Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Robin's Word ~ serenity in glass

Clearly she got it wrong, because if I had done it my way, it would have been a mosaic.  When I first imagined a word out of glass, I made them to have the sun flow through the word, but then came collaborations with Mosaic Woman.  

Oh what a joy.  No background pieces, no foiling, no soldering, no glueing into a frame (not to mention all the hope that it will fit in the frame), no attaching chain to the frame.  Just glue down the word and hand it to Mosaic Woman, who I trusted to create a splendid background.

Like I said, clearly Robin commissioned the wrong thing.  I need to stop listening to friends, who keep insisting I push my talents.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

RevGals have me celebrating the good in the world

a lovely batch of crocus planted by my students

From The RevGals ~ ... So this week's Friday Five is courtesy of my good friends Frodo and Sam. Tell me 5 things that are good in our world. Or your world. Photos are a bonus. 

1.  Spiritual Direction ~ Trips to the Jesuit Center will keep happening, but I was prompted by my friend Robin, to try once again to have a director close to home.  This week we met for the second time.

2.  NOVA science NOW ~ Thank God that PBS freely streams their recent videos.  A 50 minute video can require 180 minutes of class time to get through as I constantly stop it to ask questions, to build upon what was shown, to listen to responses from my students.   

3.  I saw my first crocus.  Bulbs are emerging.  Birds are singing a bit more.  Sunlight bathes me earlier in the morning.  Wind chills remain.  All of this reminds me of a favored line of poetry ~

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches

William Carlos Williams

4.  Jazz is good.  Jazz programs in our schools are good.  They inspire the future.

5.  People have dedicated their lives to feeding the hungry.  That is a good thing.   In Lansdale Manna on Main Street is doing the good work. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the midst of No News, Songs of prayer arrive

Why is it that we always have friends, who are in dark places. The other day this song came to me as I commuted with no news. And I prayed and hoped. You are in my thoughts. No matter the distance. Can you imagine my hand being held out? Imagine us walking together with God.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Seven thoughts on Rainbow Mandalas

up close with Rainbow Dr Ed #3
by Wayne Stratz

Mosaic Woman are sitting down to write about our art for five minutes, one prompt was Now I love working with (Rainbow Dr Ed Mandalas)   


  1. I get to use a huge variety of glass (not just colors) and it works well.  The rainbow brings them together.  
  2. they are resonating with close friends, two of whom have bought one
  3. they are raising money to find a cure for pancreatic cancer
  4. they can be done in an endless variety of ways
  5. they can use colors I don't often use; like yellow-greens
  6. tis my favorite design
  7. a reminder to those who loved Ed that he touched my heart

Sunday, February 17, 2013

another 2013 studio goal ~ Dr Ed Mandalas

Rainbow Dr Ed 2
by Wayne Stratz
During 2013, I would like to raise more than 150.00 for pancreatic cancer research in the name of my friend Dr Ed, who bought the first mandala I made using this design. 

 While making the rainbow Epiphany Stars I decided  to make a rainbow Dr Ed Mandala.  My friend, who was visiting from Georgia, bought it to give as a Valentines present. 

 Ever since my friend bought that first mandala, I have given 30% of all sales to find a cure.  The only way to reach my goal is to make more of these mandalas.  I have finished two more featuring the rainbow.  

Rainbow Dr Ed 3
by Wayne Stratz

Friday, February 15, 2013

Talking Lent with the RevGals

The RevGals prompted me ~ 
1. Oddly this year, the second day of Lent was Valentine's Day. How was this for you? Was Valentine's Day any different being in Lent?

Nope, we decided at the last minute to go out.  A long line at the first restaurant turned us sour so we ventured into a new place that supports local farms and had a feast.  We have been trying to eat out less this month after a bit too much last month, so it was nice to have a spontaneous big date.

2. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this year? Any memories of memorable celebrations past?

Yes indeed.  Both of our cultures were celebrated.  Growing up I experienced my grandmother doing the PA German thing of making amazing donuts called fascnachts which we had as a snack when I got home from teaching.  Margaret then made pancakes which is how things were celebrated in Canada where she grew up.

3. How about Ash Wednesday, past and/or present?  

For the first time in years I did not go to a service, however, I did see a friend on Wednesday who I had not seen since 1986.  I'll bet that God is OK with my decision to make my buddy pizza.

4. Do you have a personal plan of give-ups, take-ons, special ministries, and/or a special focus for your own spiritual growth between now and Easter?

I gave up news for Lent, well at least during my commutes.  I will keep up on science news for the sake of my students.  It is not everyday a meteroric sonic boom disrupts the planet.

5. Do you have a book or a website you are reading often during Lent?

Nope, I just hope to do my examen most evenings.

Bonus:  Song, prayer, picture, etc. that sums up your feelings about this liturgical springtime.

Today my news-free commute was filled with the songs of Lynn Myles.  This morning a student needed a liitle attention, so as my assistant monitored students counting seedlings (experiment) and others made a soil mix in the classroom, we ventured out into the balmy 50 degree temp and pruned an apple tree.  As we walked back up I took notice of the first crocus of spring.  Driving home, Ms Miles' song about a change in season brought me back to the moment earlier in the day.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

news on no news: Pierce Pettis follows Patty Griifin

and so it (no news for Lent) began on Ash Wednesday as I headed off to work with no NPR.  Patty Griffin singing about those times when emotional rains storm down upon us.  

Yes, I am curious as to what is happening in the world, but I'm Ok with visits from voices from my past.  Last night one of my best friends from college came over for pizza.  900 miles he travelled for that meal, well, not really.  But after a day of business in Philly working on how to help people own their own homes, he drove out to the suburbs so I could feed him and see his face.  It was the first time I had seen his face in 26 years.  So no news from NPR, but plenty of news from my friend.

Today I grabbed a Pierce Pettis CD and headed out to scrape some snow off the car to head to work and tried to remember:
"Oh, everything matters
If anything matters at all
Everything matters
No matter how big, no matter how small
Oh, God believes in you
God believes in you"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Returning to Lent 2003

 Ten years ago on Fat Tuesday 2003 a war was about to be started.  So I gave up news for Lent.  I am going to do it again.

No NPR.  Yes to some of the best CDs from our pre-jazz day.

Revisiting old friends is on my mind, so I am going with it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

7 best things and worst things about being an artist

Stratoz with his largest Mandala
Mosaic Woman and I had a conversation and as she made dinner, I contemplated things.  Into my head came a thought, enough already... stop thinking you can be both a teacher and an artist.  Step away.  Fill your life with neglected gardens, hiking paths, movie theaters, and books.

It looked enticing.

Since then we have had more talks including one after dinner over pie at our favorite diner.

Since then I have spent a lot of time in my studio:  so in my opinion this is why I give away so much to be an artist:
  1. Moments in the studio when I see how I am slowly mastering the skills needed to work with glass.
  2. Bringing smiles to some people who I love dearly and some who I may never meet. 
  3. Spending time with colors.
  4. Bringing my interests into my art.
  5. Being humbled by those who trust me with commissions.
  6. Opportunites to be better at accepting praise.
  7. Meeting and becoming friends with artists.
now the bad stuff ~
  1. pricing and then being told we charge too much and being told we charge too little
  2. having to accept praise and criticism with grace
  3. deciding which of the many things I desire to make, to create
  4. reproducing a completed piece in the same colors
  5. giving over much of your life to the making and selling of art
  6. selling much loved pieces.  Selling anything (there have been some longs days at shows)
  7. capturing the spirit of glass with a camera

Saturday, February 9, 2013

So my student said, I hate when my dad plays gospel bluegrass

... So off I went to the deep back corner of my storage closet and I started looking at the Bluegrass CD's I had placed back there years ago to make room for jazz at home. And there I found Ain't no Grave Can Keep My Body Down on a Tim and Mollie O'Brien project. The jazz flowing through my horticulture class stopped.
I tried to tell the student it was Zombie bluegrass. But he was not buying that for a moment. However, I made it up to him Friday afternoon, when I let him play a Rush CD. Which took me back 35 years or so.

Friday, February 8, 2013

RevGals Five ~ Sneaky and other thoughts

numbers 15 to 21 in my
Wisdom Series

this Friday the Revgals take us here ~ 

Who knew it was the Second Friday of the month?   
Thank goodness something reminded me, but my apologies for the late post.  I have been busy getting ready for Blizzard Nemo (really, 24 inches in Boston?  Why on earth don't I have a snow blower???) and pondering life transitions--oh, but enough about me.  

How about you?  

1) What is sneaking up on you, and what have you been 
thinking about? 

Mosaic Woman and I will have our first show the first weekend in March.  Three weeks to the Owen J Roberts show.  Are we ready to get started again?  We are ready for the chocolate cake served in the cafe.  

2)  What will you have for lunch today?

Lunch was typical for me.  Peanut Butter and some tasty jam on whole wheat, yogurt, and corn chips.   

3)  If you were to get snowed in for two days, and you need to hunker down, what essentials and treats would you store up?

Water for sure.  How about some bread and pastries from some local bakeries.  I think we could survive. 

4) Tell me a story about one awesome thing you have experienced in the last couple of weeks.

At school my students and I experimented with taking a variety of ways to takes cuttings from a begonia.  It worked successfully no matter which way we did it.  The most amazing ones were the ones we placed in water.  One leaf on a long stem.  When we fished them out this week, the roots were nice to see.  But the ring of tiny gem like leaves emerging from the stem right above those roots was a splendid sight indeed.
5)  What is your favorite office supply to splurge on? (now 
THAT is random, right?)

Sharpies, which I used to design my coloring pages.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

digging science and how plants call out for help

I dig leaves that call out for help
and shadows
taken by
his home garden
Today I taught a rather diverse set of classes all the same material, just used some different techniques along the way, but hopefully now all the students know that plants don't just sit there and take it when a caterpillar slobbers all over it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

4 by 2 ~ Epiphany Stars make it to Virago Bakery in Lansdale

Today I completed the third batch of Epiphany Stars and headed down to the Virago Baking Company.  Where I warmed up on a some lavender tea and switched out three larger pieces with nine stars.  Then walked home with a wonderful Chocolate chocolate chocolate cupcake to share with Mosaic Woman.  Here are two views of four of the nine.

Virago is only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during these winter days.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

for my 900th post ~ RevGals five on Ground Hogs

From the Rev Gals ~ 

I have to admit: I never thought much about Groundhog Day.

Then I saw that movie. And an odd holiday that seems to be a remnant of an obscure Pennsylvania German custom took on all sorts of new meaning.

So, in honor of the movie and the day, I present you with this Almost Groundhog Day Edition of the Friday Five!

1. The Holiday: On a scale of 1-5 (with 1 representing, "Hey! Stop hating on the most awesome season ever!" and 5 representing, "Green. NOW."), how much are you hankering for spring? And what is, to you, a true sign that it is actually on its way?

  • Always ready for spring, but after the crazy warm winter last years that had garden and forest plant spinning their heads in confusion, I will be a bit patient.

2. The Film: Seen it? If yes, Love it? Hate it? Meh?

  • Saw it and enjoyed it.

3. The Meaning: If you could relive one day of your life, what one would it be?

4. The Meaning, Part 2: If you had to relive one day of your life over and over until you got something right (a la the Bill Murray character in the film), what day would that be?

  • Hmmm, thinking of days in my youth that were filled with poor decisions. Maybe the weekend before midterms that led to my dismissal from a college, but my life would have been so different if I had chosen to focus on academics that weekend.

5. The Meaning, Part 3: If you had to design a life-changing experience for a fairly despicable human being (as is, for example, the Bill Murray character at the film's start), what would it be? How, given all sorts of unlikely powers to bend time and take control of another person's personal growth, would you do it?

  • Would not call them despicable, but what comes to mind are students I have had over the last 26 years, but hey, hitting rock bottom helped me... so I have hope for them too. I have seen one small event spiral out of control.. What if the event didn't happen, what if the spiral was stopped from unfolding. 

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