Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays... following the Moon

Opryland Hotel: Delta Moon Jazz Club Sign

Last night I blogged about what happened when my spiritual director directed me to a lunar happening. Well, what does one do after experiencing nature so fully. Well you listen to jazz of course and maybe drink a Belgium ale while your at it.

So I pulled out my iPod and searched "moon" and made a new set list that contained 49 songs covering over 30 tunes.

The retreat was centered around, Sophia, or Wisdom. It was a return to the director who had introduced me to Sophia soon after I started this blog. One thing I had carried with me from that time was that Sophia is given 21 attributes in The Book of Wisdom and I read somewhere that 21 was especially Holy as it emerged from three times seven. So in honor of Wisdom, the Moon, Jazz, and the number 21, I will post three moon jazz tunes for seven straight days. Here we go with the three that popped up the most on my iPod...

Moon Inspiration
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7

Monday, August 30, 2010

Science Mondays--- directed to watch the moon

Orange Moon....6/27/10

The other day I was directed to the moon rise. Something about Mars and the moon was happening. I was at the place to witness it--- on a hill top in semi-rural PA with a big sky containing no clouds above me. I left my room just after the sun had dipped below the horizon. And gradually day turned into night.

I tried to remember the last time I had been a witness to the transition. Birds turned into bats. Insects grew quiet while a new bunch came out to play. The big dipper stood huge above the retreat center. But no moon.

A flash of orange caught my eye behind some trees and soon I was standing next to another person who had been directed to watch the moon. And yes the moon put on a show, but the Mars thing was happening in the opposite direction. And though I remember being amazed at how bright Venus was in the midst on the setting sun, I knew not to look for the Mars-Spica-Venus show that I just read about at Sky and Telescope. I would say I did catch Jupiter because he was by the moon.

But we were watching a moon that was molten orange. By the time it had cleared the trees, it was that lovely creamy orange I had seen before. The photo above was taken by a Flickr friend of mine back in June. Have you seen a blazing orange moon?

Now I am thinking I want to assign my students to watch the day turn into night, but doubt if many live outside of urban settings. But I am thinking all the same and hope that one way they will witness it happening. and I am being grateful for what particles in our atmosphere (why it is orange?) can do to make for encore to a long quiet evening watching things unfold.

Moon Jazz 1
Moon Jazz 2
Moon Jazz 3
Moon Jazz 4
Moon Jazz 5
Moon Jazz 6
Moon Jazz 7

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

music unfolds with me and neither of us are linear

I know folk my age, who listen to the music we dug in high school, which I guess was modern then, but classic now. And there are still days after work that I desire a good tune from the 70's. When I was in college I came across what was considered alternative and then while in Illinois a rather hip radio station made for a return to me listening to modern rock... can you say grunge?

Lately I stumbled across a modern rock station (104.5 wrff) and while I am so out of the loop I have never heard of many of the bands they play, some bands from my modern rock days of college and of Illinois are still around or considered hip enough to be played.

During the morning commutes this week I discovered they play love to play cover tunes, which clearly shows jazz musicians are not the only ones who make a tune their own.

one from back in the day... and yes, I have some music by the Fine Young Cannibals on cassettes, which I have packed away. Here they do a song from farther back in time when Elvis was King, OK, he still may be king???

Actually in my mom's side of the family, Johnny Cash was king. I really dug Social Distortion's (now there is a name I would have way dug back in the day) take on Ring of Fire... and I got a feeling Johnny would have too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Man of Hope

I try to see myself as a man of hope, but somethings surely test your reserve.

Loving the word, I did a collaboration with Mosaic Woman in which I designed and cut out the letters and she made a mosaic. Now we also made ones that said JOY and sold a few, we made a few that said GARDEN and sold one.

The three HOPE's did nothing. So we donated one to a good cause and I kept tweeting about the others. Nothing.

In July I sat in the 95 degree heat all day inside our booth and as I looked at one of the HOPE panels, all I felt was despair. Seeing imperfections that obviously were causing them not to sell.

This past week Rosie Whimsy , who makes wonderful skirts and such by hand, was so inspired by our pink HOPE mosaic that she made an Etsy treasury called 'The Color of Hope" It did not sell.

Hope was also fading in general because over at Etsy, our shop slowed down after MW was laid off, But sometimes you need a Friday the 13th to pick things up. We have sold 7 items in 9 days. and yes... a HOPE sold today, as did a JOY, as well as two pendants to a good friend.

not much HOPE left... only the one at the top of the post

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fridays in PA--- Pierogies and PA Preferred

Last week I was trying to get all of you to buy fresh veggies and support PASA . So what local veggies did you eat this past week? I won't try to get you to make pierogies from scratch, although there was a time...

You see, Mosaic Woman and I both grew up where there was a large popualtion of one ethnic group or another who love pierogies. In my house they were deep fried, while up in Edmonton MW ate them sauteed in lots of butter after they were boiled. That is how we do it these days...

47--- 14/365  celebrating I grew up in pierogie country first seen when speaking about grace

The good thing about being back in PA is that we don't have to make, well MW doesn't have to make us pierogies from scratch. These were made at the T&L Pierogie Shop in Hazleton, PA, but found in a local grocery.

We tried the cabbage for something bit different from the more typical potato style. The back of the bag introduced us to PA Preferred. It is a good thing for Pennsylvania to be promoting all that is grown and produced in this fine state. ...

Do you dig pierogies?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crafting on Thursdays- doodling with glass

Mosaic Woman recently posted about our wedding day and handmade gifts. The question she posed was, "What is your favorite handmade gift?" Two of my favorites are a quilt given to me from my grandmother and a mosaic cross. If you twist the question to what is the favorite handmade gift you gave someone else... it may be what is hanging at the top of the stairs...

which simply says... "A Wedding Doodle" and was given to Mosaic Woman back in 1992 (colors in photo are awful)

So what I have desired from the beginning is to transform my doodles into stained glass, but I have struggled to do this. Then I had an idea and it stayed in my head for many months. But with some help from Mosaic Woman, I took this ...

and I cut out all those shapes, glued them to glass, cut and gound, cut and grouns and with a pile to work with, I started gluing down a mosaic, which is now waiting for grout. Here is how it started. That center piece was Mosaic Woman's idea...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jazz in the classroom... Moanin' with trinomials

It was the last week of summer school, a play, some absences, and a bit of this and that had my math class down to two students. I sat down between them and decided to teach them how to factor trinomials. They were getting it and were working independently when one let out a large moan.

"Why did you moan?"

"I didn't moan"

"When was the last time you lied to me?"

Then the jazz switch went off in my brain and I was talking jazz, and Art Blakey and jazz messengers, and Bennie Golson setting up an all Philly band and within 30 seconds, the room was jamming and factoring.

Wordless Wednesdays--- no excuse except being quarterless

47 18/365   no excuses
click photo to see more of my photos at flickr


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jazz On Tuesdays... Conversations trios and duets

My week of prepping continues and with no students, there is a bit more time to dine out for lunch. Two of the Daves (the third apparently is not waking up early enough to meet us for lunch) are prepping for 2010-11 along with me. The three of us have spent many a time together and the conversations flow out in continuous snarky comments as two of us respond to what the third one said.

I have been told that jazz musicians must be great at listening. One cannot just play like a master and have a memory of a billion standards, but when a cohort heads off into a newly inspired improvisation, the other players must go along for the ride.

I have been blessed to have seen many a concert in my life and I won't say one stands out above all the rest, but...

I once responded to a survey asking which of Keith Jarrett's bands was the best. So, I love piano trios, and I love standards, and that band was the concert I was just about to mention.

Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette had been conversing for 25 years when I saw them. At one point a tune ended and a member of the band exclaimed, "all these years and I have never heard you do that before!" Here is one from their early days together...

In my life of conversations, duets are highly favored. And tonight after work I had a great one. The last time I met with this friend was in 2009 and I told her I would tell her my story, so I told her and she listened, then she shared with me. As I drove home this blog post came to be.

Singers talk about pianists they adore. Here is a tune from one my favorite duet albums, Bill Evans accompanies Tony Bennett.

May you be blessed with an amazing conversation with a friend or two.

Science Mondays... spider watching

I am not saying that I did not gaze up at stars when I was a child or that a full moon does not catch my eye, however, space never fascinated me like what was at my finger tips.

Lately I have been remembering spider watching. In the darkness of night, grab a flashlight and start shining it here and there. If your brain works like mine, then you will be amazed.

I am several hours past the end of Monday as I write this "Science Monday" post. Invited to a peach pie bake off took precedent last night, but I was wondering what I would blog about as Mosaic Woman and I drove home. But there it was in the midst of an amazing web stretching from our fence into my neighbor's Dogwood tree...

47 17/365  spider watch

Yesterday I did lots of prepping (as predicted here) to teach about the universe this coming school year. And I wonder if I would have been more inclined to have a passion for the world beyond our atmosphere if images like these would have danced inside my (young) developing brain...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

prepping for teaching, silence, and pizza

I am not well known for my plans, though I have them, well kind of, well they are floating around in my brain and as they float by I tweak them till another thought distracts me. Slowly my plans come into shape.

But I have this week coming up, which when I signed my contract was going to be the 7th week of teaching, but then the powers that reign above me decided the students would only be there for six. I was given the option of being paid and showing up, or not being paid and staying away. I went for the money and with Mosaic Woman being laid off, that was a fine decision.

So I have five days in my classroom alone, except for the two Daves, who are in the same position. I am teaching a new science class again this year... Earth and Space Science, or what I will call The History of the Universe. And I have a week to prepare. I could get a lot done

On Friday I looked at my classroom and realized I had never been in one space for so long... closing in on ten years. And I thought I could spend some time making a collage, then I thought... tear down the whole thing, clear the walls, start new. I don't do that kind of thing.

looking in at night

But there is something else, it is coming on as soon as this week is over, something I do annually and just enter into, no preparing. But in church this morning I felt a need to prepare for silence. Not sure how.

For now I am getting ready for a friend's visit. Pizza time.

So what are you preparing for?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Do you say Grace?

47--- 14/365  celebrating I grew up in pierogie country

Grace in our house was never said until we starting having dinner with friends who said it silently, hands connecting us together. We liked it and have come to call it Quaker grace.

The pause before consuming is short, but Mosaic Woman and I do pause, reach out a hand to each other, then say what we need to say in silence. A squeeze of the hands marks the end.

There was no pause for saying grace when I was growing up. But that moment has become a ritual now. Just a moment to be grateful that people worked hard to grow our food and to have a hand to hold, and a God to thank.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fridays in PA: PASA: Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Small farms and the folk who try to raise our food here in PA have a great friend or should I say advocate in PASA. Since 1992 this organization has been giving them a voice in Harrisburg, promoting their products, giving them educational opportunities, and running a very cool convention at Penn State University. I am proud to say we have supported them for years and I have been to two conventions.

It is through them that I know there is even such a thing as a micro-dairy. Farmers have become empowered to celebrate what they do on whatever scale they do it.

I am also here to report that August is Pennsylvania Produce Month. So here is a photo taken in February of hydroponic lettuce grown by one of our favorite growers, who is selling this summer at the Lansdale Farmer's Market...

47--- 13/365   Jett's Hydroponic Lettuce ... Jett's Produce

So I am hoping you got a craving for fresh produce, whether you live in Pennsylvania or not, LOCAL HARVEST is the website which will find you a place close to home.

may you be blessed with a meal of fresh local veggies which are bursting with flavor.

and finally, those who know me know that thinking about a blog post can bring a tune into my head...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

choosing colors, trends now, trends then... Crafting on Thursday

a six pointed star flower in greens and violets is all about being inspired by seeing the combo at recent quilt shows a great place to go to see what is happening, though I guess I could sit and watch folk by too.

Bella Vicenza by Janet Egan

Friendship by Marly Domingues, Gislene Campos, and Estela Tanaka of Brazil

But my wordless Wednesday post of five of Mosaic Woman's pendants featured one that came from learning some history.

Green, White, Violet... Give Women the Vote... colors of the suffrage movement... a quick Google search found claims the colors stood for these three words and claims that it is a myth, but no matter, those three colors were the colors used to represent the movement in England and were used in jewelry at the time for that reason. And so this pendant came to be in 2010...

at Our SHOP

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Joni Mitchell's Standards... Jazz on Tuesday

When Mosaic Woman and I walk into the Doylestown library together, I head straight to the jazz CD's, books are second for me. One of the first CD's I took out of there was Wild For You by jazz singer Karrin Allyson, on which she covers two Joni Mitchell tunes. Since Joni may have been my earliest jazz memory/purchase, I was glad to see she was being covered on new jazz releases.

so here we go...

Fellow Canadian jazz pianist and vocalist, Diana Krall does this classic...

Dave Douglas comes through with this Joni tune...

That Mingus CD I mentioned last week, featured a pianist I had never heard of ... Herbie Hancock (at 70+ he is still a creative force). I thought I had blogged about his incredible tribute to Joni Mitchell, but I can't find it (anyone out there remember me doing such a thing???)

anyway, on that River CD, Tina Turner provides the guest vocals on one of my favorite tunes of those days in my parent's basement, back when I mellowed out to Joni ...

Do you have a favored Joni tune?
... leave a comment my friends

Monday, August 9, 2010

remembering the joy of discovery: science Mondays

and the answer to the question I asked of my students who opted for something different.... 0.31 ounces per cubic inch

I have talked about discussing the history of science with some of my students this summer. As I read through the major events of the 60's, 70's, and 80's; it took me back to my days of studying science in college 81-86 (yes, I ventured into a five year plan).

It wasn't a memory of where or exactly when I heard it, but more of the thrill of finding out how nature operated. It was an emergence.

This past year I came across the news that 6 atoms of a new element had been produced. I was reminded about how new elements are brought into being by scientists. So I ask you, what I asked my students, "Do you know how to create something new?"

I hope I am instilling a thrill of discovery to some of my students.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

a simple question

HOPE a panel-- stained glass framed with recycled wood

a long blog post flowed through my mind while at church, but a day and evening of writing progress reports on my students took priority (with some long breaks in my glass studio).

so let me ask, if ... "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."...

then what do you hope for?

and maybe in the future I will go deeper.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I don't dig absolutes... going deeper into 1 Corinthians 15:10

Enigma Of The Absolute

Last weekend I blogged about how a certain cake and the grace of God have influenced me, and in that post I placed the first words from this passage...

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (italics are mine)

Now when speaking of science and faith and jazz, I try not to say absolutes... never, all, none, always. There is likely to be an example waiting around the corner to prove me wrong. No mammals do this... God is always... There are no fish that... Count Basie never...

None have worked harder than me... now there are some words that I could never say. I also would have a hard time with the "has not been in vain." God's gift of grace is often in vain when it comes to my life of imperfection. 20 years of unbelief, my missing years, and those moments that still fill my days.

So I can only hope for absolutes... God is always forgiving of our lost moments. Who knows?

The above photo was found on flickr when I searched for "absolutes" and is aptly called... Enigma Of The Absolute

and what music flowed through me while writing this...

7 Count Basie videos provided by elements of jazz

Friday, August 6, 2010

top 10 favorite restaurants in Lansdale---- Fridays in Pennsylvania

statue in Nadia Thai window-- left side


OK, the list could be longer, but I kept it at the ten best places to eat in Lansdale (in my opinion)... and all of them are not only within walking distance, but also in the borough proper.

Chong's Dumpling House... Chinese food. Great variety of dumplings and soup. And the seasonal veggie of the day makes a healthy side dish. 13 West Main Street, Lansdale, PA‎ - (215) 855-4812

Giuliano's... No place to sit down, but this neighborhood deli is a huge favorite for subs and steak sandwiches. Word on the street is they now have a pizza oven. and you will be met with good folk with a fine sense of humor... three generations of it no less.
429 North Chestnut Street Lansdale, PA 19446-2625 (215) 368-0412

Little Something Nice [Sadly no longer there]... Used to be real close, but still easy to walk to. The owner is a great guy and will converse with you in Italian if you choose. Great place for coffee and a sandwich whether you are waiting for a train or not. 101 West Main Street Lansdale PA 19446 (215) 631-7997

Nadia Thai [Lost their lease]... Has changed hands a few times and we sure like the hands making the traditional Thai salad (Som Tam) these days. I love the curries, especially the green. 113 Walnut Street, Lansdale, PA 19446 (215) 855-3256

Not Just Sandwiches[Is no more]... Years ago I did a search for breakfast spots and we came across a place called Daddy Pops in Hatboro, PA. A bit of a drive for the pancakes, but so worth it. Well they opened this place in Lansdale and still spice them up with nutmeg. I dig a side of ham.

Oasis... Farthest away, but we love to walk there all the same... check out my post. 821 West Main Street, Lansdale, PA‎ - (215) 368-9230

Saigon on Main[Changed hands is now Asian Legend, with somewhat different menu]... Well I guess this is the farthest since we have to cross Main Street from where Oasis is to get there. Took forever to open. Pho is wonderful and the menu has many a vegetarian option compared to other local Vietnamese restaurants. 844 West Main Street, Lansdale, PA (215) 368-9888

Shell Fish Sue[really sad to see this go]... Most recent on the list and is building a reputation for its Lobster Mac and Cheese.  We went during the olympics so chose the fish and chips.

Virago[Another casualty of rising rent]... A healthy lunch or breakfast option needed. A cup of coffee? A gluten free cupcake? If you are in search of gluten free or vegan baked goods, go to a place that makes it so tasty you don't know the difference.

West Main Diner... Need a good family meal at a good price from good folk. This is it. 805 West Main Street, Lansdale, PA (215) 855-7801

OK Lansdalians... what did I miss?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the tale of a transaction which began and ended on twitter... Crafting On Thursdays

It started with a search of tweets about Hawley, PA. You see we were headed up that way for a craft show and I thought, why not?

and the top hit was from someone who was going to spend a weekend there and it was clear from his tone that he needed something to do, so I started a conversation by recommending the Audubon craft show. The next morning I read his grateful tweet. I shared our etsy sight and eventually told him where to find us.

I came back from a break and Mosaic Woman was talking to some folk, and it appeared one could be my guy from Twitter. It was. He was interested in my heart, but suggested another color.

Rainbow starflower suncatcherAfter the show I sent him a link to our hearts. But something else caught his eye, a seven pointed star in mystic purple. Well the design caught his eye. He asked if I could do it as a rainbow of colors. I knew I had done this in the past, so off I went to flickr and showed him this... and he dug it.

So off to the studio I went and made four new ones. Placed one on etsy and told the man it was there. A tweet told me I had a satisfied customer.

So now one has sold, this one is for sale at Etsy , and two will be taken this Saturday (8/7/10) to the Lansdale Farmer's Market (9am - 1pm).

Hope to see you there, bring your dog... they dig my glass.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday is 47-5

47-5 edible but potent
I started a 365 a Flickr, this is number 47-5 head there if you must know what this is and how it tastes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to my roots... Joni Mitchell met Mingus --- Jazz on Tuesdays

joni mitchell, "mingus"

Who knew what I was listening to? Not me. I had never heard anything quite like it. Turns out I was listening to jazz. The LP came out in 1979 and I owned it not too long after it emerged, so I guess I was in high school. Who knows?

I can't even tell you when I first started listening to Joni Mitchell, but by the time I was no longer buying LP's, there were few bands I had more albums by.

So why now does this LP come back to me? Why this birthday does her "Birthday rap" to Charles Mingus float into my head. Who knows. It would be the last project Mingus worked on and the first I would hear. Who knew that 31 years later I would be listening to Mingus in Paris as I cut glass in my studio on my birthday?

I tried to find that Birthday rap, but didn't come up with anything, but I did find the Theology of Mitchell and Mingus...

So a few years back when I checked Mingus's Ah Um out of a library and listened to it, no wonder this tune was so familiar. Joni Mitchell closes with it and it is her lyrics that have come to be associated with the 1959 tune and after so many years, I am glad to document here that young musicians of the San Francisco School Of The Arts still dig this tune and words...

and that art work on the LP cover, that was a painting by Joni Mitchell, whose art may have influenced me a bit. Who knows?

Monday, August 2, 2010

My students desired to do something completely different... Science Mondays

Asian eggplants are the ones in the front

One of the first rules for teaching is to understand that your students may just be even more groggy than you are on a Monday morning.

This summer I am teaching math for the first time in over a decade. Most of the students have had some algebra so we have been reviewing some skills to keep them in good working order when their regular teacher returns in the fall.

This morning I asked them if they wanted to do some algebra or to do something completely different. By the end of the class we were almost ready to figure out the density of an Asian eggplant.

I pulled eleven recently harvested eggplants out of the fridge and drew a chart using a garden marker... Length, circumference, and weight were measured.

We then manipulated c=2 pi r to determine the radius. Then we headed towards the formula of the volume of a cylinder, which led to a discussion between the difference between volume and density, which they understood as the time for lunch arrived.

Maybe next Sunday I will update this post with the results of the density calculations. Yesterday I updated about a friend, a fire victim, and a food issue.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3 updates and a jazz video

Last Sunday I asked for some healing energy to flow to a good friend... I am so glad to report that on a front porch and at church, I spoke and she heard me. Things are healing and she is grateful to all who wished her well.

I didn't get much sleep the night of this happened... of the five families displaced, only one has moved back. It has been four months of off and on work; to clean and repair. On Monday a crane showed up on my street as I was leaving for work. For five days I returned from work to see less and less of the end unit. On Friday it reminded me of one of those movie sets... only the front wall of the house remained. Saturday we walked home from the farmers market and there stood the man who had jumped out of the burning house. He was standing with an architect looking at blueprints. I told him that the next time he woke me up in the middle of the night that it better be for a party. He smiled.

I have not eaten chicken since this happened.

and now for some jazz to end your weekend... I have never been to Paris, but Dexter Gordan was there back in the year I was born... Here is some Gershwin for you good folk.