Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Film Noir II at the Ambler Theater

Our favorite theater, The Ambler Theater, has once again teamed up with our friend, Joanne Leva, to have an evening of poetry-noir. We will be over there and as you can see above, I have joined Mosaic Woman in being inspired by black and white and grays. The link will give you the details on the film, The Narrow Margin, which will start tomorrow night (3/30/11) at 7:30. We will be setting up before the movie and will hang around after the show to talk to the movie goers about our craft.

I only used three sheets of glass to create my four film noir starflowers. Three were old designs that spoke well to the idea and the fourth may look like one of my jazz improv pieces, but I designed it and cut out the pieces with this in mind. OK, the design was inspired by the improv pieces:

The Black glass is quite good at blocking all visible light, but the white glass was no match for this sunlight:

Mosaic Woman has been busy creating all kinds of mosaics for the event including a mirror that she just finished and is taking photographs of as I sit here completing this post.................... ...

see you in Ambler.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Science Mondays--- Homeostasis and what we can learn from fish

a few hours ago, under the quilt of healing, I began to think more about immune systems and such. Our bodies fight so hard to keep things the way it wants it to be... temperature, chemistry, pressures, acidity, solutes, .... Homeostasis.

But when we get sick, the immune system over rides the system. In its attempt to clear our body of what it senses as an attacker it makes us feel bad. Seems strange, but lots of the discomforts that come with a cold or flu are caused by us not them. Not that I would want to go without the immune system.

But I started thinking about fish as I waited for the call for dinner. One of my favorite classes at East Stroudsburg University was Ecological Physiology (or how to maintain homeostasis in nature).

And to this day I love to share these facts with my students: Salt water fish drink a lot but rarely urinate. Fresh water fish rarely drink and urinate frequently. It is all about balance. Craving what you truly need. Holding onto what you require. Letting go of the excesses.

Learn from the fish, is what I say.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

7 for the weekend--- on being sick

a good place to nap

1. photo not from this weekend, but one of the symptoms: deep desire to be tucked in under my grandma's quilt.

2. hat's off to my immune system: been over a year since a virus got by it.

3. college basketball: back in the day I was a huge sports fan, so I have been watching the games this weekend. Too bad Villanova and Temple went out early. But the one Dave is a big fan of NC so I will support them later, least I can do after refusing to pull for the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

4. appetite: been able to eat, no fever, and have touched few tissues, but the coughing, the aches, and the chills have been rather amazing.

5. ooops. wish I had gotten my grades posted last week when I was feeling better, but hey when it comes to paper work I am a last minute kind of dude. Feeling better today, so maybe tomorrow I will be at work. Speaking of work, I have a real strong urge to do no lesson plans, but am aiming towards lame ones.

6. love of a good woman: so far she has stayed healthy and has been kind to this miserable dude.

7. my plans were to write about drumming this weekend, but my head hurts and I did not feel up for it, but let me say this: Yesterday I picked up my drum and the first time in a while prayed for myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crafting On Thursday- DJC's commission

DJC's commission

I was commissioned by a man at work, who has become a good friend (well his name is Dave). It was a hoot being handed inspiration and handed enthusiasm from a friend.

1. Design: He gave me a name and when I imagined the "O" being a rose the design came into being...

DJC's commission

2. Photocopy and cut with the copper foil pattern scissors:

DJC's commission

3. Glue those pieces to glass, cut the glass as close as I can, then use the grinder:

DJC's commission

4. Place the pieces on a copy of the design:

DJC's commission

5. Consider RED:

DJC's commission

6. cut and grind, cut and grind:

DJC's commission

7. Consider the center of the Rose:

DJC's commission

8. wrap each piece in copper foil:

DJC's commission

9. Pin the bugger down while the soldering iron heats up (oops no photo)

10. make it whole:

DJC's commission

11. REPEAT! The man wanted two and of course I couldn't do it the same. Differences include: the R, S, and E are all the same red glass. The center of the O is an opalescent pink. The reds in the O were placed in groups of two.

DJC's commission

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jazz on Tuesdays--- Patricia Barber

Patricia Barber Mythologies

Just want to say I really love Patricia barber, so I really dig the library that had her CD which introduced me to her music. She plays mostly in Chicago and Europe.

So I am thinking I need a really huge commission so I can go see her in Porto, Portugal. after all I am the man who tends to show up for silent retreats with a bottle of port in his bags and an iPod with many of her tunes.

Anyway, take a listen and have a great night of dreaming amazing trips:

Sunday, March 20, 2011


today I ventured into my garden, well at least the front yard. I spent an hour cleaning it up and seeing what is happening and this is some of what I found:

I love flower buds and while I tried to get the one and only Scabiosa (pin cushions), no fine photos emerged. But I am OK with this Hyacinth:

Mosaic Woman digs the Hydrangea and in the midst of all the dead wood:

The rock garden has started growing over the stump of the ornamental Cherry tree that died soon after we bought the house:

Early blooms:

a) Siberian Irises, which are new this year and are fast becoming a favorite of Mosaic Woman:

b) also new this year to both my home and work gardens, Snow Drops. Here is what they look like if you look up at one:

c) and the golden crocuses are done for the year. How sad is that, but they are still giving some brightness to these March days:

Spring emerges slowly, like what will one day be a plant filled with coneflowers:

The Hens and Chicks seem to be ready to photosynthesize in full force:

My favorite tools include this stirrup hoe which make weeding a bit easier:

Given to me at Christmas by my assistant at work, now it seems to be the day to celebrate the sun in the garden:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crafting on Thursday- North Penn Select Craft Show, where you know your Neighbors

47  158/365  what the glass asked to become
one of the 3 mosaics in the booth, which I made.

It is nice to know who your neighbors are, especially when they are friendly and talented.

Tomorrow for the third straight Friday, I will leave work and head to set up our booth without Mosaic Woman. It just has made sense for me to go by myself. I will get the walls set up and the lighting hooked up, then we give ourselves an hour and a half the next morning to get our craft hung.

Their are many cool things about the North Penn Show: a great crowd, great organizers, great volunteers many of whom are the students it benefits, the great location by Lansdale, and friendly neighbors.

There are several that have been in our neighborhood since we started the show.

To our left: Ed Youtz and his wood turnings
Directly across: Bill Yoder and his wooden pens and pencils
On his sides: Cynthia Underhill and her photographs
and Ray Briscoe and his whimsical carvings

This consistency does not happen elsewhere and while the show is never exactly the same (a few years ago someone else had our booth 98 location).

If you get lost, and find yourself close to the food, just stop by Paul Grecian's booth of amazing photos and ask him to direct you to our neck of the woods. I have asked him to get me oriented on more than one occasion.

Here is my eating out in Lansdale guide.

see you there.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Science Mondays--- flashback to 1979

I guess it was soon after the doctor visit when I discovered Springsteen. I remember a sunset. I had forgotten it till this weekend.

There was a crisis which was unexpected to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Our power plants were built with so many safeguards that they thought of a meltdown was impossible. But the fear was on the mind of others. Twelve days before Three Mile Island became known around the world, this movie hit the big screen.

The best place to see a sunset in those days was to cross route 512 and walk behind a clothing factory. I remember watching a sunset. What day of the crisis was it? Surely not the first two when all reported that all was well on the Susquehanna River. Our governor having seen an evacuation plan that would have caused chaos (each county was to evacuate into the other) was at a loss when after days of all is well got a call to evacuate.

Seven years later in the worst case we have seen, Russia reports all is well.

So this weekend I wondered how well things were in Japan, they seemed to be telling more than we did in 1979. Maybe it is their history, which has led to a respect for radiation. Maybe it is respect for the citizens.

Peace to all those who have left their homes, all those living just outside the radius of evacuation, and to all those who know the whole story and are trying to prevent anything else from happening to a devastated nation.

This morning I introduced my students to an island they had never heard of, what is it they say about the reason to know one's history... if you have an hour:

By the way, the safeguards did work at Three Mile Island, except it shocked someone in the control room and they turned off the emergency cooling system.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

7 for the weekend--- Lenten Benefits

Can't say that I consistently find a goal to help me get closer to God during Lent. In years past I have given up news, red meat, potato chips...

This year I have decided to get off the computer by 8:30 every evening, and except when I am writing a blog post I plan to monitor my time on said piece of technology.


1. More sleep. If I begin to unwind towards sleeping earlier maybe my brain will have time to develop answers to what it has not figured out during waking hours. Science is proving much about the value of sleep. Giving ourselves rest follows that suggestion to love ourselves so we know how to love others.

2. More reading. I rarely read these days, except for the last moments of my day, so if I unwind toward my bed sooner, the more I will read.

3. More time in the studio. I have been blessed with some stained glass commissions and we have another house number commission to start. There are so many designs I want to revisit and new ones I want to imagine. Yesterday I sold the above piece to a friend, who I had not seen in 30 years. It is a piece that surprised me by how much I loved it, so it is even cooler that a friend bought it. I want to do a series of black and "fill in a color" 3-pointed starflowers. But need to give myself time to bring them out of my head to windows.

4. More time to pray. Praying is again part of that unwinding to bed routine and if I start it earlier, I would hope that I will spend more evenings examining my day with God.

5. Mosaic Woman. Mosaic Woman to wants to unwind, so if she knows she can have the computer at 8:30 to do a final task or two, she can be done before 9:00.

6. Banging louder on the drum: I have a large drum sitting next to my prayer space and I have been picking it up while praying. But if I pray late at night, one has to be careful not to annoy neighbors (we live in a row home and share a wall).

7. The unknown: though I have other ideas of how this will benefit my life, I am also looking forward to welcoming the unexpected.

any Lenten changes emerging in your life?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jazz On Tuesdays--- some sassy women jazz for Di

jazz in Harrisburg, PA--- Helen Sung

Well, for Di and her dude. So if they came over for dinner (I guess that is an invitation) I would feel a need to play these artists. side note: today I scrapped my lesson plans to promote some amazing women at The Secret Lives of Scientists)

So where would the house concert begin, why not with pianists doing solos and duets with the queen of Piano Jazz and duets, Marian McPartland.

in no particular order except as they are stacked next to the computer:

OK, then we would slowly create a bigger and bigger band by having musicians play in ever larger combos finally leading to a nonet (I just like that word)

Marian on piano.
Esperanza Spalding on bass
Cindi Blackman on drums
Sara Caswell on Violin
Ingrid Jensen on trumpet
Virginia Mayhew on sax
Sharel Cassity on sax
Holly Hoffman on flute
Anat Cohen on clarinet

as to why our jazz collection features so many women (this is just a sampling):

1. They are amazing and talented

2. When I met Mosaic Woman she introduced me to many a woman artist I had not heard of and holidays like International Women's Day. Ever since our music collection has always been a blend of male and female musicians.

and a note to Di--- and yes, I will play some Springsteen in our studio, while giving you the grand tour.

and a woman not noted above, but what would an evening of sassy music be like without some Hammond B-3 Organ to end it off with some grooves:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crafting On Thursday- Got Glass?

Having made 20+ pieces since the end of the Holiday Craft Show frenzy, I got organized on the quilt my grandma made us back in 1991. We got four shows in five weeks and it all starts tomorrow when I leave work with a Dave to get set up at Owen J Roberts High School. Mosaic Woman will be at home getting her mosaics organized and will surely join me for the show on Saturday and Sunday from 10-4. See what she had to say about the show here.

Hope to see you at a show.