Friday, July 31, 2009

my desire ... inside the cookie

I walked into the cafeteria a few moments ago and was handed my fortune, but looks a lot like my great desire to be mindful...

"You have a natural awareness of currents flowing underneath the surface of events."

not the typical fortune I usually find.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

bouncing back and fasting

My body was sliding away from feeling well, but today it bounced back nicely after a slow foggy start. Gave me a boost of confidence I can get the upper hand on the Lyme disease.
I have avoided "prolonged" periods in the sun, but fasting is strange.
The no food before and after the meds adds up to 3 hours, times two and that puts me at 6 hours a day I am not to be eating. Having a fast metabolism I have always been one to snack much before and after meals so I am finding it hard to not grab the corn chips in my classroom or the jar of nuts at home. Far from a true hardship, but it is requiring a new thinking.
Another strange thing has been the interactions with the students. I gave them a public information talk, which made some checking their skin before they even went outside, and one young man had a really hard time of it today which came out as anger and defiance in my presence. But now I know why he was upset so we can chat.
I am hoping my energy level stays high and if that is the case, a benefit of this will be two weeks of low energy out put at the school (avoiding the sun), which will leave me energy in the shade of evening to garden at home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

searching for shade

The craft show went by as the rash grew. Friday night it appeared something had bit me, maybe even a mosquito. Saturday morning there was some concern. By Sunday I had diagnosed myself with Lyme disease.
In unexpected turn in my life, I did not hesitate before calling the doctor on Monday, and missed out on a school swim trip to be diagnosed... "I would tell my friends to take antibiotic."
So the plan was... OK, I'll go to the doctor so I can prevent feeling truly awful and not get any of the truly scary complications. Take the pills and move on with my life."

"You will need to avoid the sun except for early morning and evening."
My horticulture classes go from 10:30 till 1:50 or 2:50 this summer. I am one for covering up my skin with either clothing or sun screen and wear one amazing floppy hat, but people seemed to think I should take care of myself."
So, I did. My trips to the garden were brief and only to announce what needed to be done. I felt a bit "off" today but who knows why... Lyme disease, 90 degrees and humid, anitibiotics, recovering from the craft show tiredness. Or maybe it was a bit too much pondering if I was "off" or not. Any which way the students have been given their charge.... check for ticks, inform folk about rashes, and pick up the pace in the garden. By 1:00, the heat had me asking little of them from that end.
the good news is we had a first harvest of Swiss Chard and green beans this week.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

more than a mule at the Chase Center

Recently I posted a short note at facebook claiming to be a mule at the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Show happening in Delaware this weekend.
Truth be said, I am much more. Like, I am also the chauffeur.
My plan for the weekend was to make a low profile and get caught up on the journals sent out by the National Science Teachers Association. Maybe by going through the growing pile, which I have not examined, I could get some ideas for this coming school year.
Halfway to Delaware I remembered that I had wanted to bring them. Oh well.
So I did do some roaming about, but booth duty is tiring and we have always appreciated each other for being relief to each other. So off went Mosaic Woman.
So folk came into the booth and said, "You do good work."
and I said, "Yes I do, but I am the spouse of Mosaic Woman." Well, sometimes I said, "of the artist."
As the day ended, I had closed every sale that we had made. I got to admit I was a bit jealous of all the other folk selling their craft and we plan to see if we can do these big shows with both our craft in the future.
But, I have no problem talking up the mosaics and I am glad I was hoping for their sale and not concentrating on being bitter that my glass was at home. We are in this together and it is way cool when someone desires to own something produced in either of our second floor studios. We are Nutmeg Designs.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

thoughts on hope with pink ribbon--- stained glass

Could I ever hope for a friend to offer me a job that would save my soul?

Could I hope for her survival once, then again?
Could I hope that she would ask me to create the above?
Could I hope that I would see her expression as she held it in her hand?
Could I hope that I would walk with her to her car and then continue down to the garden where my soul and my students were waiting?

... hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mosaic Woman is preparing for Delaware

The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen are having their summer show out of state again this year. And again I will not be selling my glass, but Mosaic Woman (Margaret Almon) is doing it a bit differently. Last year she was part of a group booth, this year she is having her own space at the show, space #422 to be precise. I will be there without my glass doing some grunt work, but I am thinking of finding a nice place to sit with my new Physics book and getting some reading in for this fall, but I will take some turns in the booth so she can take breaks.

The show is just off of Route 95 in Wilmington, Delaware on the 25th and 26th of July. It is a top notch show and we will have to have some self-control not to be bringing home lots of other craft work. As always, it is way cool when friends and family stop by such an event. Have a great weekend and send positive energy towards Mosaic Woman.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

designs in my head

Whatever is going on inside my head that allows it to happen, I am feeling blessed these days. I have spoken recently of how designs pop into my brain. The thing that needs to be said is that my brain is often cloudy so it is more of an idea of a design. What ends up on paper is in no way exactly like what I see in my imagination.
What I like especially is when I am thinking of a friend and a design comes to mind; as happened with what is now being officially named, "Kathryn's Totally Organic Design." It also happened with Gannet Girl, but unlike Kathryn's design which is currently being made in 7 shades of amber glass, that design was retired.
Recently I wrote about a friend, who commissioned me for a piece that led to a design that spells out HOPE and has in this case, a pink ribbon (photos of it completed will be here after I deliver it, hopefully on Monday).
So what this is all about is that I am feeling a wave of gratitude right now. I hope my brain has many more waiting to emerge.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kathryn's stained glass and organic Chemistry

It goes like this...
You are a week away from going to Rochester to experience jazz, where a woman you have never met, but is your friend, is willing to house you. You are thinking of her and this kindness.
You remember those organic chemistry doodles you drew back in the day, 23 years ago. A design pops into you head. This woman who was a chemist and desires to teach chemistry. This is her design.
Sit in an Episcopal church listening to jazz and imagine a cross made out of carbon rings. You like that idea but your mind flows back to those old doodles.
Wake up on Sunday, after three nights of jazz, to a feast of fresh bagels with all the stuff that make them better. You continue to think about the design for this woman who has been so kind.
Draw the design with paper, pencil, and erasure. You erase and draw and erase and draw... then the design is there.
Make the design become glass and hang it in your window. You don't really want to take it out of your window, but you do. Place it into a box and hand it over to the USPS.
You notice your friend is gone from Facebook. She comes back and you ask her if she got the glass.
She says no. The USPS says they delivered it four days ago. You feel a wave of immense sadness. Feel the sadness. You try to keep some hope. Your friend says she will track it down. You remember all the scraps of glass you used up and know it would be difficult to duplicate. You don't want to duplicate it. You want it found.
It comes in the mail the next day. Your friend e-mails you.
You are happy and wish that you had either waited another day to ask about the glass or the post office had not said they delivered it if they only meant they had it stored in the post office or they had delivered it the day she got home with the rest of the held mail.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

playing the poet game

Mosaic Woman was off with her good friend playing the role of poet last night and I just kept cutting glass. I started the day by searching out the Peter Gabriel song we heard sung at the jazz festival, but ended by playing a CD that has gotten many plays recently, Greg Brown's The Poet Game.
So having finished off the pieces of the background, I was finishing up the day by grinding the pink pieces, leaving hope for another day...
and this song came out of the stereo, I wish I could find a good version of him singing, but on a day when poetry came back into Mosaic Woman's voice, maybe it is best that I leave you with just the words...
Driftless by Greg Brown:

Have I done enough, Father,
Can I rest now?
Have I learned enough, Mother,
Can we talk now?
Will you visit me
In my place of peace?
I'm going driftless.

Let's cry all our tears
Cry them all out now.
Let them flow down
And clean all the rivers.
And the evening sky
Is the reason why
I'm going driftless.

Have I worn enough clothes
To go naked?
Have I told enough lies
To see some truth?
Round hill - round thigh
Round breast - round sky
I'm going driftless

for many years I listened to this song before I found out that this man from Iowa, knew what I didn't... Driftless is an area with deep cut river valleys and many trees, an area so so different from the rest of the state.

and then I knew that not only have I been driftless, but I have been to Driftless.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poet Woman returns

When I met Mosaic Woman she was not one who made mosaics out of glass, but instead was a woman who wrote poetry. We moved 3000 miles or so to Oregon so that she could earn an MFA in creative writing. She continued writing for several years there after, but it was not something she nearly enjoyed as much as her time in the studio these days. She had to force herself to sit and write. Now she has to force herself to take breaks so that she does not end up with a repetitive stress injury from cutting glass.

But those poems were recognized by many who judge such things. Many were published in literary journals, she won contests, and even got herself a National Endowment for the Arts Grant at one point.

Winning the Montgomery County Poet Laureate award in 2000 led to her making a great friend. And those two events has led to her doing her first poetry reading in years tonight. Here are her thoughts on that and info on the event. I won't be there as it is going to be a night out with her good friend, but any local folk are surely invited to go check it out. Yes, we are letting you know kind of late.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

a hug to remember

I am not big on hugs. I have a personal space comfort zone of about 1000 feet, but some folks break through from time to time.

The other day I saw the director of admissions giving a tour, well I thought she was giving a tour, but then both women waved. Then they walked down the hill to the veggie garden.

The "stranger" turned out to be the wife of a dear friend who died this past year. The students and I had just spent the period taking on weeds and I was a bit grubby, but she insisted on giving me a hug.

I hope I remember this one.

Monday, July 6, 2009

some thoughts on meditation

an e-mail came today which left me baffled. What could I say about going to meditate with co-workers that may inspire others to come also?
I didn't even respond when they sent out the initial e-mail asking if anyone was interested. I had once struggled through a weekend of meditation and had come to the conclusion, it was not for me...
Soon the e-mail came out announcing the times they would meet and a few nights later I picked up Frederick Buechner's Wishful Thinking and opened it up...
In our minds we are continually chatting with ourselves, and the purpose of meditation is to stop it...

... The end of mediation is to become empty enough to be filled with the kind of stillness the Psalmist has in mind when he says, "Be still, and know that I am God."
OK, so maybe it was a random moment, but I used it as a motivation to show up one afternoon. Some days I attempted some mindful nodding off. Well, to put it more correctly, I did some unmindful nodding off. When my focus left my breathing or the short prayer I try to center myself upon and instead found itself catching onto an intrusive thought, I floated right into a good chattering mind. I must have become bored with my often heard self-thoughts and started nodding off.
There was a day when I felt awake throughout the meditation and thought, "so maybe I can do this without coffee..."
The last time I went, I left feeling awake and clear in thought. It may never happen again, but it is worth going to clear the chattering from my mind every once in a while. I have gotten to know two wonderful folk and who knows who else I may meet along the way.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

being supportive and not being a hypocrite in Lansdale, PA

A friend of mine was on my porch last night and for the second time in a short span of time has declared he was doing something to not be a hypocrite. I began wondering about this being a driving force in one's life.

The word comes from hypokrinesthai "play a part, pretend" When our actions don't meet up with the role we play in public, we become a hypocrite. In our imperfections we will never be free of this state of being.
There are those who will only complain about their circumstances and when a chance to be supportive of efforts being made to change things, will only find fault in what is being done. Or they will say they love jazz and fresh veggies, but not show up when it is happening in their backyard. My friend would have felt that stack of emotions that come when we do not live up to how we want to play our self-defined role in society.

I was filled with joy and hope when I was at each event and looked around and saw good showings of support.
So yes, last week my friend sat next to me as we listened to jazz in Lansdale's brand new center for the performing arts and this morning we both again walked down to support a positive change in our hometown. On this day which we celebrate national independence, some good folk have worked long hours making a farmers market take place in Lansdale. A place where we can break away from Pennsylvania's dependence on produce trucked in from California. And it was no shock to see my friend's spouse working the Be The Change booth having us send notes to soldiers in Iraq. And how cool was it to have to stand in lines to buy what the farmers brought. I hope Lansdale gave them a welcome that will bring them back. I carried home... wax beans, tomatoes, ears of corn, garlic, red potatoes, summer squash in yellow and green. let us celebrate...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

back to the studio

After four spring craft shows had passed, I left the studio and entered the garden. Then I left both to go on vacation.
But arriving home with three projects floating about my mind, it was time to go back...
1. Mosaic Woman and I often spoke of how it would be best to have a sign for our craft show booth. We spoke of banners and did some research. We spoke of making our own. We spoke of collaboration. I said, "I'll cut out the letters... you mosaic..."
I have done my part. She is preparing to do her.
2. Then there is my friends Kathryn and Rick up in Rochester, who spoiled us rotten and hosted us as we had fun listening to jazz. She said that she did not host us for the wine, pie, and mosaic we have already given her... and she said that I do not have to do this project I call number two. But a week before we left I was thinking of Kathryn and an idea floated into my brain. On vacation it went here to there and back to where it went when I sat down to design it. I just soldered it and hope to ship it out soon.
3. A friend at work has commissioned a project. She wants two things, the word HOPE and a pink ribbon. She is a walking breathing example of how the world has changed, twice over she has survived what in the past...
I am more than glad to have an opportunity to do these projects.
Peace, hope, joy, and love seem to be all it takes to get me back into my studio