she bit herself, No broken nose. New glasses are in one piece with only minor scratches. Wedding ring taken off before fingers swelled at which point it may have been necessary to cut it off. Good news is that she works at a hospital so she was headed towards an ER when she fell.

However, her hand is bruised and scraped... no knitting. no mosaics. Her upper lip is way swollen, bruised, and scraped. Eating is not easy. She is not excited about her state of being.

Last night at church, three friends and I spoke of our journeys into the sacrament of matrimony. I spoke of how marriage for me was saying my life is not center. I became part of something which made "me" no longer the center of my life.

So today, I cancelled my OT and got her a milkshake from Merrymead Dairy.

I canceled my plans of having dinner made for me, and went out to buy her some requested food.

I canceled my plans for a visit to the gym and walked down town to get some videos from the library and another asked for item from a drug store.

What I don't want to cancel is a really big date this weekend to celebrate 22 years of relating to each other. I am joyful that she is up for the date...

"We" are worth celebrating. Oh, sing it Louis... the song that lifted my spirits on the way to work, on the way home, and again right now... it truly is a Wonderful World.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

eleven is not a lonely number

I just tried to convince Mosaic Woman that the the eye doctor told me that the best way to get used to bifocals is to drink a beer and run up and down the steps. She had some words for me.

I need to keep this light mood. Tomorrow 11 students arrive in my classroom to be introduced to horticulture. That may not sound like a lot, but believe me... It is.

If I can win their hearts and souls to the joy of gardening I will have the extra help I need to make the garden happen. I know I don't have absolute control over this situation, but I do have some. These 11 young men and women are in my charge. I have some fear and trepidations. I need to relax and see the possibilities. I need the wisdom of all the mistakes I have made in the past. And from all the successes.

Then I say... Have a nice weekend... and Mosaic Woman and I head to Kutztown to set up our booth. and yet again, I will need to see the possibilities


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

heating pad blessings

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with life, so as I warm up... let me count my blessings.

all the friends who look down at the crocus and the Siberian irises at my school and say.... Your flowers are beautiful.

Mosaic Woman saying ... Thanks. for She is truly grateful that I do these craft shows with her.

Friend #1 who says, "come over for dinner." and even though you could be doing a billion other things you go and enjoy the sauce even if you mock it for the lack of dried chilies.

Friend #2 who shows up at my classroom door with a tupperware of amazing food, and then says... it is for your lovely wife even though it is also for you.

Friends number 3-5... who made me laugh last night but are not moving to NC.

Friends 6-7... who last night also made me laugh and said relax, we are coming back for that fig tree.

The students, who chose bread over seedlings so that friend #8 could take bread home to her husband last night.

Friend number 9 who at a staff meeting, upon hearing our new boss went home sick and knew I was to have been observed that morning said " Yeah, Stratoz's teaching makes us all ill."

OK... time to stretch.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

3 chapters: Reading-Berks, Bucks, and Chester: local shows from the PA Guild of Craftsmen

After making it through a one day show in our home town, now we branch out into three counties that surround us all of which have chapters of the PA Guild of Craftsmen, which are having spring shows. Mosaic Woman first contacted a chapter in our county when she decided to join the Guild, but not much was happening, so she headed east to Bucks County. I am glad she did for we have met some great folk in the process.
This mirror got a lot of attention yesterday, but it ended up coming back home with us...
William Yoder, a wood turning pen maker from Souderton, PA was our neighbor across the way from us at the craft show. He is a regular at these North Penn Craft Shows and gave me some words of wisdom such as "zig this way, zag that way." It got me to the restroom. Problem was I did not zag then zig on the way back. He knows our friend Bud from the Buck's Chapter, who inspired this piece, which happened to catch Mr. Yoder's eye and I will take it to Kutztown next weekend....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

North Penn Craft Fair where the mania begins

OK the mania is already here. Knowing, for just a few weeks, that we would have four craft shows in seven weekends... has kept us busy.

the first is this Saturday: The North Penn Select Craft Show is at one of the largest high schools I have ever entered. It is where my school taxes flow and it is where we saw those high school big bands playing a few weeks back.

so what else in the next 7 weeks ...

My classroom has 5 billion seedlings making more noise than made by any nest full of robins crying out for food.

I am still expected to teach my science classes even though horticulture has hit its busiest season. and I will.

Two big jazz dates will happen.

One big Cezanne date at the Philly art museum.

2000 minutes of icing and heating my shoulder.

10 more after school OT appointments.

a home garden that says, "OK, the shoulder is good enough. See you on Sunday." and it is good enough, if not feeling perfect.

a week off teaching but those seedlings will keep crying out for my attention.

and then there is a this fig tree ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thinking of the Orange Man

On this day of green you could always count on my one friend to wear bright orange. The last time I saw him was at a funeral for a mutual friend a few months back. I greeted him warmly. He said, "I wish I could remember your name." Dementia has him and is winning the battle.

A few months back from that date Mosaic Woman said good bye on her cell phone and headed back into a conference center hotel lobby. She sat down and had a drink with a friend. Her friend asked where I worked and became all excited when she heard. She had been a student there and she spoke warmly of many staff but it was the Orange Man she gloated over the most. He had hooked her up to a center that does the exposure and response treatment for those with OCD, which I had blogged about here. Her life changed and the Orange Man was behind it.

I almost wore an orange shirt today in tribute. Maybe I will do it next year. This one is for you...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

words of wisdom

My relatively young blogger friend, Blackswamp Girl (how cool is that name), passed on these words of Albert Einstein to me in a recent comment...

Lately I have been thinking about these...

If I didn't have a hoot with my students I would surely be looking for a new job.

The other day a student made a mistake and called himself an incompetent fool. A few moments later he said he was filthy, so I said... "let me get this right, you are a filthy incompetent fool." As the class ended I had him saying...

Clearly he was more fluent than I.

speaking of having a hoot at work, here is a better link (in my attempt to bring jazz music to Blackswamp Girl and the rest of the masses). Jazz singer Kurt Elling sings with himself and himself and himself... click here if you are curious.

Clearly The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing (or letting those in your presence make your day wonderful). "Try to prove me wrong," says my buddy Albert Einstein.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

24 hours our style---- no explosions but really big botanical dates

Since we quit watching TV, word on the street tells me that there is a show called 24 hours. Seeing Mosaic Woman needed a break from craft show delirium, I dragged her on two big botanical dates.
Friday afternoon/night we took the train to Philly to see the big Flower Show (an eat Burmese food at Rangoon)...
see my post over at my other blog to see succulents that caught my eye
to see one souvenir see this post
Then Saturday we went out to see the orchid extravaganza...
happening at Longwood Gardens. Ten degrees on Wednesday morning, 70 degrees on Saturday had my nervous system in a twitter, so I grabbed onto this beech for stability and to stretch my shoulder....

the shoulder is happier and recognizing the fact that healing is no direct line, but like life is a roller coaster.

Friday, March 6, 2009

the shoulder contiinues to speak to me

  1. gone, but not forgotten, is the irrational, in no way based in reality, fears the shoulder spoke and the best I heard ... "I've got rare incurable shoulder cancer, way to go with ignoring pain for years Bud."
  2. on hearing the results... "sure the x-rays show nothing but I'm not going to stop hurting you quite yet Bud."
  3. after the first OT appointment... "Yeah, Mindful Guy. I really can't move much in that direction."
  4. after I did the exercises for 4 days... "I feel stronger. I feel more flexible, But don't even think about pushing me too hard. Feel the pain Bud."
  5. after talking to a friend who expressed concern... "Quit whining and think about how she has Lupus. Keep exercising me and pray for her health."
  6. it gives thanks... "blessed are jobs that allow you to have insurance and 60 days of OT, blessed are those who train to help others heal, blessed are you Bud for believing in the power of healing."

Before I saw the doctor I was on my back praying and I heard a voice, (mine, my shoulder's, My God's). Who knows which, but what it said to me was simple... "you can heal." I have carried those words with me ever since.
As for shoulder cancer, it may exist but I saw no need to fuel the fear by searching, but it has been my great excuse around the house. say something goofy to Mosaic Woman... "The shoulder cancer has spread to my brain."

Her response last night was priceless... "Quit being the Goof-ass who cried wolf."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

my hands

so much depends upon them and yet three of my favored activities are quite hard on them. Between gardening, stained glass, and cooking.... I am often self-wounded. Never on purpose. Maybe I need to be more mindful. Maybe I am glad for how mindful I am. I like my hands.

1... red onion about to be caramelized and become part of a tasty grilled cheese... my mom gave me the knife saying, "here, I always cut myself with this."

2... found in our hallway... why I should, and I mean "should" never walk in bare feet... but I do, but not often.

3... grinding potatoes at my sister's house for potato pancakes (she bought me the grinder for a Christmas present)

4... My mother-in-laws cat. what usually follows such action is I mindlessly rub my eyes and remember I am allergic.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lori d--- a return to flickr Sundays. fine art mosaics and so much more

Originally uploaded by lori.d
Been bantering with my Flickr friend "Lori d" ( Lori Desormeaux) today and realized it has been awhile since I highlighted a friend. And I do consider her a friend, so I am sorry I didn't know her when Mosaic Woman and I travelled up to Buffalo.

I know my Episcopalian friends will dig this mosaic backsplash.

Following along the life of someone at Flickr is not that different from reading a personal blog. I have watched many of her private commissions come into place. Click here to see her recent mosaic inspired by the vines that produce the wine.

Her love of old cool houses won even more points in being a favored flickr friend.

For those of you who want to know 16 random things about her... check out this great in action shot of a mosaicist...

and finally if you are in need of a wonderful mosaic and you live in the land of more snow than we ever get (and I know we may get a foot tonight)... And if you explore her website or her flickr site you will also see that she paints murals. My love of birds have me favoring this one.

Lori... thanks for all the fabulous reassurance about the longevity of geological wonders and the likely reemergence of spring. Now can you tell me the chances of my school closing tomorrow?