Wednesday, April 29, 2009

best on black... preparing for the Chester County Craft Guild Spring show

At Flickr, some photographers will place a note, best on black. Click on their link and there is their photo with a black background. Usually they are right.
Mosaic Woman drapes our craft booth tables with black fabric while I get our lights set up. Then I take over one back corner for my stained glass, and she takes the rest for her mosaics. But a couple shows back, I thought... "maybe I should put some glass on the black fabric and encourage folk who seem interested to hold it up to the light." It worked and I made some sales.
With our last spring show coming up this weekend (May 2-3) over in Chester County, I decided to utilize that black fabric.
This week, I made three star flowers. Opalescent glass which is hard to show off at shows, however, on black it may look best...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

some thoughts on Mosaic Woman

Yesterday, a loud and apparently scary moan brought Mosaic Woman to my rescue. Luckily it was a back muscle not a heart muscle that took me down to the porch floor, a bin of mosaics in front of me.

Friday night I remembered ten years ago. If I had blogged back then I would have proudly called her Poet Woman. On that night in April, the US Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, was saying wonderful things about her poems as she started her year as the Montgomery County Poet Laureate. In previous blogs I would have celebrated her NEA grant, PA arts grant, and many contest wins. I would have talked of the frustration of coming so close to having a book published.

She is so much happier these days filling bins with her wonderful craft made of glass bits than in the days she used bits of our language to create poems. I have sat watching people being awed by both. I wonder how such a creative woman came into my life.

But yesterday morning I needed someone to love me, not to awe the masses. As she was talking to the neighbor cat, I went in for the final box of mosaics. Twisting through the front door I felt the pain and set the box down. I stood and sent my breath into the pain and exhaled the pain away from the muscle. I have learned the hard way to fight these rare spasms by relaxing not entering a panic. I could hear her talking to the cat on the other side of a monster hedge when I foolishly decided to lean over to pick up the bin. The second shot of pain brought forth the groan and I dropped to my knees. And that is where she found me.

I once again breathed and eventually opted to go to the craft show. It appears to have been the right choice. The pain lessened to become the memory of an overwhelmed muscle. Moving about was what it needed more than bed rest.

Last night she was feeling bit like a fool. A mosaic was sold twice in the same day and she had to refund the money and apologize in e-mail to a woman in Massachusetts, who was too late when she bought it at our ETSY site. Mosaic Woman had thought about shutting down our on-line store down (as had I) before we left for the craft show. We talked about the need to take off the items that has sold. But when we got home a nap sounded better. While we napped the sale happened.

Last night we waited for the sun to go down to go outside and walk in the unusual April heat. We walked... a couple of folk filled with imperfections and love.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A random cassette takes me back...

My students hear a lot of jazz these days. I love the ones who protest because I know that I have them where I want them. Yes, it is not a democracy when it comes to the music, though at times I am willing to loosen up a bit. In fact it is looking at those who protest that inspires me to say, "Do you want to listen to some jazz? I can do that for you." Than as they mock my music I head to the stereo.
One student used to say, "Why can't you listen to rock music?"
I would say, "I am no longer an angry young man."

Saturday night I picked up Bruce Cockburn's World of Wonders cassette. It sounded awful like many of our cassettes, but those first moments of the first song took me back to 1986. I was an angry young man.
Am I still angered by what is called democracy. I think I am. But instead of working for political change I can be seen carrying bags of canned goods down the block to my church. I am glad there are folk out there working hard on issues I care about, but after a day of teaching, I don't need rallies or meetings. I need music, conversation, glass, exercise, prayer... I need to feed my spirit, so that when my music is mocked by an angry young man or woman, I don't respond like I sometimes did when I was an angry young man.
The lyrics...
Call it Democracy

padded with power here they come
international loan sharks backed by the guns
of market hungry military profiteers
whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
with the blood of the poor

who rob life of its quality
who render rage a necessity
by turning countries into labour camps
modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

sinister cynical instrument
who makes the gun into a sacrament --
the only response to the deification
of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
idolatry of ideology

north south east west
kill the best and buy the rest
it's just spend a buck to make a buck
you don't really give a flying f...
about the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
takes away everything it can get
always making certain that there's one thing left
keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

see the paid-off local bottom feeders
passing themselves off as leaders
kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
open for business like a cheap bordello

and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy

see the loaded eyes of the children too
trying to make the best of it the way kids do
one day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
to find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
they call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
takes away everything it can get
always making certain that there's one thing left
keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday group 1-- a question

Spent time with two groups of friends last night... thoughts on the first.
Three of five have shared their stories at my monthly spirit group, when I jump in... shoulder first. My prayer life has been minimal. Holy Week was spent not following Jesus but being frustrated over my lingering cold and my shoulder taking a turn in the wrong direction. I think of those words that came to me in prayer when I first started OT... "You can heal."
We fall back into silence.

I am asked, "What do you need from God?"
When my OT asked me what I wanted this week, I said... "I want the pain to be gone."
Last night blind gardeners come to mind as I sit thinking about what I had been asked. So I talk about blind gardeners and I decide I don't want to ask God to remove my pain. I want the wisdom to garden with the body I have at that moment.
I say jokingly that I need my knee to hurt to distract me from the shoulder. How do I release this pain.... not focusing on it would help. Twice a day I am heating, exercising, and icing it. Twice a week my evening schedule is changed by OT appointments. My mind is filled by wondering if I can do that task or avoid that one.
The other day another thought floated into my brain. Another old injury that lingered. A massage therapist that released the pain. I need the wisdom to heal not just the hope that I can.
The group is over and I rise from my chair. Both my knees, which having experienced the earth while I planted onions at work, pop and crackle loudly as my legs straighten.
I wake in the morning, my shoulder no worse no better for the digging in the dirt. Knees seem to function. Thighs are sore. I can live with this.

and that is my desire.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Log Cabins in the stained glass studio

I've been putting together a newsletter these days which focus on Log Cabin quilts. You can sign up for the newsletter here. Hopefully many of you saw our first one last month. Hope to have it sent out soon.
I planned to produce two pieces which were to be the same. But when I was trying to pin the pieces down to solder, some pins flew out and pieces scattered and one piece wasn't quite the same when I lifted it up from the floor. I gathered the pieces together and in an amazingly unmindful way put them back together leaving out the two largest pieces (it was fortunate to break an outside piece) The four on the out
side were heading in the right direction and the interiors should match up ... one should look like the other, but you can see for yourself... Anyway, I liked the result.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

after the big date

there is...
a lack of expectation. There are no tickets for future jazz shows in our house. Some may remember my amazement last August that we had eight pairs of tickets in our house. One got cancelled when Hank Jones dumped his US tour to go to Japan, but it got replaced. Keith Jarrett was added. Some others floated in here and there. Then I searched here and there to find a big date to celebrate 22 years of April full moons with Mosaic Woman (who continues to heal from her fall). We ended up in Philly watching a band Blue Note records has put together... The Blue Note Seven ... to celebrate 70 years of recording jazz.
a build up in frustration as my sinuses have decided all on their own that they will clear up ever so slowly and my shoulder pain ebbs and flows. A week off from teaching... is now gone and I wonder why I rested if I still feel this way, while wondering how I would feel if I hadn't rested....
probably like I did yesterday after drinking the "required" wine at the Seder meal that took place at our church Thursday night. But, after we left...
we decided we needed fresh air and as we walked past our house, there it was...
The Full Moon rising into the evening sky. 22 years...
I fully expect more years, more jazz, more pain, and more colds. I am uncertain as to what I will receive and what I won't...
so into the glass studio today (a second take on a favored piece) and into a sunrise worship tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Imagine never seeing your garden

Below is a post I just did for my horticulture blog, I felt it fit over here...

"I could tell my husband now about Goodman in the garden. I raised Goodman myself—solid black Lab—and, after a year gave him up, the way you do, for further training and a life with Alice Banks. Alice was a gardener. She and her husband relaxed on weekends tending beds of annuals and several kinds of tomatoes. When Alice and Goodman graduated from the program, Alice said I was welcome to stay in touch. It is always the Blind person's call."

from The Dog Of The Marriage, a short story by Amy Hempel

I had nearly finished the collected stories of Amy Hempel the last time I was on break from teaching. Maybe it was being on break which brought me back.
I stopped while reading and wondered... can you garden blind? Blind gardening, can you imagine? I try. I imagine the difficulties. The struggle. How much of gardening for me is a visual joy? With that gone...
I end up pondering the state of my spirit if I was to lose my vision. Would I become deflated and bitter? What would happen to those things for which I have a passion?
My students come to school as I would enter blind to a garden... every right to be bitter. Paper and pen... words and numbers... these things make school a hard place filled with failures. It is my job more than any other to show them the joy that can happen in a classroom. Sometimes I can do this, with their help.
If I become blind, I hope to remember to find those who bring joy into my life. So now I imagine entering my garden blind, but I am not lost and alone for I am guided by my friends, family, and one hip black Lab.

Monday, April 6, 2009

moved by the spirit?

Who knows, but there I was just a few minutes ago, back in my studio after two days of mostly napping and reading. After missing the Eucharist two straight Sundays, I made my way down for our Monday of Holy Week service. Simple. No music. Scripture, liturgy, prayer, then we passed the bread and wine... the body, the blood.
I stood asking to be renewed. to be cleansed.
I came home saying howdy to neighbors on front porches and made my way to the studio. cut out pattern pieces and cut and ground smooth 12 pieces of orange glass.
I want to write about the show we had in Kutztown. I want to write about our big date in Philly. and I may... but for now you can go over to Mosaic Woman's blog and see what she had to say about those two events. I am so glad she found an image of a print we saw called Strata.
But for now I just wanted to share the joy of moving out of sluggishness, which had a hold on me for good reasons.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rest, OK, I will

I am one to appreciate the sun rising with me these days, but when the world spun... I eventually decided to get more rest.

It was still a bit early when I rolled out of bed to take a walk down the hallway to the bathroom, so soon enough I was closing my eyes again. But that is when the world spun about. I sat up hoping things would settle but they wouldn't. I needed water but going down the steps seemed daunting, so Mosaic Woman came to my rescue.

24 hours walking about the big city was fun but exhausting, especially after the two weekends of craft shows and then this week trying to teach with a virus beating up my immune system. So when I drank more coffee than water, which is highly unusual, ... Dehydration is my diagnosis for what happened this morning.

My head is less foggy, but I am still exhausted. I skipped church and the day has passed by being a slug except for one journey out when I ran into the one person I needed to see at church. So now I have the recipe I need but I am also supposed to go out and identify a tree, which may or may not be a weeping dwarf fig tree (I know I keep mentioning fig trees with little explanation so only friends here in PA understand, sorry).

other possible diagnosis--- did I eat turkey somewhere some how?

or ... was the chocolate placed with our mail really poisonous as we joked last night? Since I have only touched the packages that one seems unlikely.

anyway, I am toast. So, yes, Lord, I will rest.