Saturday, July 31, 2010

What shaped you, here are two things that shaped me...

This week while doing my examen I have been thinking about 1 Corinthians 15: 10

It starts with...

"but what I am now, I am through the grace of God,..."

How I emerged to be Stratoz could be explained in many ways, but this simplifies it, well unless you decide to read 20 views of grace by various theologians. I emerged from some low points, and having done so was a gift. A gift to be given a life and the desire to unfold into it as it takes me to places I couldn't imagine.

However, something has to be said about the influence of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. While God may have been with me in the womb, this photo which was processed when I was 1 year 1 month old shows that the cake came soon after.

When Mosaic Woman asked me what I desired for my birthday...

And where do these two come together, well if you show up for coffee hour at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Lansdale, PA tomorrow, you will find out, possibly...

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Valley Preferred Cycling Center- Trexlertown, Pennsylvania - Fridays in PA

I used to be quite a bicycling enthusiast. In my younger days I had a great neighborhood to ride around in... .15 miles down, .15 miles up, .10 flat. Most was shaded by huge oak trees and almost no cars because it was a road with no outlet.

When I ventured out into the land of cars it was a much longer hill which I would race down at 50mph or so and then crawl back up after a few or many miles of riding about the Lehigh Valley.

Bicycling was big there and so drivers were accustomed to seeing us about. The Valley Preferred Cycling Center (back in the day it was simply... The Velodrome) made cycling big and it also was a place to see the top US track racers on Friday nights. I was much more of a tour about the countryside at a slow pace kind of dude, but I enjoyed those Friday nights of racing.

I have not been there in years, so I was glad to see it still existed and thriving with a variety of events. Mosaic Woman, who remembers the vegetarian food from the one time I took her many moons ago, is glad to see the menu is bigger and still friendly to her diet. Maybe one Friday I will be telling you about being there. Mosaic Woman seems up for the date.

My bike is a dusty and spider web covered mess in my garage. I don't feel safe on these crowded roads (my excuse and I'm sticking with it). My dad took this photo...

It was 1986 and I had recently graduated from East Stroudsburg University. My immediate goal in life was to head north to see the Catskill Mountains on my bike. Folk in campgrounds would see my vehicle of choice and my 135 pound body and feed me well. So as my friends were preparing for grad school I was rambling on my bike. No set route. I would start each day with no goal but a direction. I would stop when a campground emerged. Hmmm, sounds a bit like how I still live parts of my life.

Anyway, check out The Velodrome. The Lehigh Valley is blessed to have such a place.

as for last week's post... there were no pancakes, but the shade saved me, while Mosaic Woman was whisked away by her sister to cool off inside for awhile.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

a mandala and a pendant go to Etsy .... Crafting On Thursdays

Mosaic Woman and I have decided to make a commitment to posting at Etsy. She is going to post at least twice a week, and I will complete a post at least once a week.

Yes, we would rather be playing with broken glass, than taking photos of finished projects and then taking the effort to go through the steps at Etsy. But we want folk to find new items when they take the time to check us out, so here we go.

Last week I posted my nuthatch and today I posted my latest Dr. Ed mandala...

which features my favorite color combo- green violet- which I fell in love with at quilt shows. See the whole mandala at the shop.

Mosaic Woman has decided to do a series of pendants based on the gems associated with months. Here is one for those wonderful folk like both of us, who were born in the hot and humid month of July...

Check out this ruby red pendant at the shop.

check out all our mandalas, mosaics and stained glass

check out all the wearable mosaics

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christian Scott fuses the past and present with Yesterday, You Said Tomorrow--- Jazz on Tuesdays

If we had not been on vacation, then Margaret would have just gotten the news that her job was no longer, so instead we were in DC going through jazz CD's and calling it souvenirs.

"Christian Scott, I know that name from Twitter." I added it to our pile.

Now I am listening to Yesterday, You Said Tomorrow (for the 5th time) which was recorded by one talented trumpet player.


I am once again teaching English for the summer session and there I go with Latin roots again. The other week we discussed what has emerged from the Latin word to pour/blend... refuse, defuse, confuse, circumfuse.... and of course fusion... which led to my students hearing my memories of the fusion of rock and jazz that took place back in the day.


One of my many friends named Dave asks me, what jazz CD's would you recommend...?

I walked over to the pile I had at work and handed him three, one was Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet , which was engineered by Rudy Van Gelder in 1956.


Christian Scott was born in 1983 when I was in college. For Yesterday, You Said Tomorrow, he wanted to capture the sound from those classic Davis recordings, so he brought in Gelder to engineer the project. Listen to hear the fusion of a modern jazz composer with the sound from the past.

where does the title come from... it is a great story check it out at his bio at his website

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chronology of Science by Lisa Rezende - Science Mondays

Sometimes things fall into your life when you aren't even looking for them, but there I was passing under...

to get to the Science and Religion section of a great bookstore in Harrisburg, PA- The Midtown Scholar Bookstore. Just weeks before our trip to the jazz festival trip I had suggested a history of science class for this summer. Chronology of Science by Lisa Rezende has been a time saving life saver of a random find while browsing shelves. Have you ever had such a find?

We have been concentrating on the most recent 50 years to show the students what has happened since The Pathway School opened its doors, but today I had the students throw out random page numbers so we ended up visiting several centuries before the period was over.

What this book has shown me is my general ignorance when it comes to chronology. I keep telling myself that surely that was invented/discovered/performed/ well after that date.

Anyone with an interest in how science has unfolded would truly dig this book.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Going Deeper... inviting friends to dinner

Us introverts often sit silently at meetings and plan out what we want to say in our head, while the extroverts think out loud and then turn to us and say, "you have been quiet."

I have been thinking about a good friend all day and how as the rest of us have moaned about the heat and humidity, she has been living in unexpected silence. And as she follows doctor's orders and the sound of this universe does not enter inter her being, ... well try to imagine it and you will get some sense of how it feels.

I am haunted by the thought of missing music, Mosaic Woman's voice, the calls of birds, and my friends who desire to say kind things to me. I want to bring my friend joy. I did what I could when I sat next to her after church this morning, all the while feeling helpless.

A few weeks back we were going to meet up for Greek food, but the place was closed so we walked a few hundred extra steps for Thai. This morning before church I thought about my blog from last night and thought it would be cool to have this family over for Greek food.

But being with friends is painful for her and all I can think of is a goof-ass solution or two. We can eat as I do at Wernersville... silently. Or I can turn the jazz up so loud that none of us can hear each other.

For now I will go sit and pray and imagine an undesired silence and throw some of this out into the world...

Going deeper from this post

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I don't think I got it, or I got what I needed--- Chair of Contemplation Saturdays

Our downstairs seems to have become a craft show storage area just as our upstairs has become a craft studio, as I told a customer today, "Mosaic Woman and I live in a one bedroom, two studio house." The dining room table has become our financial center for home and business.

At some point in time my chair of contemplation became part of that storage area, but I finally reclaimed it. But as we moved from outside shows to an inside show and back to outside show, it seems my chair has become a dumping ground again...

When it had been reclaimed, I flipped open the Bible and it shuffled to Luke 14:12 where Jesus is telling folk to invite the poor and strangers to banquets. I wonder how many folk meet this request. I fail miserably. I don't know if the bag I carry to church filled with groceries counts. It seems to count toward other verses. But this is not about counting and I lack certainty that anyone is counting.

Jesus says to avoid inviting friends over, just so you get invited back. But that is what stuck. We love to invite friends over and we have stopped doing it. Breaking bread with people you love (going by Buechner's definition, which I also read recently while in the chair). And now that we have turned to a life centered on frugality, I surely wouldn't mind eating out at a friend's house or feeding a friend in our house. Maybe at this time, what we need are times with those we love while still feeding the stranger from a distance, while being open to all who enter our unfolding lives.

as Buechner wrote... "Christ's love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy."

Shall we break bread?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Fridays in PA--- Shade, Bison, Crafts, Pancakes, and Lions

OK, so my job is to get you out of the air conditioner and to the town of Neffs, PA.
Come early I say. My parents have been involved in the Lions Club for years and years and I can tell you that they make a good pancake breakfast those Lions. The pancake breakfast starts at 8am.
In fact it was my dad that got us the info about this show, and I have no problem with supporting the Lions. I fully respect their mission to help those with vision problems-- from collecting used glasses to training seeing eye dogs to starting vision clinics-- which originated when Helen Keller spoke at the Lions Club International Convention at Cedar Point, OH, in 1925. It ended with these words...

You have heard how I was taught—how a little word from the fingers of another, a ray of light from another soul touched the darkness of my mind, and I found myself, found the world, and found God! It is because my teacher cared about me and broke through the dark, silent imprisonment which held me that I am able to work for myself and for others. If you care, if we can make the people of this great country care, the blind will triumph over blindness.
This is the opportunity I offer you, Lions—to foster and sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind. Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness, no little deaf blind child untaught, no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you, Lions—you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind—will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in my crusade against darkness?

Word on the street is that most booths are in the shade and with heat indexes to be closing in on 105-110 tomorrow, what more can you want when you cruise through the show after eating pancakes.
I am talking about the 15th annual Crafts in the Grove located at Union United Church 5500 Rt 873, Neffs, PA. Saturday July 24th. For those of you who are late risers and heat lovers the show goes till 3pm. Bring water, we just may give you a discount.
and what about bison. Well for that you need to go to the Trexler Nature Preserve, which happens to be close by to the show.
What will you see inside our booth.... check this out

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I finally take on a repair job-- Crafting on Thursdays

I often get asked if I do repairs. I always decline. One, I have no experience. Two, I don't have the collection of glass needed to match the broken glass. and there was this moment...

I once made a friend a panel that spelled out Eagles, glued it into a frame, didn't wait for it to dry, held it up to the light, and watched as the several pieces of glass smashed on a radiator. I researched how to fix it, tried to fix it, got frustrated, and it sits somewhere in my studio.

A friend handed me the above photographed item. The corner piece got broken and so it makes it easier. It was green glass, and I knew I have lots of green glass. And it has special meaning to my friend; so it made it into my studio. Then I went to DC for vacation, came back and got deterred into my bird designs, but now I am ready to fix it. Hopefully tonight.

We will see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays... 3 great jazz tweets to follow

I entered the land of Twitter to promote our business, which I have, but I have also found my way into a land of jazz lovers and players. Here are some great folk who make me smile on twitter.

When I met the woman behind Elements of Jazz, she didn't have a blog, but now she does and if you want to get an education, check it out. Although it may seem to her that I have seen every jazz performer, I have not come close. But with her help I will know many more to check out in concert or on-line. Tweet with her

Curt's Jazz Cafe. The man's blog told me all about all the CD's I had not bought in 2009 and so I knew all about Sharel Cassity when I was at the Central PA friends of Jazz fest in June. What I dig most about Curt is the music he plays through my computer at his live365 location. Now he is introducing me to George Garzone and it sounds good. Tweet with him

and lets end with a jazz vocalist, who I hope to see one day, Elli Fordyce . The first purchase of a CD of a twitter discovered artist was her "Songs Spun From Gold." When it floats up on my iPod as I commute home, it makes for a joyous trip home. Tweet with her

Monday, July 19, 2010

Science Mondays... Fuzzy Logic and Craft Shows

Three days a week, students enter my classroom after lunch, at which point I tell them some things about the history of science and then give them time to read silently.

Last Thursday they requested a game of hangman, and I nearly won by using Fuzzy Logic.

In 1965 Lotfi A. Zadeh played with numbers and much has happened since with what mathematicians call fuzzy logic. The short paragraph of the book I am reading said that before his work computers could only do yes or no. And as we know life just isn't that simple.

Mosaic Woman and I will consider doing a craft show. I swear we make it as simple as, is the weekend free? Yes, we do it.

It was nearing 5pm on Sunday and it was time to pack up. It is a mindful time and I enjoy how we don't rush. Plenty of time to stop by the flag poll to joke with new friends, who are staying out of the way of another new friend who is also packing.

But on this night parameters started setting in...

hmmm we will be done packing around 6:30, over two hour drive home, no dinner yet. We don't even consider what I knew, there would be a ton of cars headed home after a weekend in the Poconos and what we didn't know... there was a bad accident farther south. And now I start thinking about an 8 am staff meeting and unpacking a car late at night.

maybe it is best if we just look at the calender and say, "Yes, we can do that show."

interested on the man and his math...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Got to love.... Live animals galore at the Audubon arts and craft show

So where else do show workers walk past your booth carrying an owl, a kestrel, a baby possum, a snake, and a skunk?

The dude in the cafeteria had a rattler, turtles, an armadillo, and many more critters.

So what does tomorrow bring here in Hawley, PA? Come check it out and stop by booth L where this etsy shop is living in the real world this weekend.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fridays in PA

In 1987 Mosaic Woman and I left Pennsylvania for Massachusetts where she would end her undergraduate degree at Hampshire College. Three years later we drove to Oregon where we would both get degrees at the U of O. Three years later we drove to Illinois where she earned her second masters at the U of I while I discovered prairie reclamation projects.

Two years later I stated my desire to return to Pennsylvania and after two years in Dunmore, a loss of employment landed us in Lansdale where we settled down. Finally.

I am blessed to have experienced three places outside of PA. Many of my friends at work have never lived outside of PA. Many may never even see the Oregon coast or walk across an ancient lava flow in the Cascades.

But I am in love with PA and on Fridays I will celebrate where I live.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crafting on Thursdays- 2 passions finally meet for the Audubon Art and Craft Show

... well, unless you count the penguin.

Mosaic Woman and I were put on the waiting list for a summer show, and then with three weeks notice we found out we were accepted. The Audubon Art and Craft Show happens this weekend in Hawley, PA and thanks to it I finally got around to designing some bird sun catchers.

The Abstract Torso (do birds have torsos)

What is happening here is a male red-winged blackbird has both wings arched over its back. The left is seen in full, the right goes high enough to flash colors at a local female. Around here, they are a much better sign of spring than robins which can be seen off and on through out a winter. The blue... well, not all things are what they seem even on a black bird.

The plain and fancy PA Dutchie style...

Flipping through my bird book I was caught by the coloration patterns of the Rose-Breasted Grossbeak. A bird which I see most years that I bother to look for birds, but not close to every day. So unlike the Red-Winged blackbirds that I can see while commuting every day of spring and summer. They are more of a special event.

the realism design...

White-Breasted nuthatches crawl head first down trees and pry into the bark for meals. They like myself are year round residents of Pennsylvania and any trip to Peace Valley Park is likely to give the pleasure of one showing itself to me.

So stop by our booth to see the birds and stop back next Thursday to see if any crafting has been done. I hope so.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays... let us start with falling in love

so I am no expert on Jazz or anything else in the world. My memory is too poor and my interests too varied to ever become an expert. But I love jazz, so lets start.

My friend in Cleveland once said that she would appreciate if I wrote on the topic: where to start an adventure in jazz. When I got to Cleveland last month, I handed her two CD's filled with ...


To be invited to a gig as a jazz musician you better have a musical memory of billions and billions of standards and be willing to play with them.

Yes, play. Have fun. Use your imagination and your talents to create something new from a melody that has been around since, lets say 1933 when Harold Arlen went to Hollywood to compose tunes for Let's Fall In Love.

I was drawing a card for Mosaic Woman while retreating at Wernersville when a tune arose through my ear phones, I hit repeat and it played until the piece of art was finished... a wonderful version by Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington on this CD and the first gift CD began there. Then there was a night at the Deerhead Inn when Virginia Mayhew played the same tune with a bit of a Latin swing. At a break I asked her if she had recorded it that way and we drove home with the CD. The second gift CD ended there.

Since I can't find either version on video, let me end with other jazz musicians having fun with Arlen's classic tune..

"wait up," you say... "No I want it fast and forget those vocals please...

NO, you scream... "I want slow and keep the vocals." I can do that for you, tis jazz after all and like I said. They love to play with wonderful tunes and make them their own.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stratoz, organized?

There are times I wish this blog was all about jazz (or something else) and I consider starting a new blog all about jazz. These waves come from time to time, but the fact that I generally don't want to divide myself up into separate blogs wins out.

But I would also think it would be cool if those who like jazz knew they could show up and find jazz and not some rambling about a very cool experience at a Farmer's Market or Mosaic Woman losing her job, or the spirituality of Bonaventure ...

So each day will feature a different aspect of this dude's unfolding life.

I am not the most structured man in the world and I often wonder how my students survive their time in my classroom. Maybe my nonsense distracts them from their need for structure. But I do want to get organized here, so we will see. So you ask, what will Tuesdays bring...


... and a post that has been in my head since I thought about a gift, which I gave to my good friend in Cleveland, which I do believe has her swinging from time to time.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

peer pressure, got me ....

... doing things I love.

Since Mosaic Woman and I announced that she had lost her job, friends have been filling us with kindness through words and actions. We are often amazed at the number of good folk that have entered our lives since the move after my last job let me go. So let me say that this weekend, I am lucky enough to leave the house to do things I love because of invitations... that is the kind of peer pressure this dude needs (even if two came from guys named Dave)

The first is over... A man, who led me through the spiritual exercises of Ignatius, suggested breakfast. I suggested the West Main Diner. We both made brilliant suggestions.

Tomorrow afternoon we will walk half a block north and one block west to watch the final world cup game. I am loving those orange uniforms of the men from Netherlands, but no matter I truly dig that one country will experience a first ever win, that I will be watching a friend devour my refried beans while it happens, and that Mosaic Woman will be loving a promised grapefruit soda.

after the game we will drive to Bridgeport, PA to take on authentic Italian food at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church . My friend simply calls it "THE FEAST," with such exuberance in his tone, face, and spirit; that I just don't know how we could not go over and check it out. Like I said... peer pressure.

I hope friends have you out and about this weekend. It is a great way to feel blessed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cool things happen at the Lansdale farmers market

last week a dog entered our booth at the Lansdale farmers market. He was quite convinced that there was something way interesting under our tables. The owners said he was acting quite strange and they believed Mosaic Woman's account of the realm of much interest.

But then the dog saw my stained glass hanging over his head and all thoughts of down were forgotten. The owners decided it was a heart that most caught the dog's eye and maybe for the first time ever.... my stained glass became a doggy treat.

It looked something like this... (just in case your dog needs a treat)

now how cool is that!

we won't be there with our booth tomorrow, but we hope to run into these folks when we walk down...

We Are Nutmeg Designs... and we will be back at the market the first Saturday in August

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Return to Frugality

well kind of...

Mosaic Woman and I have almost always lived within our means, well there was the time 14 years ago. We had planned two big vacations and then I had been told that due to budget cuts I had taught my last day. Confident that I could find a teaching job, we went and charged as I vacated the job search to go away and have fun. Well the credit card bills came, but no job was had when the schools opened in September. Before October hit I had found a job, MW quit hers and we headed 2 hours south. Our lives would be transformed. Church, Gardening, Jazz, Home ownership, ... came into our lives.

On Tuesday, MW sadly learned what it is like to be told to pack up her office. She had survived several rounds of lay-offs, but apparently while we were vacationing in DC, her job had come to an end. There was no time to say good bye, but her supervisor was gentle and caring.

There was a time period when we envisioned early retirements if we could live extremely frugal, but soon we grew tired of that life and went back to saving money and having fun. Well we will continue to have fun, but the jazz concerts will decrease, the eating out will become more special, and the beer may not be from Belgium or Germany.

As my tag line says... life will unfold. We will continue our discussions to decide what is most important and try to live in the midst of this uncertainty with a new budget.

and get this... I am having a ton of fun teaching English and math this summer, and though you won't understand, one student will clearly remember that one can find a 4 under negative 5 pound weights.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Beer Tasting for good causes... Lansdale in my blog again

So lets keep plugging my town for now...

The Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival is happening next Saturday, June 10th.

All details here.

Organized to raise money for three places I have no problem supporting...

My blogger friend's quiet husband may be amused that his friend's favorite Cleveland beer is on the list.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

celebrating one year... The Lansdale Farmers Market turns one

Margaret and I packed our car and drove less than a mile this morning to sell our wares at the Lansdale Farmers Market. Have you been there?
It is all about getting to know a farmer or two or three...

eating local...

eating with the season...

But it is also about locally made wine, soap, coffee, baked goods, and cupcakes...


and of course locally made crafts... That would be us. We had a great day and look forward to being back with our craft on the first Saturday in August. What a wonderful feeling it was to be in our hometown today.