Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Leaves: some Jazz for this Tuesday

cdcovers/cannonball adderley/ somethin' else.jpg
 photo by exquisitor

OK, so I saw the list of musicians and said, why exactly do I not own this CD.  Cannonball Adderley...Sax, Miles Davis...Trumpet, Sam Jones...Double Bass, Hank Jones...Piano...Art Blakey...Drums. From the 1958 album Somethin' Else.  ending this post here because I have some money left from an iTunes gift card...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Science Mondays: The Garden Cart Disaster

Garden Cart by Carts Vermont

So, I have a garden cart at work (like the one imaged) and a student was using it to deliver some plants donated by a staff member.  Another student volunteered to return the empty and started in that direction pulling the cart behind him as I followed him.  A student called my name and I kept walking as I turned my head.  The student pulling the cart stopped and without looking pushed on the cart to take a different route to the tool shed.  I fell to the ground and later filled out an injury report.

The next day I used this in two lessons.  As I reviewed the gardening safety rules, I came upon the one about how awareness leads to less injuries.  And with much joy and volunteers playing the part of the student with cart, I told the story.

Earlier in the day I used it to teach Newton's Laws.

A human in motion will remain in motion unless an outside garden cart (force) is applied to it. 

Wrist bones in motion will want to keep moving even after one's hand hits the pavement.

A wallet inside one's pant's front pockets will accelerate when a forced is applied, even for the very short distance between wallet and thigh.  It will hit that thigh with a force dependent upon its mass and its acceleration.

That when the cart hit me, I also hit the cart.  This clearly showed the cart was well made since it remained standing and showed no signs of bruising the next day.  Maybe I was not accelerating fast enough and though this is an interesting hypothesis... it will not be tested.

that evening I chatted with the parents of the young man who took out this unaware dude and we joked about them returning home with stories of how I had a cast on my wrist and an IV in my arm as I stumbled about on crutches.  No cast, IV, or crutches were needed, but I did apply some ice to where one nasty bruise formed on my thigh.  And it hurts bad if I am foolish enough to put my wallet in that pocket.  But I am aware of the pain and move it to another pocket.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fortune Cookie Was Correct

A month or two before I headed out to the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, I got a fortune that read something like this:

An old love will return to your life.

Mosaic Woman was a bit concerned, however, as the days went by and no old love showed up here or there or anywhere as far as I could tell.. I forgot about the fortune.

It was well into my week of silence before I realized the fortune had been true.  For the first time in several years I had been meeting with a spiritual director, who I loved dearly but because of scheduling issues had not been available to work with me.  But as the years went by, things change.  Our conversations were still amazing but I left the room feeling that I was clearly more a part of where I was being guided to go for the next 24 hours.  Had her style changed?  Had I matured a bit spritually?  No matter, it was good.  It felt right. 

And yes, I told her about the fortune cookie, and I told Mosaic Woman about the fortune being true.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jazz for a Silent Dude: Coltrane's Psalm by the Asa Trio

Wernersville Sunset

Is there anyway to predict what tune will emerge as the one that will draw you in on any particular day?

Can a search on an iPod take you to a Psalm just as a spiritual director can guide you to a Psalm the first evening of a week long retreat?

Can joining Twitter introduce you to a drummer from the US, who lives in Iceland, and then to the Asa Trio's free download (as of this date it is still free) of Coltrane's Love Supreme.

I guess life can happen this way.  

Jesuit Center

Sunday, September 18, 2011

47 bookmarks, prayers for transitions, and the Jesuit part in the Big Bang Theoryconnection

roots at the base of a Sycamore

Before the silence enters your life at Wernersville, there is a last supper of conversation:

1.  I am recognized as the dude who drew cards for retreatants in the past.  I clearly say it won't be happening.  There are designs I want to work on and I didn't enjoy trying to distribute the cards.  But a seed is planted and that evening grows into an idea and experiments, which will lead to 47 bookmarks.  The idea:  Use a network.  If I gave the bookmarks to my spritual director and she gave them to the other  directors and they gave them to their directees....

And so I timed it out and with date in hand I figured that I clearly could make 47 bookmarks without affecting my retreat and the art I had planned to do.

2.  A woman at the table is about to leave a job with no clear path forward.  I pray for her and as the retreat goes on I will stumble into her at the billiards table and a yoga class... and I wonder if I will ever have a conversation with her again.  Since I am leaving early, I will not be at the last breakfast when we can "legally" converse again.  But when I pass by her on my last evening, I break silence long enough to wish her well.

3.  I mention that I teach science and the conversation turns towards the creation of the world and the Big Bang Theory.  That night I remember that the Big Bang Theory emerged from the mind of a Catholic Priest.  The only time I get on a computer for a week is to look up his name.  I write the name on a piece of paper and silently hand it to a dude during a quite supper.   The scientist, while not a Jesuit, did have some Jesuit teachers early in his life.   and the recipient of the piece of paper has silently reentered my life at facebook.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Man of Hope remembers 10 years ago

I know I watched no news that day.  Mosaic Woman and I did not watch TV and we had a dial-up connection.  So here is want I remember:
I remember walking into a building as a class period ended and hearing TV's playing in every classroom.  This was so out of the oridinary, so I asked what was going on:  planes, towers, burning, pentagon...

I took my horticulture students to my room.  Told them to wash up.  Sent them on their way.  Did they watch TV and fill their souls with horrific images?  How many Americans watched and watched...

My next class came inside my classroom.  Buzzing.  I grabbed a packet of Swiss Chard seeds.  And every year on this day when I am told that I must not forget, I remember that packet of seeds and the students wondering why we would go outside and me saying, "I can't imagine a better place to be."


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jazz for a silent hurricane party

blown over

 It was a small bit of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, but the least I could do was lift this flower back up.

As the hurricane came up the coast, I was on a hill top in a large sturdy retreat center, so I decided what everyone east of me needed was a silent Hurricane party.

At 8:00pm  I headed outside with a beverage ( I do take a few while retreating) and sat alone, getting wet from the spray.

What it turned into was a bit of a rant asking Irene to move away, little did I know what would happen in Vermont later.

I knew my parents had been told to leave their home because of flooding (now living where the creek I loved as a child flows into the Lehigh River).  I knew Mosaic Woman was home alone and surely faced a wet basement.  I prayed for friends whose love of flowing water had drawn them into homes, but now they were living in fear of rising water.  I ranted and prayed and listened to jazz singer Norma Winstone's version of Here Comes The Flood by Peter Gabriel. 

"Stranded starfish had no place to hide..." caught my ear and heart.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Silent Welcomer

Yesterday was a God send.  After seven days  of silence with God at the Jesuit Center, and leaving early to sit through two days of staff meetings.... Friday was a funk.

Saturday morning Mosaic Woman and I headed off (7 blocks) with a Fit-full of crafts and our booth to the Lansdale Farmer's Market.  In four hours we would welcome 23 or so friends to our booth (I made the list while praying last night).  The percentage of those friends who purchased a mosaic yesterday is not huge, however, if you look at over the last four years, most have at least one of our pieces.  But what matters most is how many of those friends would have helped Mosaic Woman, who was home alone when Hurricane Irene hit SE PA.  And knowing that she was cared for, helped me get some peace in the silence of a wet and stormy night.

Yesterday, one of the friends bought a welcome sign.  This excites me.  We have made two welcome signs and both are with friends.

On the day before the hurricane, I sat waiting for worship.  I watched as a flow of retreatants and those who guide them to God entered the space.  I thought, "I should be standing by that cart of hymnals greeting people."  That's what we call it at Holy Trinity.  Being a Greeter.  

The hurricane came and went north to cause more havoc.  My idea of greeting seemed less and less appealing.
But I threw it out there during my final meeeting with my guide.  She seemed to think that it was a fine idea.  So I entered the space early, fought of all the social anxiety and took my place.  People were surprised as I handed them a hymnal and most smiled.  But in my final hours of the retreat, I made eye contact with all of those folk, who got a bookmark, but that is another story.  As for this morning, I welcomed people at church and looked into their eyes.