Sunday, January 30, 2011

7 for the weekend--- snow

Holy Trinity Lansdale, PA: Snow on Slate Roof
1. Above: a photo taken yesterday showing snow doing funky things on the slate roof of my church: Holy Trinity in Lansdale .

2. Lesson Plan Nonsense: With another storm appearing to possibly cause delays and or cancellations of school this week, I really feel like scrapping the whole lesson plan thing. Anyone willing to discuss this with my supervisor?

3. The emotional unrest: I am generally OK with uncertainty, but along with medical test results, I do not do well with snow. The idea of driving out into what may be a nightmare or may be a smooth commute unsettles me. On Wednesday while stuck at a red light, I watched cars making right hand turns down a rather steep transition to the road where I sat. Then I hoped that the garbage truck also kept its traction as it came down in my direction.

4. Snow Days: I don't love them as much as many of my colleagues, because if it snows that much it means I will be:

sore the next day
annoyed by parking in my neighborhood for days if not weeks
and stir crazy from being snowed in

4 b) However:

I don't have to live out that anxiety of driving to work
I can have bonus time in the studio: come back on Tuesday and Thursday for details of what transpired this past Thursday.
Mosaic Woman and I can usually walk to an open restaurant (unless it is a truly amazing storm) and leave a big tip to a brave waitress, who made it to work on a day that I was given off)

5 Snowcatcher's snowcatchers

I had visited this blog a few times before I saw why it is called snowcatcher. Check out her snowcatchers then take a look at the blog as a whole to see some amazing nature and bicycling photography.

6. Snow Lightning: We had some Wednesday night, which is not a good sign if you desire just a dusting (think of a thunderstorm that only produces a drizzle). I had Thursday off from teaching. Have you experience it?

7. Snow Leopards:

an animal which will likely not be seen by many of us for two reasons: one needs to get above 10,000 feet and they are becoming very rare. Years ago I read a book about them by Peter Matthiessen that I may just want to revisit. What I remember from the book was the passion for nature expressed by the author and being shocked by a map that used swastikas to mark off where Buddhist temples were located. I had not known the long history of the symbol and to this day I wish we could steal it back from the hatred it has become associated with because of Nazi Germany.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fridays in PA--- Digging The Merrymead Farm

Not that far down the road from Lansdale is a local dairy. Merrymead Farm is a cool place.

It is a place to go to buy real ice cream (OK, I grew up not far from a now dead dairy store, which was run by relatives, who made the best black raspberry ice cream in the world, so I may be biased). However, enough folk who live around here agree with me that I can say this is the place to go. And yes, on a busy day a gaggle of young folk will be there to greet you and take good care of you.

But I also love Merrymead because they are small and the farmer speaks of his cows with great love. They proudly have chosen not to use rBST hormones.

There are plants for your veggie and flower gardens in the springtime, local veggies for your kitchen in the summer, pumpkins and a corn maize in the fall, and eggnog for the holidays. And ice cream all the time. The creative use of the land and store has kept this local treasure going.

How cool is it that for over 100 years the same family has kept this dairy alive and well.

I hope you can visit it one day. If your not from around here, may you be blessed with a family dairy farm that brightens your life wherever you call home.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Science Mondays--- Catastrophs vs Gradualists

I am sure it seemed like it had to be one way or the other way to those who argued the point. Isn't that true to too many arguments. Back in the day I stepped directly into the feud between the direct instructors and the whole linguists. I emerged alive and somewhere in the middle. But that is another story.

This story takes us back to the time when scientists were beginning to see evidence that not every geological change emerged suddenly in gut wrenching catastrophic events. Others clung to all things catastrophic, so an us versus them battle ensued.

While much is gradual: river valleys, continental drift, sedimentation.

It is hard to say that the following are not catastrophic: volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts.

I am glad I am living in the day when more and more scientists and theologians are saying both happen. The Golden Mean strikes again.

and thus this week we transfer our attention away from the 99.999999999999999% of the universe which we do not call Earth. Glad to be home from space.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crafting On Thursday--- using Youghiogheny Glass

Last week I blogged about my trip to the Youghiogheny glass factory in western Pennsylvania. At that time I showed what looked liked a sea of sea glass but which in reality was broken bits of glass thrown out into the elements (including shoes and tires) outside of the factory. At that time I promised to show how I have used some of that glass. The cool thing about the glass is the variation within one sheet. So when I decided to do a doodling with glass (no design, just cut pieces then make something up) with one type, I got this --->

Wayne Stratz doodles with glass

Much simpler were two patchwork designs that I made and sold (the one above has sold too!) using a variety of Youghiogheny glass --->

47  140/365  scrapwork quilt Youghiogheny style
Wayne Stratz a patchwork of youghiogheny glass

My two highly favored mandala designs both have a large place where I love to highlight a piece of fancy glass:

a close up of a Dr. Ed Mandala I just finished --->

47  170/365 focussing in on the blue
a Dr Ed mandala by Wayne Stratz, with blue youghiogheny glass

My Sophia Mandala ---->

47  103/365  the return of the Sophia mandala
A Sophia Spiral Mandala by Wayne Stratz

Yesterday my wordless Wednesday featured one sheet of Youghiogheny glass. Since I took that photo, I have cut out 8 pieces which are now sitting paptiently in a work in progress. So look at that sheet, then you can imagine a bit of what this will look like when it is finished and lifted into the light.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jazz on Tuesdays: Labor History composed by Jim Kuemmerle

Mosaic Woman and I had just completed our first of what would be four interstate moves in 1987. I had a teaching job at a residential school which required me to work every Monday evening and every fourth weekend. Which meant that once a month I would go to work on a Friday morning and leave the school Monday night. Can you imagine the teacher's squawks?

At some point in my three year tenure, which placed me high on the seniority list (and thus better assignments on those weekends), Mosaic Woman took a class on Labor History. I would hope that I learned something in high school about how unions struggled to make the lives of workers livable, but conversations with Mosaic Woman opened my eyes more fully to the need for those battles and the brave men and women who fought it, and yes it was a fight.

This past weekend, I suggested that once a month we give a little bit to a jazz artist trying to get a project off the ground. So we headed to Kickstarter and there we found a most interesting project. The Triangle Shirtwaist Jazz Project by Jim Kuemmerle.

Kickstarter makes you want to promote the project because if they don't make the goal by the deadline, they get nothing. That is why I blogged about the first project we sponsored and I am proud to say that thanks to us and many other jazz loving folk, Jason Parker made that goal and is making music with the joy of paying people fair wages in the process.

Mosaic Woman had lots to say about this too.

As the project moves forward you get updates. Today Jim sent this joyful note to us:

Quick update:

My 21-month-old son, with no coaching from anybody, has started saying "New Backer!"

As if anybody needed YET ANOTHER reason to pledge. :D

Jim is 7 dollars away from 80% of the goal. In football terms he is nearly in the red zone. I don't know what that means for the success of kickstarter projects, but he is on a roll and I hope the momentum makes this happen.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Seven on Sunday--- Ducks

1. By the diplomas not hanging on my wall, I am a Koncrete Warrior Duck. In 1992 when Mosaic Woman and I were receiving our masters degrees, I could not imagine the Ducks playing for a football championship and if I spent money on cable and if the game started earlier, I would have sadly watched them lose last week. But hey, only two teams made it to that game and the U of O colors inspired the above piece, which by the way was designed while I was sitting in a staff meeting at a job I can have because of the masters degree.

2. Mergansers are cool:

3. Ducks can frustrate me. I do not have a scope as many a serious birder does, and since ducks tend to hang out on water it is hard to sneak up for a closer view. But I try to keep in mind it is a two way street, both I and the duck need to desire to see each other.

4. In 1987 I drove from Pennsylvania to Edmonton (2500 +/- miles) to pick up Mosaic Woman who had flown up earlier. As I drove across the northern plains I wanted to stop constantly as I passed by billions and billions of potholes filled with birds. Now I read things are not so good for life in those wetlands.

5. Duck Ellington

It's a cold rainy day in the zoo and the animals are bored. So they call Duck Ellington who flies in with his piano and creates a jazz-jam that chases the clouds away and gets all the animals dancing.
6. Head north on route 202 from Lansdale and one will soon pass by the Duck Deli: a BBQ restaurant in New Britain, PA. Named for Duck, NC of course; where the original Duck Deli is located. Anyway, some very good lunches have been had over the past 15 years, and yes, I was at the original Duck Deli on the Outer Banks before I had known of this one. The Town of Duck, NC plans to have its fifth jazz festival this October, while the Duck Deli has sponsored jazz festivals in PA.

7. some Funky Cold Duck Jazz:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fridays in PA: Youghiogheny Glass Company

This is not my studio floor:

glass scraps outside the Youghiogheny glass company

Last June I went to Cleveland to meet up with a friend. I swung low on the way home to take the southern route across PA in order to meet up with a friend in Pittsburgh. Part of the plan was to also stop at Youghiogheny Glass when I left Pittsburgh. My waning spirit, which can be more concerned about distance and time, was leaning towards skipping the glass. But the Pittsburgh friend fueled the enthusiasm and so there I was headed south away from the turnpike. I blew pass the no trucks detour sign and hit a massive amount of construction and a long trip across the Youghiogheny River. I navigated through the town and walked into the old train station. Glass variety was a bit skimpy and nothing appealed to my eyes.

The lone worker got off the phone and said they were closing down the shop but I might be able to get to the factory and buy glass there. The only road to the factory was blocked due to another construction project, back to the mess of traffic and back around, but not far enough around so back around again and through a parking lot to bypass the construction.

Every door to the factory was locked, and I was about to head home when some dude emerged from the adjoining business and said follow me. My glasses were plenty dark from the summer sun as he winded me through a darkened glass factory till we found a human.

And then there was glass. The best glass in the world to some folk. I will show you this Thursday how it has entered my pieces.

The photos are taken in the driveway along the side of the factory, not my studio floor

glass scraps outside the Youghiogheny glass company

Monday, January 10, 2011

Science Mondays: Cosmos News of 2010 Quiz

  1. Our universe may exist within a ________
  2. The problem with warp speed is that it would ________
  3. By using a ______ we can see what it would be like to watch stars move behind a black hole.
  4. Neptune may have eaten a ________
  5. Sadly the attempt to be a ___________ freefalling dude got put on hold because of a law suit not a lack of a space suit.
  6. Jupiter lost a ___________
  7. Space-time may be old hat because of a new theory and pencil ______
  8. Saturn's Titan could be a good place to find _______
  9. The sun is eerily ________, and this is a bad thing.
  10. Just when you think you have seen everything ___________ are detected from a nearby Galaxy.

By the end of next week I am hoping my students can answer all these questions. For now you can find the answers at New Scientist. Click next .

Sunday, January 9, 2011

10 Hopes For My 2011

47... 1   starting a new journey, as I did in 1986
Preparing to ride off to the Catskill Mountains, my post college goal

as a follow up to last weekends thought on 2010:

1. Bicycling--- The spirit of the Stratoz that rode a bike from PA to the Catskills (that would be me 10 seconds before the trip) has been emerging. A new blog follower and friends who love bicycling have me thinking that this spring is the time to return to an old passion.

2. The examen--- had faded away from my daily routine. It is back.

3. Thanksgiving--- No Craft Shows!!!! Next year I will take a five day break from teaching and not fill it with a craft show. After three years of doing such things we are done with it.

4. Garden--- As I said in my 2010 post, I was embarrassed by my efforts this past year and I want to return to the days of fresh flowers for Mosaic Woman and a bounty for the kitchen.

5. Hospitality--- Next weekend friends are coming over for a meal. I hope to open our house to friends more often this year. I promised my family a potato pancake dinner this spring and you know I have a strudelfest in mind for the fall.

6. Year of the Mandala--- Last year ended with the making of mandalas and I just completed 2 of my Dr Ed Mandalas. I got a thank you note from his widow thanking me for the continued support of pancreatic research. Some of the most powerful moments of 2010 were customers telling me stories of lost ones and thanking me for supporting research. Soon I am going to open a special Dr Ed Mandala shop so that even more can be donated this year. We are also planning on the possibility of doing an all or mostly Mandala show

7. Jazz--- The teacher screaming for no snow days would be the man who hopes to see part of the Rochester Jazz festival and see great friends at the same time. No Snow! If snow extends the school year we may not make it to the festival, but we will still go see the friends.

8. Leave Space and Come Home--- in 2 weeks Space Science ends and we take on Earth Science during my second and third period classes.

9. Eating in with variety--- Our new balanced budget has us eating out less, but enthused to visit some old favorites to spice things up.

10. Declutter--- could be the biggest change, but it is happening to our 1 bedroom 2 studio house

update: I made another


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crafting On Thursday--- The Discerning Glass Speaketh

I came across this glass while in the process of searching for blue glass to use in my first Peace Mandala:

47  148/365  Peace Be with You
Peace Mandala in stained glass by Wayne Stratz

The glass is sitting on my lightbox in the midst of my darkened studio. For the most part it is glass that is not at all receptive to the passage of light. But it is glass that does not need the passage of light to catch one's eye. So I piled it up and moved on with the Peace mandala. Then I cut out and ground 42 pieces and played with them:

With more background space than I wanted, I consulted with Mosaic Woman and chose a light green glass to make a final trip around the expanding doodle of glass, which led to this:

Doodling with glass mosaic mandala by Wayne Stratz

I do believe it is a good thing that I am beginning to hear the glass.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jazz on Tuesdays: Dorothy Fields

When asked Why aren't there more women writing songs?

Dorothy Fields responded:

There aren't more lady songwriters for the same reason that there aren't more lady doctors or lady accountants or lady lawyers; simply not enough women have the time for careers. The man in our society is the breadwinner; the woman has enough to do as the homemaker, wife and mother. Yes, I do think song writing is a man's game. It requires push, energy, movement, mixing; and it is a field that is and has been dominated by men. No, I do not think men have more talent.

Dorothy Fields had talent:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

7 for the weekend--- 2010, The Year of The Daves

Rainbow panel mosaic by Margaret Almon
1. Mosaic Woman: After I survived massive lay-offs, Mosaic Woman didn't survive one at her work place. In six months she has not found another job in her field, so for 2011 we are not going to try to extend her benefits, but please do not consider her an unemployed librarian, but instead, Mosaic Woman is a full-time mosaicist! Here is her take on this transformation.

2. Gardening: I recently posted four photographs from 2007. What a garden I created that year. What a disgrace to the garden was I this year. And at work ground hogs, deer, extreme heat, and less time for gardening also led to general but not complete failure in the vegetable garden and led to the decision to no longer fight the varmints. But the flower garden at work, now there is where one could go to remember the joy of getting one's hands dirty:

47  80/365  Dahlias
Pink Dahlias grown and photographed by Wayne Stratz

3. South Africa: Not to say that the World Cup with all those funky horns was big, and not that delving into their jazz legends was majorly cool in 2010... but my sister-in-law's move there to be with the one she loved was huge. Lots and lots of great visits before she left.

4. Fire: Last March I woke to the horrific sounds of a family watching the man of the house jumping from a burning house. Last week I was walking home from church and a car in front of our house sprouted arms that waved at me. It was the man and his wife. They plan to be our neighbors once again this February when there house will be finished.

5. Walking with God: In October I took my stained glass with me on a retreat. Something happened that lit a fire within me. I do believe the purchases and praise gave me confidence that I could be a vital part of Nutmeg Designs and the sales continued to flow through the holiday craft shows and I scrambled to keep up my stock.

6. Doodling with Glass: I made my first mosaic which led to a new style of making suncatchers. I decided to make two more mosaics while on break. Here is the smaller one and the final project to emerge from my studio: (it is hanging in Virago Baking Company till the end of January)

Doodling with Blue Green Glass, a mosaic by Wayne Stratz

7: The Year of the Daves (3 dudes I work with and who became great/better friends in 2010) also included DC's museums, 17 craft shows +/- , women jazz in Harrisburg, Jazz many other places, hope, joy, peace (along with despair, sadness, and anger), Science Teachers conference in Philly, new friends here and there, 8 days of silence, monster snow storms, and then an early spring, much tasty food including the annual strudelfest, a trip to Cleveland, a few glass cuts on my fingers (well several), and it ended at midnight with some great friends who had fed us with home made Thai food earlier in the evening. and everything else...