Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Deep in the dark..."

Deep in the dark of the longest night
We keep our vigil by candlelight
Waiting to sing to the newborn Sun
The Goddess will birth when the night is done
Raise your voices, sing on high!
Let all the Earth hear your joyful cry!
On this night we sing to Light
And the Goddess of all pleasure and delight
Raise your voices, sing your praise!
O'er all the Earth til the Darkness fades
On this night we sing to Light
And the Goddess of all pleasure and delight!

- (c) Anna Ophidia Alekner, "Winter Solstice Chant"

Blessed Winter Solstice!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

New shawl design

 I have been making this crocheted blanket:

...a lot for baby blankets over the last... (checks Ravelry) year and some.

I've also been modifying it for scarves, a rectangular blanket, and, most recently, a shawl.

For the shawl, it was a mash-up of this pattern with another pattern I'd developed myself, which creates a shawl in an equal-armed L, or right-angled V. 

The original shawl's dimensions are essentially five blocks of X" square each, so that it's three squares in each direction.  I tend to use 18" squares. 

I started in the corner, as for the blanket -- (1) on the diagram below. 

I continued until I'd reached the point where the sides of the triangle were each twice 18" (18" being my square size / basic unit of measure for this shawl) -- (2) on the diagram below.  

Then I determined where the half-way point of the long edge, or working edge, was, and put a stitch marker there.

I continued from where I was, stopping when I reached the stitch marker -- turning and decreasing on the "inside," and turning and increasing on the "outside."

When the "outside" / increase edge got to 3 x 18", I started decreasing on both sides.

Then I went back to the other arm, and did the same thing there. (No seams necessary!)

It was a lot of fun to make, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with this some more.  If you try this modification, I hope you have fun and like the resulting shawl!  Enjoy. 

Julie Passanante Elman’s Tips for Supporting Shy/Introverted Students

(c) Julie Passanante Elman; re-printed with permission. 

I have done a few things with success. On the first day of class, I talk about shyness and other communication differences in my discussion of accessibility. I talk about how gender, race, sexuality, age, etc. affect our capacities and confidence in entering a conversation, and then we talk about how discussion classes often favor chatty folks or assertive communicators smile emoticon. Then, I ask them to come meet with me in private, if they're introverted or have other access needs, and we talk about it. I suggest things that I've done in the past, but I tell them that the first thing is to figure out what is most intimidating about speaking in class (i.e. bad former experiences, fear of being called on unpredictably, fear that creeps in when your hand is raised for too long, or fear of being inarticulate, etc.). Then we tailor a solution (my class always includes nonverbal forms of participation too), and here are a few examples:

1) I will only call on you if you raise your hand.

2) Email me a question ahead of time. I'll ask it, and call on you. No one will know, and you'll have your response prepared so you can speak from notes.

3) I'll call on you immediately if your hand is raised, so you won't lose your nerve.

I tell them to observe my teaching style and build trust. I don't let people dangle smile emoticon. I can spin each comment into something useful. So, if it's a matter of trusting that a prof treats comments respectfully because you've had a negative experience, that trust can only be built with time. So I tell them we can meet in a month and reassess. I tell them that oral participation is important so that other students can gain access to their valuable thoughts. I give them the option of not speaking for the semester, because I give participation credit for visiting office hours, talking to me after class, and active listening, but I try to establish that their comments are vital to collective learning. I spent a lot of time neglecting introverts in my classroom because I misunderstood their lack of participation as a lack of care about the class. That was a shortcoming as a teacher that I've really worked on over the years. In my experience, many shy students don't take an accommodation, but they end up talking anyway, because all they needed was for someone to validate their intelligence and understand that it was more difficult for them than more extroverted students. Hope this helps!

Most importantly (and I didn't say this in the original post), I try to make it clear that the goal is NOT for them to work harder to be more like extroverts. In many ways, that is precisely the cure/rehabilitation model that I try to push against in my pedagogy (i.e. the problematic cultural idea that shyness or introversion is pathological or less valuable than extroversion). Rather, it's to strive for an accessible classroom and pedagogy that encourages students to claim their education (as Adrienne Rich would say!) by figuring out, with me, what they need to grow and flourish.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

NPYM Minute Welcoming Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People

NPYM Minute Welcoming Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People

North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, an organization of unprogrammed Quaker meetings and worship groups in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, seeks to be an open and affirming faith community. We welcome all to share in worship and the activities of our common life.

North Pacific Yearly Meeting understands that the Divine Source is leading our Meeting to honor the gender identity and expression of each person, as understood by that person. We affirm that gender expression and identity may be fluid and changeable. We recognize that when we embrace the Light within the full spectrum of gender identities in our Meeting, our worship deepens and our community is enriched.

As part of our evolving struggle to live our testimony of equality, North Pacific Yearly Meeting minutes our commitment to becoming an affirming, safe, and nurturing place for everyone to live fully that which the Spirit is leading them to be.

We extend our loving care to people of all genders, including, but not limited to, transgender, genderqueer, cisgender, gender fluid, agender, gender non-conforming and intersex persons, their families and friends. We will continue to educate ourselves and our communities and take appropriate action to bring about a more equal world.

29 July, 2017


I've copied and pasted this from someone who was present.  As soon as I have a link to an official announcement, I'll post it.  - sm

Monday, June 26, 2017

Making Ripples at FGC Gathering!

Photo from Flickr user gettheshot75

Hello, folks!

I wanted to let you know that I'm helping with the group creation of what looks to be a fabulous, experiential plenary at FGC Gathering this year, "Making Ripples," under the fabulous creative direction of Vonn New.

Currently I'm up to my eyebrows in collaborative labyrinth design.  *happy creative hum*

If you're in reach of Niagara University in NY state on Wednesday, 5 July, from 7:00-8:45 pm, you are invited!

Making Ripples:

Come listen, play, sing, move, dance, and make a joyful noise as we lift up the creative spirit of Friends young and old to perform an original spontaeous composition that reminds us that beauty, joy, peace, and love are the true antidotes to our turbulent times. Join us as we move into an evening of collaborative improvisation for all ages led by Vonn New and her team and, as we're led, by all of us!

 Call for volunteers:

Call for Volunteer Helpers & Collaborators

Contact: Vonn New, select "Making Ripples Wednesday Plenary" on the Gathering Contact Form.

Making Ripples, the program for the Wednesday evening plenary is a fully participatory evening of music, dance, reflection and community.  As Friends, we did away with the laity to lift up the ministry of all, during this program, we will eliminate the audience.

Folks who are into visual art, labyrinths, musical improvisation, herding cats, eldering, singing, dancing, helping make experiences accessible to all, and generally being helpful are all needed to pull this off. Please contact Vonn New if you want to help. (Select "Making Ripples Wednesday Plenary" on the Gathering Contact Form.)

Bellwethers - lead by example, assist in directing participants, deploying instruments and props during the event and attend a practice session beforehand, engage in fun artsy exercises in the weeks leading up to Gathering.

Manager - help coordinate the other teams, assist with problem-solving before, during, and after the event, stomp out procrastination.

Accessibility Team - advise me on how to best make the event accessible to everyone, help make that happen.

Set Up/Tear Down Team - set up chairs, props, and more before and after the event

Instrumental Musicians - participate in musical improvisation during the event and attend a practice session beforehand

Singers - participate in improvisation during the event and attend a practice session beforehand.

Dancers & Creative Movement Team - perform improvised dance as led, assist in creating and leading participant movement, attend a practice session beforehand

Visual Artists - assist in making performance space beautiful, help create beautiful instruction cards, assist in hosting participatory public art to make cards and props beforehand, help with costuming and other aesthetic ideas

Textile Artists - assist in making performance space beautiful, help create dance props, costuming ideas

Elders - provide spiritual grounding during the event, hold our preparations in the Light, provide accompaniment to this ministry

The contact form is here:


p.s  How could I leave these bits out???

Come join our Facebook group!

See the master plan here, with everything there is to know so far about what will happen Wednesday night: