Musings on my adventures around the world and my ties back in Texas as well as some of the the ideas I have to adapt and create to keep those places close to home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prayer of St Francis

Since it ties into the last post, and I'm finding it to be a good reminder of what I should be striving for currently.

The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Arched piazza
Originally uploaded by ccarlstead
Bright, clean, white, peaceful…that is my overall impression of the town of Assisi. My afternoon there, in the company of two friends from school, had to be the highlight of my trip to Italy. As we were driving through the Tuscany countryside we seemed to suddenly see a mountain come up out of nowhere. Lovely. Perched on the side of the mountain was a small town that seemed to flow out of the mountainside and was harmonious in a way not many cities in Italy are. We were all wishing that that was what we were heading for, but not a one of us was holding our breaths. Only it turns out as we started winding our way up the mountain following the signs to Assisi that we were heading there. Talk about a good omen. The several hours that we spent wandering around the narrow, cobblestone streets of Assisi lived up to our first expectations. It is a town which seemed to me to be a very peaceful place. One of those locations that seems to still reflect the guiding principles of some of its illustrious citizens of the past (both St. Francis and St. Clare came from and worked in Assisi). It seemed to suit all that I know about them both to find that this is indeed a town of peace and renewal. Filled to the brim with churches and basilicas (okay, but what town in Italy isn’t?) it was not only in the buildings that you could sense the holiness of the town. As you walked the streets you got a sense that life is still about the simple things (except for where it caters to the tourists – although even that is in a low key way) – strolling the streets, appreciating the beauty around you and enjoying the sound of church bells tolling through the air. Assisi is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been.

When teachers dress as students

When teachers dress up as students, and students take on the role of teachers you know that laughs will follow. Its actually quite amusing how accurately each group has picked up on the mannerisms of the other. I'm not sure whether to take it as a compliment or not, when after our little skit for the Teacher's Day Celebration at school my students told me that I "could start attending classes with us today." That's how much I look like a student when you put me into a uniform. Is it a good thing that I can look like one of my high school students? I have been past that point in my life for 10 years now, it shouldn't be that easy....but I just keep reminding myself it's good to look to long. And hey, as long as our student body is amused and laughing I'm pretty willing to make a fool of myself. As one of the quotes from the presentation today said: "Teaching is 20% knowledge and 80% theatrics."

Friday, November 16, 2007

In just two days

In just two days I'll be in Italy! And I feel like now that the school week has finally ended I am at last getting excited. New places to explore. A switch to churches from mosques. A language that may at least sound somewhat familiar. Beautiful scenery. A much needed change. Tuscany here I come.

making a fool of myself

Make a fool of yourself once voluntarily in a school setting and you're almost guaranteed to make a fool of yourself again...and have people requesting it. My brief stint on stage last year in a skit to celebrate teacher's day is coming back to haunt me. Some of the students (yes, they are ones I taught last year) have requested that I participate in the skit again this year. Sucker that I am, of course I said yes....and then I realize that yet again I'll be wearing a uniform, mistaken for as a teacher, up in front of the entire high school. At least I get to pretend to be a student...which this year I believe will consist of me taking pictures with my cell phone with a friend, being out of uniform, and doing the normal high school student complaining (as opposed to last year's i-pod listening). I don't really mind, it's just a bit intimidating to realize that I'll be up there making a lot of people laugh at me - and that I'll still understand maybe 1/3 of what is going on. "What?" you ask...well I'm in a skit, but the majority of it (including my lines) are in Turkish. This is when you begin to see how things get a little tricky. It's hard to improv when you don't know what someone is "yelling" at you. Oh well, maybe that will make it more realistic as half the time I don't think my students understand me at all.

To add to the day's humiliation I'll also be up on stage singing the teacher's anthem. The what???yes, Turkey has a song specifically for teachers. And I'll be singing it (with a group of other teachers) Turkish. Are you beginning to get a sense of just what I've gotten myself into? We had a rehearsal for the song today...I guarantee you that I'll get my tongue twisted up in knots at least once during the song, and until then I have the niggling feeling that the tune will be coming back to haunt me as it won't leave my head. Now if only I could remember some of the words!

What a thing to look forward to coming back to after a week break. Why does it have to be on Monday???

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My current amusement

This has been my laugh relief for the week. Catherine Tate is worth a few minutes of your time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Look on the bright side

I've been trying really hard lately to look for the positive side to things. My latest challenge has been the ants in my kitchen. But I think I've figured out how to think of it so that it's not all negative. Because ants invade my kitchen for the smallest scrap of food, it's forcing me to really keep the kitchen clean and put up. This in turn makes my entire apartment seem that much larger and nicer. And hey, if you need a good motivation I'd say that keeping the ants away qualifies!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

And my favorite

Inspiring Things
Originally uploaded by wokka
the nautilus shell. The spiral here is almost always a perfect fit for the golden spiral. Just lovely!

And thus concludes your mini pictoral lesson on the Fibonacci numbers in nature.


succulent spiral
Originally uploaded by lakerae
Cactus or succulents are another group of plants which grow according to this principle. Count aloevera in this group as well.

leaf spiral

fibonacci green
Originally uploaded by R80o (Mark Strozier)
To my mind, the most beautiful application of Fibonacci numbers is in the spiral curve of many natural objects - a nautilus shell, a fern, or a leaf as seen here. For more information check out this piece about the golden spiral.


Pine cones are yet another natural phenomena which grow according to the Fibonacci sequence. The number of spirals in each direction are usually two consecutive Fibonacci numbers, and sometimes even the number of spines per spiral is as well.

123 posts!

So must people mark their 100th post, or some other such number, but I'm a math I don't think I'll do it quite the same way. 123 seems like a great number to me. 3 consecutive integers. The first three natural numbers. Perhaps even more striking for me 3 of the first numbers in the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13...) My all time favorite sequence of numbers. So I think I'll dedicate the next 5 posts (yeah for the next fib number) to cool images which reflect the Fibonacci sequence in some way. This one from lucapost on flickr has a great writeup about the Fibonacci sequence.

There's something about

There's something about using a power tool that just makes me feel strong and competent. Is there a problem with that? Maybe it's just crossing some of the assumed gender boundaries...but yes, I can and do use an electric drill. I am a competent single woman. Never mind that directly afterwards I had to get out the vacuum (concrete walls make lots of dust when you drill into them) - when you live alone you have to do it all.