Tag Archives: Grotto

And the MMU Grotto Is Indeed Historic


Jane

Jane Gilmor, professor emeritus of art, gets ready to take part in a scarf dance at Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto. The Grotto was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The end of the semester, especially the spring semester, is a stressful, busy time—and I’m feeling a bit guilty typing this as a textbook is also open in front of me and I need to read that final chapter and get lectures for the final week ready.

But this spring is also ending on a rather arty note, which is nice.

Paha was launched during Scholarship Day last week. The readings were quite interesting—and it will be after the semester before I can read much of it, but I’m looking forward to it.

Student editors of Paha, the MMU literary publication. Paha, by the way, is a word for the kind of glacial hill that MMU is built on.

Student editors of Paha, the MMU literary publication. Paha, by the way, is a word for the kind of glacial hill that MMU is built on.

The Bell Choir performed at Meth Wick, and will ring for Cinco de Mayo and also at the graduate hooding ceremony. I downloaded photos to another computer, but will add some later. The ringing at Meth Wick went well.

Students sang and joked around for the talent show on Thursday. Here, one of the newspaper editors (who also sang later) wins a $1 prize for answering a trivia question. I also won $1, which I probably should not have, but it was too painful to wait for a student t come up with the answer that Greenland is the world’s largest island—an offensive answer to some of our Australian students, but Australia s considered a continent.

Taylor wins $1.

Taylor wins $1.

And on Saturday, a ceremony noted an important milestone—Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto, built by William Lightner, who also constructed Warde Hall, was recognized because it has just been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, there were white-clad dancers.

Granddaughter went with me to Grotto ceremony. She likes rocks!

Granddaughter went with me to Grotto ceremony. She likes rocks!

Well, cool. Have to go now—too much to do—but I have enjoyed these interludes in the end-of-semester hustle and bustle.

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10 Signs That Spring Is Indeed Here


Spring break! How sweet it is. In fact, I have to grade some speech proposals in the morning, so I don’t get to forget the semester for long—but once that one batch of grading passes, I plan to take the weekend off, something I have not done since Christmas.

Those who don’t teach don’t realize how often it morphs into a 7-day-a-week death march during busy times, and how some semesters, “busy times” seems to describe more weeks than not. But, as those with “real” jobs might assert, not everyone gets summers off, or a spring break, either.

Fair enough. And the weather next week will make it feel more like late winter break, I’m afraid. Still, despite the chill coming in the next days, our hemisphere is committed now to facing the sun, and spring is inevitably, ever so slowly, oozing Old Man Winter out the door.

And here, in photos, are 10 signs of spring:

1) Flowers that bloom in the spring tra la! Not mine, but I had something to do with them. My wife and I and our two area daughters bought a bunch of fall bulbs which were planted in gardens in our three yards. In one, a grandson who was “helping” dropped some crocus bulbs into a window well. Apparently the micro-climate in that sunny well is zone 6 or so, because that’s where, early this week, the daughter saw buds appear which are now flowers. These are cell phone images the daughter texted to me (I took all of the other spring photos). She was pretty excited. She wins–first flowers.

The crocus Thursday or so, in bloom.

The crocus Thursday or so, in bloom.

The crocus in the window well earlier this week, budding.

The crocus in the window well earlier this week, budding.

2) Daffodils at MMU. Not blooming, but just starting to knife through the soil around the reflecting pool at Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto.

Daffodils poked through the cool soil on the shores of the MMU grotto pond.

Daffodils poking through the cool soil on the shores of the MMU grotto pond.

3) Young men growing in the reflecting pool. No, not really, the pool, now ice free, being drained for spring cleaning.

MMU facilities worker draining pond for spring cleaning.

MMU facilities worker draining pond for spring cleaning.

4) A bike (mine) in a bike rack at Warde Hall. The rack had been closed by a giant mound of snow shoveled there from a nearby walk. As you can see, the snow is not totally gone, but gone enough that the rack has emerged from winter hibernation.

My bike by receding glacier near Warde Hall, MMU.

My bike by receding glacier near Warde Hall, MMU.

5) Grandkids playing at a park. Finally it’s sunny and warm enough to do that. Then again, we do sled at this same park during the winter, but it’s not the same …

He will soon shoot down slide on his own. She will insist that I catch her, but she is the Overlord and I am one of her many minions.

He will soon shoot down slide on his own. She will insist that I catch her, but she is the Overlord and I am one of her many minions.

6) Grandkids who insist they walk home with me rather than ride with mom in the van. Shown is the Overlord, with her siblings in the background. Good for her, her older sister and her brother for walking, but bad for me. I ended up carrying the Overlord for quite a distance. Still, it was fun to be out walking.

Happy spring walk.

Happy spring walk.

7) Dry Creek, seen from the Boyson Trail. So much snow has melted that the creek, isn’t dry, but it isn’t frozen either, and that’s new.

The world is brown, but at least it isn't white anymore. And green is coming, we can tell.

The world is brown, but at least it isn’t white anymore. And green is coming, we can tell.

8) Some seeds sprouting indoors. My Chia gnome in my MMU Warde Hall office. Don’t judge me. It was a gift. The spring sunshine in the office is enough to aid sprouting that makes Mr. gnome look rather scruffy.

There's no beard like gnome.

There’s no beard like gnome.

9) Ebony and ivory together in harmony side by side on a piano keyboard in a classroom at MMU. I got to touch piano keys during my music lesson this week—progress! The key to the left of the two black ones is C. I need to learn all the others.

Piano in Warde Hall. The one in Tony's office is nicer, but they keys still look like this.

Piano in Warde Hall. The one in Tony’s office is nicer, but they keys still look like this.

10) Me in the morning with the blue sky behind me. I actually used this selfie for my other blog to show the crack in the mirror, but that looks like a nice spring sky to me.

Me with mirror crack. The door did it, not I, so no bad luck, right?

Me with mirror crack. The door did it, not I, so no bad luck, right?

There you have it, 10 images of what the bright, sunny, warmer, flower-filled future holds. You’re welcome.

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Preserving Memories, One Byte or Scarf At A Time


Grotto May Pole

May pole dance in Mount Mercy Grotto, May Day 2012.

Memory was the theme of the day for me.

For one thing, I read this excellent post, which is mostly a presentation made by Mary Sharp, a very sharp woman who is always worth listening too. As she notes, the digital age can shift information instantly, but it can also change it while it shifts it.

My son’s Microsoft friends are fond of saying “The Internet never forgets,” but Mary legitimately notes that digital data can also vaporize forever in the blink of an eye. And it’s not just due to catastrophe or deliberate vandalism—merely shifting the format of digital data renders the stuff stored in the old format obsolete and potentially lost. Quick—find the nearest functioning 8-track player.

We know some of the most ancient languages ever written thanks to the Rosetta Stone. But, these days, do we set anything in stone? When I was a young pup journalist, I was known as a pretty good photographer—back in the days when photos were few and precious and expensive. You shot a self-rolled set of 36 frames on black-and-white film and thought you had covered that event pretty well, thank you.

These days, I tell my student photographers that electrons are free and they merely have to inconvenience a few thousand of them to create a photo, so they should inconvenience millions of them. Shoot, shoot, shoot. An 8 gigabyte SD card holds a lot.

Yet, back in my day, one of the chemicals we used to create negatives or photo prints was “fixer.” And when it was fixed, it was done, baby. It wouldn’t last forever, but it would last for years and it was set when it was fixed. Today, you can rearrange electrons however you want. Information is rarely fixed.

Thus our combined knowledge—the memory of our species—is mutable, easy to transfigure, malleable, slippery and elusive. Truth is hard to nail down.

I’ve noted before that in this information age, students seem to remember less and less. They can’t be troubled with learning when World War II started because Google rides around in their back pockets. But who watches the watcher? Who owns and can transform the stored knowledge of mankind—and who protects it if it’s merely inconvenienced electrons that can dance on command and also vanish?

Hmmm.

I needed a break from this grim reality. Although I could not attend it all, I saw the May Day Celebration in Mount Mercy’s Grotto this afternoon and felt a little better. It was a recreation of a type of dance done there in the 1920s. It was living memory, and good to see. The stones of the Grotto will be there tomorrow, thanks in part of Jane Gilmor and the restoration work she has spearheaded.

Jane’s doing good work on Mary’s problem. She’s keeping some memories, patterned in stone, alive. More power to her.

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Some Pretty MMU Flowers


Iris

Pretty Iris in MMU grotto, view 1.

I have only a few Irises in bloom, so I have some Iris envy these days when I’m on campus at MMU. Lots of pretty ones in the Grotto, as you can see.

And, apparently, the peonies are trying to make a break for it through the construction fence!

Too bad we don’t have more summer courses and students on campus. They miss our nice summer flowers.

Rain on Iris

Took photos late afternoon June 2, 2011--a rainy day. Drops in Irises.

Pink Peony

Pretty pink Peony at MMU--I have a darker pink one at home that bloomed the next day.

Peony escape?

Peony attempts to squeeze through MMU construction fencing.

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My Motto–Shoot It In the Grotto!


 

Final one

Yeah, not sure if it's worth 4 photos, but still, I liked playing with small changes.

Mary and copula

Statue of Mary in the Grotto with Warde Hall copula in background. She’s also framed by the Grotto kiosk she is housed in.

Saw an art class in the MMU Our Lady of Sorrows Grotto midday today as I was walking across campus–a photo class busy capturing images.

Later, when I crossed campus, I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure what images they were capturing, but I was playing with three ideas: Framing, repetitive forms and angles.

The Grotto is a great place to spend a bit of time, and I found myself sort of daydreaming–when I was done and ready to leave, it was almost a shock to realize that very noisy heavy machinery was banging away in the background at the construction site of the University Center.  Had not tuned into to it.

Anyway, I’d be curious to see their Grotto pictures from this fine sunny day. Here are mine.

Water fall

Must have been inspired by Kathryn Hagy images. Some of my photos were of the rocks at one of the artificial waterfalls that circulates water and helps to limit mosquitoes in the pond.

Falls 2.

Rocks and water.

Waterfall

Water and rocks.

Final water one.

Last falls image.

3 icons

I liked the juxtaposition of the Ten Commandments monument, bridge and copula, several of these images.

Ten Commandments.

Another view.

Closer view.

Zooming in makes objects appear closer together.

Daffodils

Some plants. I like the dagger-shape of young daffodils before buds appear.

Side view

Daffodils from the side.

Daffodils

Final side view with a bit of Grotto as backdrop.

Rock

Detail of railing leading to Grotto bridge.

Stairs and shadows

Just liked the afternoon shadows on the steps leading down to the Grotto.

Lilies

Day lilies start to sprout near the top of the stairs that lead to the Grotto.

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University Flowers and Butterflies, Too


Have not checked yet, so I don't know the kind, but one of many butterflies on flowers blooming in gardens near Basile Hall and Donnelly Center on Mount Mercy University campus.

Today, for a class exercise with my freshman “portal” course, I snapped a bunch of photos around Mount Mercy University’s main campus.

Most were of building parts or people freshmen should know, but since it was me and they were there, of course I shot a few flowers and butterflies, too.

Another butterfly, different type, again I have not yet checked. There was quite a variety, but they were moving fast and only got these two clear shots.

The butterflies were all in a garden just east of Basile Hall, right outside the Basile Beans coffee shop. The flowers are getting past prime, but still draw plenty of nectar sucking insects.

Just a short post—the semester feels likes its’ kicking into high gear and I must get to bed soon. But, I hope you like one more illustrated flower post.

Hibiscus in bloom near campus map sign that is at entrance to Warde Hall parking lot.

Planter outside Donnelly.

Rose of Sharon or other Hibiscus vareity beside steps outside Basile Hall.

These are growing near the "pit" parlking lot door to the Hennessey Rec Center.

OK, not a flower, but has the right vibe. The Grotto pond.

Former President Dr. Thomas Feld supported the Art Program's efforts to restore the grotto. His daughter JJ died young, and the new Grotto pool was named in her honor--and many of her shells were incorporated into the restored Grotto. Here is one on the Grotto bridge.

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