Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I am thinking about attempting a 365...

Just back from Washington DC where I took a ton of photos and it got me thinking about what folk at Filckr call a 365... post one photo a day for 365 days. I am not going to worry about the photo being taken from that day at hand... I've got plenty to catch up on. Maybe one day a week will be from that day. I can make and break my own rules just fine.

Tradition has it that you start on New Years Day, but with my birthday looming in July, why not start then. DC photos could fill a huge chunk and I wouldn't have to do a massive Flickr download.

I rarely post more than one at a time anyway, but I did 16 from my Cleveland trip in one swoop.

Three places are highlighted...

A Chapel in Lake View Cemetery...

A botanical Garden...

and an architectural gem by Gehry...

see the rest here.


Friday, June 25, 2010

travelling for more than glass

No, I did not put nearly 1000 miles on the road so I could buy some Youghiogheny Glass.

In fact since the end of the school year I have put well over a thousand miles on the Fit.

1. Montclaire, NJ may have been a long drive for a jazz concert, but considering it was a chance to meet two Twitter friends and hear their music... There were moments that they reminded me of the night we saw Keith Jarrett. Check out Sunna Gunnlaugs.

2. Sunday night we drove to two closed Mexican restaurants then landed at a brew pub in Kutztown in order to see Mosaic Woman's mom and stepdad who were in town from Wisconsin.

3. Monday was a smooth drive to Cleveland where I went to meet and visit a blogger friend. And though many a cool site was seen there, it was finding out about a space elevator plan on Monday and then the conversation I had imagined months ago on Tuesday night that made the trip complete.

4. Wednesday I stopped by Pittsburgh to meet a flickr friend with a great sense of humor. She is also a big fan of stained glass so there I was drinking the iced coffee she had handed me as she was calling the Youghiogheny Glass Company. And so I went and though the trip was full of traffic, construction, blocked streets, closed shops, and no credit card machines... I came home with amazing glass.

5. Thursday I drove to have lunch with a Dave, because after all these new internet friends, I needed a good old fashioned friend in real life. But there was another new person to meet, so last night we drove an hour to meet the new dude in my sister-in-laws life and now I want to explore the world of South African jazz.

Last June we drove to Rochester and Buffalo to meet folk. So I see June being the time to meet new folk, who I have gotten to know amazingly well because of being social in the digital world.

attempts were made to see a few other folk, maybe another June, or another month. We will see.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

lets put this one to rest

nice if it would be that easy, but here are some final thoughts on a school year...

The good.... billions of moments of cool things happening between myself and those who lived the year; and I have to say that introducing the use of a wiki with my science classes was a great way to close out the year.

The Bad.... it ended and the vegetable garden in the saddest state it has ever been in; mainly due to groundhogs and deer and weather and... enough excuses. It is in bad shape and I don't have the time or energy to save it by myself. We will regroup with what we have in July when the students come back for summer school.

The ugly.... economic times.... it ended with all the residential staff having lost their jobs and students not old enough to graduate are moving to new programs. In 10 months I have seen over 50% of the staff become laid-off. Friends of 13 years and folk I barely knew. Two friends stopped by this week to say they were leaving by their own choice. And the survivors stand and wonder what exactly happened and try to have hope for their own jobs. Having been laid off once I know both the initial despair, but also the eventual joy of what emerged. So I have hope for all those who are no longer co-workers of mine.

The beautiful.... it ended with the flower garden having put on a most marvelous show. The warm and moist March and April got things going fast and furious. Week after week we weeded and marveled at the bounty of blooms. My wonderful assistant made flower arrangements that dazzled the recipients, so it was no wonder that on the last day of the year people turned to us.

Dressed in a suit and tie I waded into the flowers and sent them into my classroom where a wonderful bouquet was created that ended up replacing what had been on the graduation stage. It was full of lilies, bee balm, ornamental grasses, blanket flower, yarrow, Russian sage...



Thursday, June 17, 2010

creation... repulsive

To back up for a moment...

Bonaventure's second step in our journey to God was to judge those vestiges of nature, which we call animals.

When I posted on facebook that I had found a tick on me a few weeks back, a friend asked if ticks have any redeeming value.

When I see a tick on me, I am not joyous. When a bear stopped me one day while I was bicycling as a young man... I knew enough to avoid a close encounter.

I once read a book on places in the world where humans are not on the top of the food chain... places with tigers, brown bear, and a couple other critters. Not many such places left, which though I find sad, just doesn't shock me that humans have killed those that kill us.

So I feel we should be repulsed by the sight of certain animals, but are they are redeeming...

In the game of rock, paper, scissors; if you remove one item, you remove another because it will always lose. Nature is like that, remove one, and another will lose out.

It doesn't mean I will allow a tick to feed on me so that the bacteria that causes Lymes disease will not go extinct. But there was a day when ticks and tigers kept our population from growing exponentially and some may say that was a good thing. I just may agree with them, but be glad I can walk the streets without fear of being eaten.

Today two very young deer were dancing about in my vegetable garden at work. Were they cute, most definitely. However, so far this spring my lettuce, radishes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans... all have been devastated by ground hogs and deer. It has never been so bad and what worked in the past is failing to protect the crops now.

and so I am ready to say, "you win," and quit trying to win the battle. I guess it is better than being eaten by a grizzly. and I do dig onions, garlic and herbs which the varmints do not like. Who knows, maybe I can use all my left over vegetable seeds to feed those dancing deer?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friends of Jazz celebrate wonderful women: thoughts and photos

Mosaic Woman and I spent Friday and Saturday night in Harrisburg, PA digging the fact that women play jazz...

The Expected Joy: Helen Sung was beautiful in every which way and when she played three straight Monk tunes... I was blessed.

The Most Pleasant Surprise: After the Diva Jazz Orchestra finished a tune, it was announced that Sharel Cassity had just played a sax solo. In January I bought her 2009 CD. She was the only musician I made an effort to say, "you are wonderful."

The Exuberant: Anat Cohen did nothing but make the Hot club of Detroit even hotter. And then she was still exuberant when the festival was over and she rode the elevator with us to the same floor.

The New: I had never heard of Tia Fuller, but now I have and would gladly listen to her play again.

The One Who Sang Ella: I was so hopeful to hear the great America songbook to end the festival. And Patti Austin delivered.

and the Future... The young women in the youth orchestra:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thelonious Monk, Silence, Glass

"You know what's the loudest noise in the world, man? The loudest noise in the world is silence."

Thelonious Monk

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Play Yourself: Bonaventure meets Thelonious Monk

Between work and meeting up with folk at Holy Trinity in Lansdale last night, maybe it would have been better to do what I did when I got home from the church. I finished Robin D. G. Kelley's biography of Monk.

Saturday night I took a break from that book to read the next chapter in Bonaventure, and as often has been the case, I am initially at a loss at where Bonaventure is taking me and why I wanted to travel with him. But now I think I know.

Monday driving home from work... "don't worry about where it took Bonaventure, be concerned with where it will take you." The message to me was what Thelonious Monk told musicians who asked to see the music. "Play yourself"

God doesn't want us to make Bonaventure's journey, but just may want us to play ourselves to the melody that took Bonaventure to God. So I plan to sit and contemplate the words we have come to associate with God...

When Bonaventure played...

within all things, but not enclosed
outside all things, but not excluded
above all things, but not aloof
below all things, but not debased...

as was said to Moses:
I will show you all good.

and when Monk played a beautiful melody by himself...