Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Class in CTE at William Carey University Graduates

Last week, on May 11 and May 12, 2012, the first undergraduate and graduate class in Career and Technical Education at William Carey University received their degrees.  This was a great achievement for these individuals and for our program.  For every graduate, it takes a lot of effort and work to earn a college degree and every member of this group achieved that goal while working full time.  It also takes a lot of perseverance to be the first group in a new degree program.  

I promise to build on what we began together so that your program will continue to improve for every future student. Congratulations to each of you on your hard work. 

The members of the May 2012 graduating class in CTE were:

Undergraduate Class
  • James David Collum
  • Louis DeVon Bridges
  • Robin Jowan House Gates
Graduate Class
  • J.D. Carr, Jr.
  • Wakeshia Nicloe Cole
  • Dion Allasondri Michelle Dotson
  • Angela Benigno Nelson
When I was driving back after the final commencement ceremony at sunset, there was an unusual double rainbow arched across the highway.  I like to think that this was in honor of all of our graduates.  It was very beautiful. I stopped and took a photograph on my phone that does not really do it justice.  I hope you all find what you looking for at end of the rainbow and that blessings follow you all the days of your lives.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eulogy for Papa

On Sunday, March 18, 2012, my dad, Gurnade Mason "Buddy" Barziza, died in a drowning accident.  He was 83 years old and was married to my mother for 42 years.Today his ashes were placed in the National Cemetery in Houston, Texas.  He served with the Marine Corp during WWII and in the Korean Conflict.  The  memorial service was Friday, March 23, 2012.  I wrote and delivered this eulogy for him at that service. 

Eulogy for Papa

In the top of your closet, or perhaps under a bed, you have a box that contains treasures beyond price.  Some old buttons, a faded photograph, perhaps a scouting badge or two, maybe a golf ball from a memorable game. You rarely share this box with anyone since these things are the most personal of your possessions.  They represent the treasures of the heart, fragments of memories that always stay with you.  

When I think of Buddy, there are treasures that I will always remember.  Papa loved fire trucks, probably because he grew up next to a fire station, and loved to watch the fireman work on their engines.  At one point, he served as a volunteer fireman. Having served in the Civil Air patrol, he loved old airplanes.   There was a playfulness about his enthusiasm for these things, a glint of the little boy within that made him ageless.   It was a magical thing to witness; the unbidden joy of simple delight.   Sharing that delight with him was a window into all the marvels that the world holds.

Fire trucks, airplanes, and cowboys.   Often children think of men in heroic terms.  Men in white hats riding into town to sweep away all the problems, gathering accolades, and riding off into the sunset.  In reality, it is the men who are willing to work toward goals less easy to reach that leave lasting impressions. It requires intensive focus.  Not every problem has a simple solution, nor is every project easy to complete. Papa understood this.  I do not believe that Buddy was ever idle; he had a passion to improve as he worked toward his goals.  In his view, it was important to always be moving toward something rather than away from something.
Intensity is closely related to compassion.  You cannot be compassionate if you are not committed.  There are many people in this room that Buddy helped without being asked.  He never sought recognition.   He did not have to do any of these things he did.  He acted because he wanted to make the path smooth for others.  Buddy never paused to ask should we help.  He stated his response in terms of action “Let us do something.”   This compassion was the defining quality of his life; it was his true personal calling.
There are so many gifts that Buddy gave us.  His love for my mother never faded through 42 years of marriage.  The simple pleasures he found in the garden and watching wildlife.   The love he had for his children.  His graceful acceptance of the many changes in his life. Yet all of these together cannot make the measure of a man.   No matter how many treasures we collect, our box is never complete. 

A life well lived is worth so much more than the events and roles that made up that life.  On this day, we recognize our loss and understand that we never really know each other.  The gift of each of us is immeasurable and we are beautiful and complex.   My father was a compassionate man who loved deeply and wanted to make the lives of others better.   I am not sure that I fully appreciated that when he was with us.  It takes death to make us pause, to consider the essence of a person, to look past the threads of a life to see the whole cloth.  This is the great gift of heaven. When we meet again, all the old threads will fall away and we will understand each other fully. Our treasure box will overflow and we will be transformed by the love in our hearts.
I am back at work today but I am thinking about Papa.  The sky is clear and I bet is it a beautiful day in Houston.   A friend shared this poem; it seems to fit this day.
by Jack Reimer and Sylvan Kamens 
In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.


I love you Papa and I will always remember.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Correction to Cider Post

I made a error on the cider post - the allspice should have been reduced to 1/2 teaspoon.  I have corrected this in the orginal post but if you downloaded this before 2/11/2012 you will want to change your copy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

In Memory of Jack

My uncle Jack M. Koonce died last week.  I understand that in his last few years, he had suffered from Alzheimer’s.  I had not seen him in over a decade since he and my aunt were no longer married, and so we had lost touch.  Like all of us, he was a complex individual and his life left behind a mixture of achievements and failures but in our relationship, he was always a kind soul. Since he had enjoyed flying as a young man, I wrote this in honor of his life and last journey.  I hope he now has the clarity of thought in heaven that Alzheimer’s had taken from him at the end of his life.

Flight into Dawn
by K. Renee Juneau

The last slender rays of winter,
Outline a hanger in the morning mist.
Edges silvered in the frigid cold,
Binding panes of murky glass.

Electric fire in windows blaze,
Painting chevrons as doors fold back,
Dawn crescendoed by engine roar;
The preparation for one last flight.

I watch you leave the earth behind,
Unsteady at first, but then with certain grace,
Rising quickly in the cloudless blue,
Fading fast in a trick of sight.

Aimless rivers now seek the sea.
Briars loosen thorns to weave,
Paths through meadows long neglected
To gardens edged with bittersweet.

The sun has burned the mist away.
The day forms crisp and clear.
Your wing dips in a final turn,
Toward patchwork fully whole at last.

You are gone but I see you still.
I know the ending of the flight,
Safely landing on the golden shore,
Finally freed from the fog of night.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hot Spiced CIder for Cool Nights

A few years ago, we visited Williamsburg at Christmas and I fell in love with the spiced cider that seemed to be served at every restaurant. There is nothing better than a mug of hot spiced cider and a homemade cookie on a cool night. The only pity is that Mississippi winters are very short so we only have a week or two before it is too warm for hot drinks but I wanted to post this for those of you who are still having cold weather.

After a long search for a really good version of this drink I found one on the Food Network site. This version is by Emeril Lagasse from 2002.  This is very good if you want a good bit of rum in your cider.

 Emeril Lagasse’s Hot Apple Cider with Rum

Since I wanted a version that could be served without rum, I modified this so that it could be enjoyed with or without rum. I also reduced the yield of the recipe since we wanted to enjoy this at home when we are not having guests.

 Hot Spiced Cider

 Ingredients - For the spiced cider
  • 1 apple (I used a Honey Crisp- might need an extra if very small)
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 2 small oranges or tangerines (I likeSatsuma, Cuties or Clementines) thinly sliced
  • 1.6 quarts apple cider (I used Martinellis Cider but any clear cider would work:)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg (the ground version does not work well in this; you need to grate a bit of a whole one)  
  • Cinnamon sticks (ideally these should be long enough to use as a stir stick - they do add to the taste of the drink)
For the spiced cider with rum, you would need
  • Rum (Such as Bacardi Gold- do not use a spiced rum)
  • Unsalted butter cut into thin pats

In the original version, you would stud the apple with the whole cloves. I changed this but if you were serving this for a party, the clove studded apple and orange slices ould be very pretty. This version is bit simpler to make for your own enjoyment.  I also save the glass cider jar so I can funnel any leftover cider into it to store in the refrigerator.  So far this has not been needed but it might come in handy one day.  I also made a few other changes from the original so you might want to try both versions.

Peel and slice the apple and slice. In a medium pot, add the apple, whole cloves and remaining ingredients except the rum and butter.
Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to just keep it warm.

 Use a strainer remove the apple slices, oranges and cloves and discard.

 Ladle into mugs. For those who want spiced cider, add a cinnamon stick and serve immediately

To make buttered cider with rum, add a tablespoon of rum to each mug and add a pat of unsalted butter as well as the cinnamon stick. Serve immediately

Now all you need are some warm butter or ginger cookies. Hope your have a cozy end to your winter season.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Diver finds woman’s 1923 class ring, tracks down her grandson

Received this story from a coworker and thought that this was interesting. William Carey began as a women's college and this ring dates back to that era.   Follow the link to read about this ring.

Diver finds woman’s 1923 class ring, tracks down her grandson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

William Carey 250th Art Exhibit Piece - Breath of Heaven - PMC

This evening was the opening reception for the William Carey 250th Art Exhibit. I had intended to make more than one piece but I just did not have the time. I did finish a silver piece that represents a flower called “Breath of Heaven” that was discovered by William Carey. This was finished a few weeks ago for the exhibit, and since this was something of an experiment for me, I decided to write about this project.

For those of you who are interested in precious metal clay (PMC) you can create fine silver objects with it but there are some problems with this material compared to sterling silver. Fine silver is .999 pure silver which is a beautiful white metal but it is softer than sterling silver which is an alloy. Precious metal clay suspends pure silver in a ceramic binder so you can mold it like clay and then the binder is burned off in a kiln. The tradeoff is that undercuts are not easy to make since the clay may slump as it is fired and bails may be too soft to support the weight of a heavier piece. PMC also shrinks when fired but sterling does not. Sterling also is easier to damage when exposed to high temperatures but it can be cold hardened. It would be great to use both together but I was not sure if this would work.

I wanted to make a larger piece with a good deal of undercuts. I decided to use sterling wire to create the bails and supports for some of the pieces. I hoped that the PMC would not shrink so much that design would distort on the sterling frame.

The real flower is a good bit smaller than this; after playing with several designs, I thought an enlarged version would be a more successful design than a cluster of the small flowers since very tiny details might be too busy in a reflective metal. I knew I wanted to use the leaves in the design.

The individual leaves and petals were created separately and then joined to a base. Sterling silver wire was used to support the stamens and the long leaves and precious metal clay (PMC) was used to build the shapes. After all the parts had dried, they were joined with more PMC. I then used very fine metal files to add details and veining and sanded the surfaces lightly with very fine sandpaper. Finally, I used PMC slip to make sure that the supports were solid and then the piece was fired.

Although you cannot really tell in the photos, the flower is a near mirror finish while the outsides of the leaves on the front of the piece have a brushed finish. The piece was tumbled after firing and then a very small fine metal file was used to give a deep directional brush effect on the leaves. The piece was then tumbled a second time for about ten minutes to add a slight sheen to the brushed surfaces. Final finishing was completed with jeweler’s papers and a polishing cloth.

I am considering using this as a prototype since the back of the piece is not completely flat. I was too uncertain to hollow the back since the unfired piece was very fragile and I did not want to damage the supports. I might use this one to create a mold and then I could create a lighter piece if the details are still intact. This one contains a full ounce of fine silver and some minimal sterling.

Overall, I really like the final product. Right now, it is hung from four sterling chains with a lobster clasp. I may come up with something better after the show is over.  On my to do list: I need to come up with a  set hallmark design and I need to learn how to photograph my work (but these aren't bad for an IPhone).

Breath of Heaven detail view

View of the entire necklace, Breath of Heaven
 The ugly back of the piece - looks like a crab doesn't it?